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Damrau, Florez delight in Met 'L'Elisir' revival
Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Florez delight in Met Opera revival of Donizett's 'L'Elisir d'Amore'
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' Rarely does a cast and audience enjoy an evening as much as during the Metropolitan Opera's revival of Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore (The Elixir of Love)."

Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Florez, Alessandro Corbelli, Mariusz Kwiecien and Layla Clare create irresistible, infectious fun in John Copley's simple, dated, yet effective production from 1991. There is silly dancing, comic poking, prodding and preening, funny costumes and hammy acting,

And wonderful singing.

Damrau's effervescent coloratura and penetrating high notes as Adina mesh perfectly with the gorgeous melting singing of Florez, the reigning tenore di grazia and a charming Nemorino. They worked together previously at the Met in Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" and "Le Comte Ory," and Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment," and the Lucy-and-Ricky chemistry shows.

Throw in Corbelli's wonderfully wacky Dulcamera, Kwiecien's amusing Sgt. Belcore and Clare's touching Giannetta, and Copley's staging is receiving a superb sendoff. It is being replaced on opening night next season by a Bart Sher production whose advance publicity promises to mix "surface charm" with "real emotion."

Friday's performance, the fourth of eight in a run that extends through March 31, received huge ovations from the gratified audience. The final performance will be broadcast internationally on radio.

The story is simple: Nemorino, a country bumpkin, is in love with Adina, who rejects him and flirts with Belcore. Dulcamara has pulled into town offering his elixir, which is merely wine. Adina falls for Nemorino anyway, and Dulcamara is stunned when his potion seems to work. They all sing merrily after.

Florez's "Una furtiva lagrima (A furtive tear)" was moving. His comic dancing was memorable.

Donato Renzetti, conducting at the Met in this run for the first time since a 1989 revival of Puccini's "La Boheme," drew a bouncy, exciting sound from the orchestra.

Sets are pastel-colored flats by Beni Montresor, who also designed the primarily pastel costumes, and Steven Pickover directed the final revival. Unlike many productions, which decline from their initial run, this staging improved over time.

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