Wednesday, April 1, 2009

L'Elisir d' Amore -- The Elixir of Love

My husband and I went to the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center last evening to see L'Elisir d' Amore, by composer Gaetano Donizetti, which was the last opera in our subscription for this 08 - 09 season.

As you see from the photo above the year long renovation construction of Lincoln Center is still taking place, although it seems to be in its final stages. The beautiful fountain in the plaza is surrounded by a construction fence, as are other sections of the plaza, but we were still able to walk into the front entrance of the opera house.

A beautiful large translucent mural was hanging from the front of the building of another opera also being performed in April, "La Sonnambula," by composer Vincenzo Bellini.

L' Elisir d' Amore is a romantic comedic opera in two acts and last night's performance was the first of this season, and its 253rd performance at The Metropolitan Opera!

The entire synopsis of the opera can be read at this link, but it is basically the story of Adina, a beautiful, intelligent and wealthy woman living in a rural Italian village. She is adored by a bumbling, illiterate villager named Nemorino, who shyly professes his love to her only to receive her scorn.
The village they are living in becomes excited when the army marches into town, and when the suave Army Sargeant Belacore sees Adina he is smitten with her and asks for her hand in marriage. Adina tells him she will have to think about it and Nemorino falls into despair as he feels he will lose her forever.
Fortunately for him, Dr. Dulcamara, a traveling quack and charlatan, comes to town to sell his "cure all" health elixir. Nemorino asks him if he also has an "elixir of love" and Dulcamara sells him a bottle of Bordeaux wine instead, taking Nemorino's last penny.
As the opera progresses Nemorino character changes as he gains confidence in himself because he feels the elixir is making him attractive, and Adina slowly begins to realize she does love him for his good and honest qualities.
The famous aria "Una Furtiva Lagrima" is sung in act two of the opera when Nemorino realizes the possibility of obtaining Adina's love.

In last night's performance Adiana was played by the beautiful soprano Angela Gheorghiu. She gave a soaring performance that increased in crescendo until her arias in part two were unbelievable in their power and pitch. I was exhausted holding my breath as she hit every high note, and held it for many beats, as she remained light and airy coquettish in her demeanor.

The tenor Massimo Giordano played the role of Nemorino, and from his first aria of "Quanto e bella" the audience knew we were in for a treat as his voice was deep and commanding and remained so through the opera, almost drowning out the voices of Franco Vassallo who played the part of Sergeant Belcore, Adina's other love interest and Simone Alaimo who played the part of Dr. Dulcamara, the charlatan elixir seller.

There was a palpable anticipation in the opera house as Giordano walked out in Act 2 to begin the aria "Una Furtiva Lagrima," and he did not disappoint, although I do not believe his performance was not as powerful and poignant as Luciano Pavorotti who performed in the role of Nemorino at The Met 49 times between 1973 and 1998.

Enrico Caruso was the most legendary Nemorino before him, and he performed the role 32 times before his untimely death at age 48.
The Met always rotates in display famous costumes from it's archival collection outside certain levels of the opera hall, and these were two on display last evening.

I was excited to see this one -- the costume of Canio the clown worn by Enrico Caruso in the opera "Pagliacci."

The 1926 costume that Maria Jeritza wore in the Unites States premiere of Puccini's opera "Turandot."

The train of the dress was so long! Click on to enlarge the photo to see the exquisite quilting of the fabrics.

I am always fascinated by the Swarovski crystal chandeliers that hang like diamonds in the Met's lobby and since there was still some daylight as a backdrop I took some more photos of them, to contrast to the ones I've shown on prior opera blog posts that were taken when it was dark outside.

This view is from the upper lobby looking down at the main lobby entrance.

Looking up from the lobby.

A close up! So sparkly!
Information about the chandeliers from the Met's web site:
"The starburst chandeliers in the lobby have been synonymous with the opera house ever since the Met moved into its new home at Lincoln Center in 1966. Now, thanks to a generous donation from Swarovski, the chandeliers have been completely restored, including the installation of new crystals. In July, Johannes Rath, managing partner of J. & L. Lobmeyr in Vienna, whose grandfather Hans Harald Rath originally designed the chandeliers, traveled to New York to oversee their removal from the Met for refurbishment in Austria. Nearly 50,000 of the original hand-cut crystals, most of them made by Swarovski, have been replaced. Many of them had been lost or damaged over the past 42 years. The new Swarovski crystals are machine-cut and polished for a more brilliant and consistent look."

A view of the stage and orchestra pit from our "family circle" seats. We sat in a lower tier last year, and have decided to go back to those more expensive seats next year, if we can get them in our subscription. I always bring my small binoculars to see the stage and the acoustics are superb, but we did enjoy the closer view.

The lights are being raised! The house lights will dim, the orchestra will begin playing the overture and the curtain will is an exciting feeling everyone should experience at least once! Check out the upcoming 09 - 10 season of The Metropolitan Opera here.
There will be many new productions which you can see at this link along with some videos about a few of them.

Finally, because I couldn't resist, I'll leave you with this parting photo from the parking garage located under Lincoln Center, and one of the reasons I rarely drive into Manhattan......

And this is actually not the most expensive parking garage in Manhattan, either! We splurge on most opera nights and take our car into the city, but the subway or bus is where you'll usually find us when we travel most of the time in New York.
It's fast, efficient, and saves us money, that's for sure!


Joyce said...

I was born and raised in NY and when I go back I visit all the sites. Thanks for sharing the magical night with us. I know the parking is totally insane but hey it is New York the best city ever. Can you imagine our surprise when we moved to Ky and they wanted $2.00 to park all day. We thought it was an April Fool joke! Now you have me thinking about Little Italy & Italian Pastry.

MJ Ornaments said...

Oh Pat what a stunning place. The chandeliers look like fireworks going off! Thanks for sharing. I've got to get to NY!
Take care,

steviewren said...

Pat, I would so like to go to the Opera with you and hubby. It is an art form that I don't know much about, but would enjoy getting to know better. These things are always more enjoyable when you are with someone who can explain all the particulars.

The chandelier is worth going to The Met to see even if you don't attend a performance. But the parking prices.....whoa!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - Thanks for the great post. Don't you just love opera and those chandeliers!! We've been to many opera houses around the world, but nobody does it as well as the New York Metropolitan Opera. We have tickets to L'elisir D'Amore on April 11 - our wedding anniversary. Seemed like an appropriate opera for an anniversary, don't you think?

aliceinparis said...

Thanks so much for this entry. My daughter was drooling over it and said she would LOVE to live in New York and be able to atten the opera house.

Nola said...

Oh, I am green with envy! If you tell me that you were fortunate enough to see Pavarotti at the Met, I will cry! I loved Pavarotti, but, as you can well imagine, he rarely came to Texas (haha, sounds funny just writing it), but I did see him here in about 2002! It was a memory I will cherish always!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! I would love to go there. I love the opera. We have the Detroit opera house in our area. I enjoyed seeing the building, the decor, the costurmes, and hearing the wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing ♥
p.s. yes, you can buy butter lamb molds on line.
I hope you have a wonderful day!

Unknown said...

Hi Pat,
I saw the Lincoln Center when we were in NY from the tour bus! I really enjoyed your pictures since we didn't get to go inside!

Thanks for sharing.


~Cheryl said...

Wow -- it's thrilling just to look at your photos; can't imagine what it would be like in person! Thanks!

Strider said...

All i can say is that you have a great husband!!!! Blessings my friend. Strider

Strider said...

BTW...My wife and youngest daughter made the trip to S.C. and visiting my son and his family. She is really enjoying the grandsons! I'm in Denver tonight before I fly back to the NW.....If I'm not mistaken....isn't this where "The Lion Hearted Lives?" Blessings my friend. Strider

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Strider! I miss you blog!

Yes -- the Lion Hearted lives in Denver ...a little cold there right now isn't it? I'm glad your wife and daughter were able to visit SC for some fun with your little grands.

Hope you all have a safe trip home!

Oh and my husband is the one who introduced his love of opera to me I'm the lucky one!

Willow said...

Lovely tour, Pat. Thanks so much!

Parking in LA is around $10.00 and it's FREE in my nearby town.

nanatrish said...

Pat, your trip to the opera looks great. You commented about being a Patti until you were 14. That's the age I became Trish. Maybe that is a significant age on the change your name deal. You always have the neatest outings.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I love going to the opera with you, Pat! Thanks for taking us along...


Sheila :-)

Tracy said...

That place is beautiful...the reno looks terrific! So glad you had a wonderful night at the opera! I miss going to the opera...we need to get ourselves to the city one of these nights--LOL! Happy Day, Pat ((HUGS))

pammiejo said...

What a neat thing to experience via your blog! I can feel the "grandness" of the whole thing! Maybe one of these days I'll get to have your experience. Thanks for the post! PAM

elizabeth said...

Thanks for the beautiful music this morning, too.

Vee said...

Pat, this was lovely post. I feel almost satisfied in my desire to visit the Met and enjoy an opera. It is unlikely that I ever will, but this post may be the next best thing. Thank you!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I just love that space! You did such a great job of showcasing the best attributes.

And you're right...that parking is almost reasonable, lol!

p.s. DB April...Oh my YUM.

xo, Laura

Anonymous said...

Hia Pat what a lovely evening for you. What a sumptious costume- def not the sort to take a backward step in. I know I would forget and make an ass of myself!

Oh my the chandeliers are so beautiful. What an incredible number of crystals in them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour! I doubt I shall ever see Lincoln Center, so I enjoy using your 'eyes'. I smile at the parking prices. Out here in OK we are so spread out, such a thing is hard to imagine.

Thanks so much again.

Catherine said...

Thank you for the tour. I do miss the Opera. Culture is a little sparse out here unless I want to drive to Phoenix or `Vegas.

Lorrie said...

Hi Pat, I loved this tour of Lincoln Center. I went to college at SUNY Albany which has the same architecture--both were designed by Edward Durrell Stone.

Tara said...


I have seen The Nutcracker here...such a gorgeous setting! I emailed you, hope you got it!

Bo said...

Hi Pat...I can't believe this old Texan can say I've been to the opera now...vicariously of course!
I hope you know how enjoyable your NY life is to me & perhaps others in Blogland...Love your blog!
;-) Bo

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

I'll have to add going to the Opera in NYC to my bucket list. You have such a full life--thanks for sharing it!!


Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

This is wonderful, Pat!!

Arlene Delloro said...

I so miss the opera and the ballet. My ex and I used to alternate subscriptions. I never got out of the family circle--between the 1 3/4 drive in, dinner, the parking--it became prohibitively expensive. Not to mention that I was always so exhausted from my job that I was apt to fall asleep! The aria you mention is really all I know of this opera. Nessun Dorma is my favorite aria and La Boheme my favorite opera. The Met's renovations are no doubt going to be spectacular. Thanks so much for keeping this country bumpkin "in the loop."

supplies overflowing! said...

As always, beautiful photos, and a wonderfully informative post. Thank you!!

GMG said...

Hi Pat! Wow! you were up in the sky inside the Met!!
L'Elisir is lovely! But from Donizetti, I prefer Lucia; and can't forget the fabulous performances of Maria Callas... Sublime!

Now, one week working without coming here and you don’t even remember that
Blogtrotter still exists. But it’s there, even if India 2008 has come to an end… ;)). Have a great weekend!

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Thanks for the tour of The's beautiful! I love the starburst chandeliers too. What a majical night...almost too much to take in. And imagine the parking! It's costly! I enjoyed the costume display's great that you buy season tickets...something to look forward too.

My husband and I used to do that when we lived in California...we'd go see classical music concerts-guitar series- at the Ambassador in Pasadena. We also bought concert series tickets in San Diego in various genres- I liked the "Late Night Jazz by the Bay". Thanks for sharing your New York musical experience - "Happening!"

Kathy said...

Hi Pat, Happy Easter to you and your family, you are so lucky to live so close to the Met and you described this opera so well that I am now dying to see it and got goose bumps. what a truly beautiful, magnificent place. we are still making up our minds which opera to see this year, I will check out SFO to see when L'Elisir d' Amore is being performed there and if Angela Gheorghiu is taking part, what a wonderful evening you had. hugs, Kathy.