Published11 Apr 2016
Opera Philadelphia Draws Season to a Comedic Close with Donizetti's The Elixir of Love
Charming production set in World War II Italy comes to The Academy of Music April 29-May 8
On the heels of a history-making first production with New York’s legendary Apollo Theater, Opera Philadelphia brings its 41st season to a fittingly festive close with Donizetti’s effervescent bel canto comedy, The Elixir of Love, reimagined to take place during World War II (five performances in the Academy of Music, April 29 – May 8).
Seven years ago, when Opera Philadelphia’s Music Director Corrado Rovaris teamed up with director Stephen Lawless to debut this new staging, The Santa Fe Reporter praised the production as “charming [and] warm-hearted…liable to give you bad case of those morning-after-the-opera, just-can’t-get-those-tunes-out-of-my-head hangovers.” This spring, Rovaris and Lawless reunite to reprise their hit take on the beloved opera.
Anchoring a talented cast of Opera Philadelphia favorites in the Academy of Music are soprano Sarah Shafer (Ainadamar) as Adina and tenor Dimitri Pittas (Don Carlo) as Nemorino. A recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Shafer was praised for her “luminous voice” and “intensely expressive interpretations” in the New York Times, and named “a singer to watch” by Opera News. Having already sung Donizetti’s pining peasant with The Santa Fe Opera and The Metropolitan Opera among others, Pittas has been recognized as a dynamic performer poised “to take his place among the great tenors who have assayed Nemorino” (The Financial Times).
Baritone Craig Verm, who impressed as Schaunard in 2012’s La bohème, brings his “enormous comic flair” (Opera News) to his role debut as Sergeant Belcore, but he had better watch out for the scene-stealing bass Kevin Burdette as the huckster Dr. Dulcamara. In his 2014 turn as Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville, Burdette was described as “always in a whirl, acting, re-acting, slapstick, slaphappy: a great comic performance” (Parterre Box). Here, he is reunited with soprano Katrina Thurman (Berta in The Barber of Seville) who has been recognized by Gramophone for her “remarkably vibrant and flexible voice,” singing the role of Giannetta.
The Elixir of Love
Music by Gaetano Donizetti| Libretto by Felice Romani
Performed in Italian with English supertitles
Production from The Santa Fe Opera
April 29, May 1m, 4, 6 & 8m, 2016
Academy of Music
Tickets: $19 to $239
operaphila.org | 215.732.8400
Adding further appeal to this colorful springtime production is a fun slate of special events. On Friday, May 6, Opera Philadelphia presents VIVACE Night, offering young professionals the opportunity to see the show, meet the cast, and mingle with like-minded peers. Then, on Sunday, May 8, families can bring young audience members (ages 8-18) to see the performance at a discounted Family Day price and enjoy interactive activities led by the Opera Education staff.
Opera Philadelphia is committed to embracing innovation and developing opera for the 21st century. Described as “one of the leading instigators of new work in the country” by Opera News, Opera Philadelphia is the only American finalist for the 2016 International Opera Award for Best Opera Company. The company is charting a bold new path to September 2017, when Opera Philadelphia will open its 2017-2018 season with an immersive, 12-day festival featuring seven operatic happenings in six venues throughout the city. The first festival, “O17,” will feature three World Premieres, plus the exclusive East Coast appearance of Barrie Kosky’s groundbreaking production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and a recital by superstar soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. Opera Philadelphia will continue to present a spring season each year, including with productions in February and April, making it the only U.S. opera company producing an annual opera season that begins with a dynamic festival.