Dimitri Pittas (Nemorino) and Chorus in Elisir d'Amore, Santa Fe Opera, 2009 (photo by Ken Howard)
The Nemorino of American tenor Dimitri Pittas ultimately makes this production work, as the hapless grease monkey with a dopey smile and a heart of gold. He has sung the role at Welsh National Opera and at the Met, and the voice is placed well, making the high notes shine in Una furtiva lagrima, sung under dim lights with the instrumental introduction accompanying Nemorino sadly covering over the beloved red sports car he has been restoring. With the characters in 1945, it was harder to make Adina seem truly of a different class than Nemorino, which is ostensibly why she disdains him, especially when she was costumed essentially like all the other women in the village. At one point, she sneers at him over her espresso demi-tasse, a sure sign that she is a latte-drinking elitist -- although not in Italy, where everyone drinks espresso. Jennifer Black, a lovely Micaëla in Santa Fe's 2006 Carmen and one of their Mimis in the 2007 La Bohème, was not quite the perfect voice for the part, a little too dark in tone to get the right sparkle and brightness for the flashy Adina.
Thomas Hammons (Dr. Dulcamara) in Elisir d'Amore, Santa Fe Opera, 2009 (photo by Ken Howard)
George Loomis, Santa Fe Opera, New Mexico (Financial Times, August 10)
Scott Cantrell, Santa Fe Opera's 'Elixir of Love' is a frothy good time (Dallas Morning News, August 9)
T. D. Mobley-Martinez, Opera 'Elixir' proves fine comic tonic (Colorado Springs Gazette, July 30)
John Stege, Bel Canto, Pronto (Santa Fe Reporter, July 15)
Craig Smith, 'Elixir' a merry brew of love and laughter (Santa Fe New Mexican, July 5)
If you can stand it, this production of Elisir d'Amore will be repeated at Santa Fe Opera four more times through August 28.