Riccardo Frizza to Lead Authentic Rendition of ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’ at Donizetti Opera Festival

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Gianfranco Rota)

On Nov. 19, 2021, the Donizetti Opera Festival is set to present a new production of “L’elisir d’amore.”

Music Director Riccardo Frizza will lead the production, conducting the Orchestra “Gli Originali,” established three years ago at the festival with the aim of offering Donizetti’s music with a formation and on instruments dating back to his time.

The new production by the Fondazione Teatro Donizetti will be directed by Frederic Wake-Walker and will feature a cast that includes Javier Camarena as Nemorino, Roberto Frontali as Dulcamara, Florian Sempey as Belcore, Caterina Sala as Adina, and Anaïs Mejías as Giannetta.

In a statement, Riccardo Frizza said, “at last I am conducting the full version of ‘L’elisir d’amore’ in the city, at the theatre and for the Festival which honors the name of Gaetano Donizetti, Bergamo’s distinguished citizen. I am sure that the audience will be fascinated to discover parts of the score which have always been cut out but which reveal even greater beauty in this endlessly successful work. I am conducting ‘Gli Originali,’ an orchestra made up of authentic original instruments, not replicas of old instruments, a first in Italy for this opera. With these instruments, the sound is different, sweeter, more mellow, and rounded compared to modern instruments.

“‘L’elisir d’amore’ is a masterpiece in which Donizetti transforms a fully traditional opera buffa into a comedy with characters who have immense psychological and theatrical strength. Yet this opera’s success has also been its downfall. It has become encrusted with bad habits, cuts, ornamentations, and effects which have unfortunately become ‘customary.’ Now our ‘Elisir’ aspires to remove this routine gloss from the opera, restoring proper stylistic awareness.”

“L’elisir d’amore” will be performed at the Teatro Donizetti on Nov. 19 and 28 and Dec. 5, 2021.