Donizetti, L’Elisir d’Amore
The National Opera of Albania hit the stage of the Palace of Culture of Tirana this evening with Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. Almost everything screamed “high school” theater about this production. The auditorium is the same one used for orchestra concerts, and even with the stage retracted partly to open an orchestra pit, the space is just not that large and the acoustics are not so great. But sitting directly in front, I could hear (friends sitting a few rows back said they could not hear).
More importantly, I could see (well, I did have to shield my eyes from some of the stage lights pointing at wrong angles): this cast had fun. What they lacked in talent they more than made up for in enthusiasm, and that counts for a lot to make a performance enjoyable. I did not expect much, so just having a fun night at the opera hit the spot.
The Adina, Eriola Gjyzeli Dragoicea, was actually rather good. Vladimir Sazdovsky as Dulcamara had a lively, if not large, baritone voice and Elson Braha as Nemorino had a very pleasant tenor voice as long as he did not try to project it (every time he tried to project, his voice cracked, but when singing softly he sounded very nice indeed). Everyone else on stage clearly had a good time, and the stage director allowed them to do so. I think he went to the market to buy the props, and told the cast to just bring odd clothes from their own closets to use as costumes, so there was no logic to the staging other than giving the singers the chance to ham it up, which they did.
The orchestra, under Eddi de Nadai, provided a useful accompaniment when playing underneath the singers, although the exposed orchestral parts were less pleasant.
A colleague from work brought her not-quite-five-year-old daughter, who also had fun. So it was clearly contagious.