The Elixir of Love

Date 16th April 2015
Society North Norfolk Chamber Opera
Venue Auden Theatre, Greshams School, Holt
Type of Production Opera
Director Susanne Smith
Musical Director Maggi Warren


Author: Susan DuPont

NNCO in their 25th anniversary production of ‘The Elixir of Love’, one of my favourite operas, and what a way to celebrate.
 This lovely light and bubbly and tuneful score by Donizetti such a delight to hear: well balanced casting and chorus accompanied by North Norfolk Chamber Ensemble, the production was well served by the talents of Maggi Warren and Susanna Smith.
 What a delightful set with central lamp/floral piece and café tables around the square, and including the house entrance, most appropriate setting and the modern dress worked very well and gave the sunny summer atmosphere in a perfect way. And clever of Crispin Clark for set and the ‘Tuc Tuc’ of Dr Dulcamara.
 As the heroine of the piece, Adina, Samantha Hawkins had the looks and flirtacious  nature of the ‘queen’ of the village, a top soprano just within her range, very tuneful and worked well with both Nemorino and Belcore in their duets. A delightful second soprano in Gianetta from Elizabeth Wilmott, very lively and bubbly, good personality.
 The three male leads very strong and well cast in this production. Des Holmes as Nemorino did not disappoint in this top tenor role with his lyrical arias and moods of love and despair, and how he played to Adina with passion, but was overwhelmed by the actions of Belcore and Dulcamara. As Sergeant Belcore, a welcome return to the Norfolk stage of John Clack in a swaggering and confident rendition of the would-be lover and soldier, strong and well sung, a really good performance and very convincing. And as Dr Dulcamara, Nick Bird once more in timed and professional style with the patter song on cue and mellow notes through the whole, this sharpster knew exactly what to say and do and when to take the money and disappear, he was perfect in the casting in his whole character role with professionalism (no wonder that he is in demand for so many societies).
 The chorus and indeed whole company very important throughout in this score and many opportunities for ‘a good and harmonious sing’, and how well these big company moments worked and sounded, great harmonies, and seemingly the cast all enjoyed themselves as they went about their lives: liked the café scenes, the card games, the knitting, the army recruitment and the wedding breakfast as interest throughout the piece. A happy feel to the whole evening of music.