What do you get when you have a pining farmboy, an intelligent self-possessed woman, a cocky sergeant and a small town full of money-hungry naive folk? Throw in a sleazy mountebank, quack doctor and you have The Elixir of Love. WA Opera have brought Simon Phillip’s amazingly unique take on the Donizetti classic to the stunning stage of His Majesty’s Theatre in a show that is perfect for both newcomers and seasoned opera lovers alike.
Set against the opulent Edwardian theatre, the burnt sienna and rusty ochre hills of the backdrop stand out and give the audience a thrilling preview to the setting and the kind of show they are about toe see. As the orchestra gets started, the veil of curtain lifts and a stunning set of corrugated iron and iconic Australian sights are revealed. Bursting with humour, the set defines the tone of the production – fun, clever and full of the Aussie spirit! There are corrugated iron sheep, horses, and hills, defining the location as an outback town.
What stands out about this production is the humour running through it. Rachelle Durkin’s Adina is expressive and charming, her obvious bemusement at Nemorino’s (Aldo di Toro) attempts at courtship is flawless, yet it is her facial expressions and cheeky little slaps when dealing with Sergeant Belcore (Jose Carbo) and his rather hands-on approach at wooing her that really set Durkin apart as a brilliant performer. The acting is flawless. di Toro is endearing and beautifully sincere, Carbo’s arrogant swagger and comedic timing is unforgettable, and Marco Nistico shines as the hilarious and sleazy Dr Dulcamara.
This production is perfect for the first-time opera attendee, as it makes everything accessible. The setting of early WWI rural Australia works perfectly in concert with Donizetti’s plot. It’s not only the set and costumes that firmly embed the production in its time, it’s the surtitles. Usually used to translate the show from Italian, German or whatever language into English, this time, they are translated in Aussie slang! This is an absolute hit, a corker, a bobby-dazzler – it’s alright mate!
The Elixir of Love is a production that cannot be faulted – everything is perfect. Not only will you laugh at the very clear vein of comedy running through it, you’ll probably be moved to tears at points, too. Who knew Donizetti’s story would marry so well with that great Aussie tradition – humour with pathos?
When: 14th – 23rd July 2016
Where: His Majesty’s Theatre, PERTH
Tickets: $40 – $175
Info: Box Office open an hour prior to shows, Wheelchair accessible, Program available online
About Laura Money
Is an avid theatre goer, reader, art gallery guide and museum enthusiast. She enjoys all aspects of theatre, from the deep and meaningful to the whimsical and kitsch. As lover of all things in the world of humanities, she is very proud of the vibrant art scene in Perth. It truly is an exciting place to be!
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