Culture Magazine

Opera Review: The Finer Diner

By Superconductor @ppelkonen
David Lomelí triumphs in L'Elisir at City Opera.

Opera Review: The Finer Diner

David Lomelí as Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore at New York City Opera.
Photo by Carol Rosegg © 2011 New York City Opera.

If you're going to sing Nemorino, you need to be brave. The tenor role in L'Elisir d'Amore is not especially challenging for the voice. But it carries with it a legacy, the weight of association with the singing legacy of Luciano Pavarotti and before him, Enrico Caruso.
On Thursday night, in the New York City Opera's revival of the Donizetti opera, tenor David Lomelí proved himself worthy of that legacy. Mr. Lomelí has a firm, dulcet instrument, capable of adding a little steel beneath the velvet to lend force to his character's wine-fueled outbursts of passion.
He is also is a good comic actor, holding the center of Jonathan Miller's Route 66-inspired production, which transports this country bumpkin to the American Southwest of the 1950s. In this version, the hapless Nemorino is a long-suffering pump boy (with lashings of James Dean) attempting to win the affections of Adina, owner of the diner and its attached gas station.
The City Opera has surrounded the tenor with a fine supporting cast, led by Ukrainian soprano Stefania Dovhan as Adina. She has a soaring bel canto instrument under her movie-star blonde wig. Baritone José Adán Pérez was a bantam-like, cocky Belcore, re-imagined as a U.S. Army sergeant who recruits all of Nemorino's co-workers. Meredith Lustig provided able, sexy support as Giannetta.
Next to the leads, Elisir rises or falls on Dr. Dulcamara, the quack doctor who markets cheap vino as the original funky cold medina. Marco Nistico is a comic character actor of considerable charm, with a fine baritone and the quick eyes of a confidence man. His best moments came in his Act Two duets with Ms. Dovhan.
Brad Cohen conducted Donizetti's famous score with wit and charm, giving voice to sprightly rhythms and ensuring that the chorus was tight. Mention must also be made of the excellent supertitles by
A. Scott Parry, which helped in translating the action to the high lonesome of the desert.

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