Bel Cantanti's Intoxicating 'L'Elisir d'Amore'
Bel Cantanti delivered an ebullient performance of L'Elisir d'Amore" at the Randolph Road Theatre in Silver Spring on Sunday. Reduced to its essence -- no chorus, and with piano, str ing quartet and onstage trumpeter instead of full orchestra -- the opera didn't seem 175 years old. The comedy burbled and bubbled brightly in a burst of strongly crafted characters. And Artistic Director Katerina Souvorova's pianistic prowess moved it along beautifully.
Meghan McCall was just about letter-perfect -- and note-perfect -- as the flirtatious, don't-pin-me-down Adina, her exceptionally pure tone melding with a gift for physical comedy. Aurelio Dominguez sang plaintively as Nemorino, the rather dim young man who woos her -- unsuccessfully, until he gets help from a phony love potion in a huge plastic bottle that sails past the audience on a zip line. As the phony potion maker Dulcamara, Andrew Adelsberger made a marvelous mountebank, praising his own skill at breakneck speed in Act 1 before realizing in Act 2 that his machinations have met their match in Adina's.
The supporting characters held their own. Matt Osifchin was full-voiced and appropriately full of himself as Belcore. And Jessica Renfro was simply marvelous as Gianetta, with a bright, clear voice and deliciously playful comic timing.
Repeat performances are scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3. No elixir is required to love the production.
-- Mark J. Estren