Saturday, October 07, 2017

L’Elisir d’amore to premiere in Manila

That intoxicating feeling of love is in the air as one of the world’s most beloved operas, Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore, finally gets its Manila premiere with a limited two performance run this October 7 & 8, 2017 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

For years, small, abridged concert stagings have been performed in here but a full production of this opera has never been done. Now, thanks to the Rustan Commercial Corporation, Cultural Center of the Philippines, and The Peninsula Manila, in cooperation with the Philippine-Italian Association under the auspices of the Italian Embassy that this is seeing the light of day.

Nemorino (David Astorga) hangs on to Adina's (Elena Monti) every word

This production boasts of an international cast led by Italian soprano Elena Monti (Adina), Costa Rican tenor David Astorga (Nemorino), and Italian bass Francesco Vultaggio (Dulcamara). Korean baritone Byeong-In Park (Belcore) and our very own Rachelle Gerodias-Park (Gianetta) round up the cast. They will be joined by Coro Tomasino under Ronan Ferrer and Philippine Ballet Theatre under Anatoly Panasyukov.

Providing live music is the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of former principal conductor/music director Ruggiero Barbieri.

Dulcamara (Francesco Vultaggio) making outrageous claims

I had the opportunity to take a sneak peek and watch the technical dress rehearsal. It is so tempting to describe what I saw and heard in detail and also to post a lot more photos in here but that would be  telling. I want others to see the opera for themselves. All I can say is that David’s Una furtiva lagrima was so exquisite that there were shouts of bravo from the small number of audience present and those at the wings after he finished the famous aria.

This may sound trivial but for me it’s extremely vital: thank goodness that there will be a real harp in this, or else, Una furtiva… will be ruined.

Belcore (Byeong-In Park) proposes a toast at his wedding

Director Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini leads the artistic and production team along with Direction Consultant Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong. Completing the team are Maurizio Varamo (Set Design), Flavio Monti (Set Project Assistant), Otello Camponeschi (Costume Design), and Giovanni Pirandello (Lighting Design).  

Gianetta (Rachelle Gerodias-Park) spreading gossip

This production of L’Elisir d’amore is in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Italy as well at the 65th Sapphire Anniversary of the Rustan Group of Companies. This project is made possible through the sponsorship of Royal Duty Free Shops, Hermes, Debenhams, Rustan Marketing Corporation, Rustan Supercenters, Inc., Megaworld, and Bergamo.

This opera fundraiser is produced by Zenaida R. Tantoco with Nestor O. Jardin and Dr. Raul M. Sunico as Executive Producers. Proceeds from this will benefit the construction of the San Pablo Apostol Parish Church in Tondo, Manila.

Nemorino (David Astorga) sings Una furtiva lagrima

Gala Night performance of L’Elisir d’amore is on October 7, 2017, 8:00 PM and the matinee performance is on October 8, 2017, 3:00 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

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