Wow, the critics were right… I was stunned when Anna Netrebko first opened her mouth in Bartlett Sher’s new production of Elisir L’Elisir d’Amore. Compared to her singing in Wiener Staatsoper L’Elisir d’Amore (2005), her voice has really darkened and gotten so much heavier. It was somewhat disconcerting.
Matthew Polenzani played an impassioned Nemorino and his heartfelt Una Furtiva Lagrima justly received the loudest ovation of the evening. I found his long curly hairdo extremely distracting though – I much preferred Mariusz Kwiecen’s short cropped hair as Belcore.
Overall, I think I much preferred the set design, musical pace, and singing in the 2005 Wiener Staatsoper staging, although I appreciated that Netrebko’s Adina in the Met version was shown from the start to be already somewhat fond of the bumbling Nemorino. She certainly appeared more emphatic in the Met production.