'L'Elisir d'Amore', a love story well received
Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
The Metropolitan Opera Company kicked off its 'Live in HD' season with the staging of L'Elisir d'Amore on Saturday. The live transmission was broadcast to 1,900 theatres in 64 countries via satellite, including Carib 5 Cinema in Jamaica.
L'Elisir d'Amore (Italian for The Elixir of Love) is a two-act melodrama by famed Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. It is hailed as one of the greatest comic gems in opera and centres around the hard-hearted Adina, played by Anna Netrebko and the love-struck Nemorino, played by Matthew Polenzani. The two form an unlikely romance with the help of a mysterious elixir of love, which bears a suspicious resemblance to French wine.
L'Elisir d'Amore tells the tale of how far the desperate Nemorino is willing to go to gain Adina's affection. The role of Nemorino was once played by the late grande maestro himself, Luciano Pavarotti, whose performance of Una Furtiva Lagrima - one of the most famous tenor arias in history - is still considered one of his best by many.
Polenzani's own rendition of the aria was also very well received by both the audience at the Met and those sitting in the auditorium at Carib.
The live screening would not have been possible here in Jamaica if Palace Amusement Company, which operates Carib, had not gone digital, says the film company's head of marketing, Melanie Graham. This move has allowed the local film distributor to broaden its offerings as part of an alternative-content initiative, Graham said.
Palace first started its alternative-content movement by collaborating with SportsMax to bring live sporting events to its cinemas. Now it is expanding its offerings, and soon even concerts will be broadcast live and direct from thousands of miles away.
L'Elisir d'Amore is the first of 12 operas in the Met's 'Live in HD' line-up to make its premiere on screen in Jamaica. Though the opera was sung in Italian, English translations were captioned on screen so everyone could follow the storyline.
Also included in the line-up are adaptations of Shakespeare's The Tempest and Othello, which Graham believes would be beneficial to students studying the plays, as it gives a fresh perspective. Graham also added that students of the arts could learn a lot from observing one of the world's most renowned opera companies, while experiencing something new and broadening their horizons.
SPECIAL TREAT FOR VIEWERS
While those sitting in the Metropolitan auditorium got to experience the real thing, those watching the live screenings were treated to something even better. Viewers were able to see the opera from a multi-dynamic perspective, as the cameras zoomed and panned to offer the most ideal viewpoints.
During the intermission leading into the second act, those watching the transmission were given a backstage pass as host Deborah Voigt interviewed performers and crew members.
Viewers were also able to see the stage crew at work rearranging the set.
Opera aficionado and attorney-at-law, Marjorie Seeberan, lauded Palace for bringing the Met Opera to Jamaica.
Seeberan believes that more Jamaicans should experience the opera as she says that while the language is foreign, the experience isn't.
Seeberan, who has been to the Met herself, explained that Jamaicans should be able to relate to the themes of the opera, adding that Jamaicans are an expressive and dramatic group of people, much like the performances.
First-timer and fellow lawyer, Beverly Pereira, agreed with Seeberan, adding that she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Next up on Met's roster is Giuseppe Verdi's Otello, which will be performed on October 27 and is based on Shakespeare's Othello. Until then, there will be encore showings of L'Elisir d'Amore on October 20 at Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay, and October 21 at Palace Cineplex in Liguanea and at Odeon Cineplex in Mandeville.