This post is thanks to the multi-talented, super-friendly, overall arts genius Holly Wall, blogger at Tulsa Art Blog and arts writer at Urban Tulsa Weekly. Take it away, Holly!
Every time I attend a Tulsa Opera production, I forget for a little while that I’m in Tulsa. TO presents magnanimous works, attracting the best singers, directors and conductors that the industry has to offer. And as I watch (and hear) these amazing voices, performing in front of such elaborate sets and in such exquisite costumes, I imagine that I’m in someplace much larger and more cosmopolitan than the 49th largest city in the U.S.
For those who are opera fans, Tulsa Opera never disappoints, and its final production of the 2008-2009 season is no exception. For those who’ve never attended an opera before, this weekend is a perfect time to start, as Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore is a wonderful first-time opera.
In it, Nemorino (Gregory Schmidt) is a shy, naive peasant living in the Italian countryside. He's in love with Adina (Mari Moriya), a stubborn landowner who toys with his emotions and mocks his affection.
Desperate to win her heart, Nemorino purchases an elixir of love from a traveling doctor (read: quack) named Dulcamara (Terry Hodges). The elixir is nothing but wine, but it fills Nemorino with a confidence he's never known. He's able to act aloof and unconcerned around Adina, sure that she will fall in love with him soon.
Adina, insulted that Nemorino has taken his attention from her, agrees to marry the sargeant of a military regimen that's made a stop in their town. Belcore (Christopher Feigum) is a conceited, philandering fool, but Adina agrees to the wedding only to get a reaction out of Nemorino.
Nemorino, deperate for money and more elixir, joins Belcore's army for a stipend, which he quickly spends on a bottle of elixir the size of his torso.
Meanwhile, the ladies of the village get word that Nemorino's rich uncle has died and left him a millionaire. The ladies flock after Nemorino, leaving him and Dulcamara to believe that the love potion has worked.
In the end, Adina buys back Nemorino's contract with the military, saving him from war, and declares her love for him. The two marry, and everything ends happily ever after - which is so unlike an opera.
But, that's why it's a fantastic show for those ambivelent about opera. L'Elisir d'Amore is a comedy, written in the bel canto ("beautiful singing") style, and it is sweet, sincere and amusing.
The music and the singing are absolutely beautiful, and the singers can not only belt out a tune, but they're also wonderful actors. The show is rife with nuanced comedy, with every expression and gesture perfectly timed for a genuine laugh. At the same time, the show is sincere and poignant.
It's also fast-paced and, for an opera, really short. The two hours you spend in the Chapman Music Hall of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center fly by.
L'Elisir d'Amore is a feel-good opera. It could serve as a light-hearted centerpiece for any date night.
Sounds like a good time, right? If you said yes, then you're in luck. TO will present two more showings L'Elisir D'Amore; one is this Friday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m., and the other is Sunday, May 3, at 2:30 p.m.
Tulsa Opera is not only a world-class company, renowned from coast to coast, but it's also generous. TO gave me two tickets to Friday evening's performance to give away to one lucky Tasha Does Tulsa reader.
Here's how you enter:
1. Record yourself singing the highest note you possibly can, for as long as you possibly can.
2. Send me the recording, along with a photo of you striking a pose in a Viking helmet, to tashadoestulsa at gmail dot com.
Good luck, and happy vocalizing! Best vibrato wins.
I kid. Here are the real instructions:
1. In the comments, tell me who you would take to the show and why.
2. Tell a friend to enter, too.
3. For good luck, practice your favorite opera in the shower. The acoustics will surprise you, as well as any household pets or human co-habitants.
4. Tell someone they smell nice. Just because.
The winner will be decided by the trusty Random.org site at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Happy commenting!