Opera Scotland

The elixir

Diva Opera in St Andrews

Posted 29 Apr 2023

The 2023 Edinburgh International Festival, whatever the many attractions of its other offerings, seems rather light on opera due to the recent appointment of its new director - it takes longer that eight months to arrange such visits. We were therefore particularly pleased to note that the ambitious chamber opera company, Diva Opera, which last year hanselled the new St Andrews performing space in Laidlaw Music Centre with Così fan tutte, was returning to Scotland. In view of the significance of their visit, OperaScotland thought we should highlight their new offerings.

On this occasion we saw two highly-praised productions. These were Verdi's powerful tragedy Rigoletto on Wednesday 3 May, and Donizetti's rom-com Elixir of Love on Thursday 4 May. Scaled as chamber operas, there was be much to be enjoyed. Paradoxically, operas such as these can often have a great impact in smaller more intimate performing venues.

Certainly the Verdi came over very well as an intense drama beautifully sung and acted. The three solo courtiers had the chorus parts to themselves and did them very well, while company founder Bryan Evans was the superb pianist.

The Donizetti comedy had a smaller cast so the 'spare' singers could supply the small chorus.  It's not so long ago your reviewer saw a production in which the elixir was revealed to be not Bordeaux but Buckfast.  According to a programme illustration it appears this time to be 100% organic. But with Dulcamara who knows? The performance was quite delightful = this really is one of the great comic operas.


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