top of page


title. The Elixir of Love

company. Grange Park Opera

Elixir Anchor 1

venue. Nevill Holt / UK Tour / Grange Park Opera

. conductor Christian Curnyn / John Beswick  design Lez Brotherston associate designer . Sara Perks lx design . Jon Clark 

movement Tom Roden


This year, Nevill Holt presented a slick new staging by Martin Constantine of L'Elisir d'amore. It is detailed, well blocked, with countless natty touches for the small chorus. Designed by Lez Brotherston, Act I is a glorious conceit: all greys, it has been shifted to post-war Salford, with smoking factory chimney and factory lasses escaping for a cigarette.



Pimlico Opera, at The Lowry, proved that Donizetti's The Elixir Of Love is the classic happy-ending love story, full of tunes and bouncy rhythms and completely timeless. That is due to good conducting from John Beswick and playing from his orchestra, and good singing from the tiny cast-and mainly to Martin Constantine's lively direction and Lez Brotherston's great little set, placing the story in a Lowry-esque British 1950s industrial wasteland-just enough distancing to make its romance come alive. 



 I don't know what Martin Constantine was thinking when he decided to transfer his new production of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore from a sun-baked Italian village circa 1800 to a smoke-caked North-country mill town circa 1950, but it's one of those updatings that seems to work. Lez Brotherston's designs wonderfully combine post-war grey utilitarian with flashes of brilliant colour and Constantine fills the stage with nice comic detail and strong characterisation; Nemorino becomes a bumbling Norman Wisdom klutz, while Dulcamara is a spiv purveying his quackery out of an ice-cream van. The audience loved it.



Martin Constantine's engaging new production...there are plenty of radiant performances from a splendid cast. Constantine's staging is full of witty touches and the 'Workers' Playtime' ensemble are delightfully individual and hilarious in a nail-filing chorus for the girls of the town.



Genuine entertainment - its good to look at and injects a great sense of style into the scenario. All the singers are good actors.



Martin Constantine's production was enjoyable, distinctive and paid Donizetti the compliment of taking his comedy completely seriously.


bottom of page