The 1976 revival of Covent Garden’s recent new production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore was brought into the recording studio by CBS who thought Placido Domingo (who never sang Nemorino on stage) should be its star. Today’s live Trove Thursday tape from that run features instead José Carreras and suggests that perhaps CBS dropped the ball with that decision.  

Carreras finally did record Elisir for Philips in 1984 but by then his steady diet of heavy dramatic roles had taken its toll on his golden tenor voice. This earlier Nemorino, however, still shows him in his prime.

It took me years to appreciate the serious Donizetti, but I’ve always loved the composer’s comic operas, particularly Don Pasquale and Elisir. And a favorite of mine is the Romanian soprano Ileana Cotrubas who collaborated often with Carreras in La Traviata, La Bohème, and Carmen, in addition to this delightful Elisir.

Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore
Royal Opera, Covent Garden
27 December 1976
In-house recording

Ileana Cotrubas — Adina
Lillian Watson — Giannetta
Jose Carreras — Nemorino
Ingvar Wixell — Belcore
Geraint Evans — Dulcamara

Sir John Pritchard — conductor

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