(…) Despair is conveyed here without bitterness and without toning done the story’s inherent fantasy. Brunel, who is a man of theatre, brilliantly directs his singers and, even more impressively, the young and lively lyrical choir of Saint Etienne.
Renaud Machart, Le Monde
L’Elixir d’amour is a treasure of the bel canto style, a tender and merry little gem. This new production is directed by Richard Brunel (stage direction) and Antonello Allemandi (music).
Richard Brunel’s directing dispels this opera’s most inane aspects and transforms this innocent picnic into a dark and hilarious fable, where money triumphs over love. A most delightful elixir indeed, to be consumed without moderation.
Vincent Huguet, Marianne
(…) Conductor and director, two accomplices in this endeavour, have sought to break free from the mundane and to rejuvenate this work. This challenge has been successfully met: the story unfolds smoothly, without breaking.
The dynamic Allemandi/Brunel duo is exactly what we needed to do away with the old stereotype of tedious operas. The director openly rejects “dummy singers and decorative decors” as the collective unconscious would imagine them. He wants his singers to use their emotions and their life experience on stage, to involve the audience and bypass any passivity on its part. A truly symbiotic collaboration between music and stage, an authentic cohesion, entirely dedicated to making the opera work – that is the secret of L’Élixir d’amour.
Adrien Viglianisi, La voix du nord
Brunel’s direction is humorous without being vulgar, refreshing and well-paced without ever forgetting to flesh out its characters.
Christian Merlin, Le Figaro et vous
In order to perform this opera in five different venues, its set needed to be highly adaptable – quite a venture, since the story takes place in a postcard-style countryside. This challenge is deftly met by a specialist, Richard Brunel, whose set is composed of a film backdrop.
Thierry Hilleriteau, La vie
Richard Brunel has directed this harmonious mix of facetiae and sentimentality, supported by a strong cast, a group of bel canto virtuosi directed by Antonello Allemandi.
Since his beginnings in Saint Etienne, Richard Brunel has made his way onto some of Europe’s greatest stages. His transposition of L’Elixir d’amour to modern times offers an original interpretation of the opera: the libretto is rejuvenated by a particularly sharp characterization. True art.
Sortir ici et ailleurs
Richard Brunel, unlike many of his fellow directors, does not stay stuck on one idea, repeated ad nauseaum to persuade us of its depth and significance. He is, above all things, a man of theatre who excels at regulating both the fluidity of movements and the shift of the choirs.
Christophe Rizoud, Forumopéra.com
Brunel’s direction is subtle, at once joyful and genuine. His characters and their predicaments are taken seriously, frequently verging on the tragic. (…) His work, a creative blend of levity, gravitas and tenderness is psychologically sophisticated and extremely convincing: it quietly but fully acknowledges the double nature of the fool’s game that is this play and confirms Brunel’s status as a particularly promising director.
Richard Letawe, Classique info.com
In the unfolding of this decidedly modern mise-en-scène, directed by Richard Brunel, every little detail – up to the black raven that closes a scene by softly alighting on stage, then brings the show to an end by flying away as the curtain comes down – is perfectly timed and executed.
La voix du Nord
(…) In Richard Brunel’s reading of the opera lies a true reflection on the games of love, but also on the intricacies of the human heart.
Philippe Andriot, Le tout Lyon
The interpretation of this opera relies on a delicate balance, a harmonious combination of farce and sentiment that imbues this score with real intensity. Melancholic, but with a touch of popular romanticism, Brunel’s L’Elixir d’amour has been successfully introduced into our modern world.
L’essor de la Loire
Both aspects – the tragic and the comedic – of Brunel’s work are perfectly balanced, conferring a remarkable coherence to the show. The head of the Comédie de Valence knows how to direct both his actors and singers, in a way that is reminiscent of musicals, and constantly brings his stage to life.
Jean-Luc Macia, Opéra magazine
The understated yet ingenious and humorous mise-en-scène sheds light on the characters’ complex nature and emotions. (…) In this production of L’Elixir d’amour, we allow ourselves to smile solely because we feel the inherent despair and sorrow dwelling in the characters – and this is deeply moving.
Le Havre Presse
Brunel’s production at the Opéra-Théâtre de Saint-Etienne is a wonderfully clever interpretation of the opera. The director intends to “x-ray love’s true motives”, transforming this comedy into a bittersweet piece. (…) The actors are directed with precision, efficiency and creativity, a combination that we long to see more often at the opera house. No time is wasted, and events segue into each other seamlessly.
Gérard Ferrand, ODB Opéra
Elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love)
Melodrama giocoso in two acts
Libretto Felice Romani
Music director Antonello Allemandi
Director Richard Brunel
Set designer Marc Lainé
Lighting designer Mathias Roche
Costume designer Claire Risterucci
Dramaturg Catherine Ailloud-Nicolas
Répétiteur Bertrand Halary
Assistant director Matthieu Roy
Chœur de l’Opéra de Lille, directed by Yves Parmentier
Orchestre de Picardie
Produced by Opéra de Lille, Opéra de Rouen, Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Étienne, Opéra-Théâtre de Limoges, Angers-Nantes Opéra.
Théâtre Opéra de Saint-Etienne,
directed by Laurent Campelone
Marco Di Sapia,
Chœurs Lyriques et Orchestre Symphonique de Saint-Étienne
Opéra de Rouen
Directed by Roberto Fores-Veses
Chœurs et Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen Normandie
Opéra de Limoges
Directed by Jerôme Katelbasch
Chœurs et Orchestre de l’Opéra de Limoges
Musical director Thomas Rösner
Edgar Ernesto Ramirez,
Chœur d’Angers Nantes Opéra (Choir master Sandrine Abello),
Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire