On Friday, at the run through, I had been poleaxed by the visceral nature of the production, the invention of the music, the talent of our principal cast. I shed a small tear when that exceptional artist Diana Montague sang her Act 1 duet with her stage son, Joel Montero; artistry, experience and a beautiful piece combined to simply hang my guts from the ceiling. And then there are the choruses, the deeply anxious music of Act 3, the deaths and the pain. I have decided, quite simply, that gioielli is no longer about whether people "like" it or not (although the music is glorious) but is more about the impact it will have on audiences; you simply will never forget it. It is tempting to go one by one through the cast and praise them but I will resist and say nothing, save for a reassurance that they are committed to their very cores to this production.
If gioielli represents the pinnacle of full-throated angst and turmoil writ large, then L'elisir is the balm we need. From a morning with Wolf-Ferrari's relentless tragedy to an evening of Donizetti's delicious optimism felt like an impossible chasm to leap. Yet the contrast only served to demonstrate the wondrous variety of this art form we love.
It has been a hell of a few days that threw a bit of new light onto why we put ourselves through it. The next week, with three openings, is going to be emotional, nerve-wracking and exciting. By now we are running on fumes, dragging ourselves over the finish line, our families relegated to snatched mornings over breakfast, but we seek our satisfaction vicariously, through our audience, and if their reaction is half as powerful as mine has been to the past few days, the rewards are glittering indeed..