THE ELIXIR OF LOVE
by Gaetano Donizetti • April 21, 24, 27 & 29, 2018
We will conclude our 2017-18 season with Donizetti’s L’elisir d’Amore - The Elixir Of Love, a comedy about a traveling medicine show huckster who claims to possess a love potion.
People have pinned their romantic hopes on magic love potions for thousands of years. Why, the very name ‘aphrodisiac’ comes from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. And whether it’s Love Potion Number 9 or the Funky Cold Medina, people have been singing about love potions for a long time too.
The story concerns a “little nobody” named Nemorino. Nemorino is smitten with the beautiful and wealthy Adina, who appears to be completely out of his league. His prospects are further diminished when the handsome and dashing Sergeant Belcore arrives. But when Doctor Dulcamara rolls into town and sells Nemorino a bottle of his dubious Elixir of Love, things get very interesting.
Not seen here since 2007, The Elixir of Love is full of charming romance and light-hearted fun.
Paolo Pecchioli: Dr. Dulcamara
*Shannon Jennings: Giannetta
The Artistic Team
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni
Production owned by Opera North
Scene 1. Nemorino, whose name accurately describes him as a “little nobody,” is smitten with the wealthy Adina, but can’t inspire love in her heart. Nemorino sees Adina reading a book in the village square and wonders how a fool like him could possibly win her love. Everyone begs Adina to tell the story, so she reads the tale of Tristan, who bought a love potion from a magician in order to win the hard-hearted Isolde. If only they knew how to get the recipe! A drum roll signals the arrival of a platoon of soldiers headed by handsome Sergeant Belcore. Arrogantly likening himself to Paris wooing a goddess, Belcore immediately proposes to Adina, much to Nemorino’s dismay. But when Adina says she needs time to think it over, Nemorino seizes the moment and declares his undying love for her once again. Irritated, Adina declares that she is capricious and fickle—he should look for love elsewhere.
Scene 2. Dr. Dulcamara, a fast-talking quack, arrives and sings the praises of his amazing elixir, guaranteed to cure all diseases—and even chase away mice and bugs! Nemorino, who falls for the con like everybody else, asks if Dulcamara carries Isolde’s love potion. Dulcamara gives Nemorino a bottle of Bordeaux, warning him that it will only take effect after twenty-four hours (giving Dulcamara time to get away) and that he must keep it a secret. Nemorino drinks enough to get tipsy, so when Adina comes by he is so full of confidence that he pretends to ignore her. Aggravated to find her swain so impervious to her charms, she promises to marry Belcore in six days. Nemorino isn’t worried because the elixir will be in effect the next day. But Belcore receives orders to leave the village in the morning, so Adina agrees to marry him immediately. Now that Nemorino is really desperate, Adina enjoys his torment. She invites everyone to the marriage feast, and they all mock the dunce who thought he could defeat the dashing Belcore.
Scene 1. While they’re waiting for the notary to arrive at the wedding, Dr. Dulcamara entertains everyone with a comic song. Adina, however, hesitates to continue because Nemorino isn’t there—she wants to complete her revenge. After the company goes off for the wedding toast, Nemorino sneaks in and begs Dulcamara for help. Always obliging, he prescribes another dose, but Nemorino is broke. Belcore finds Nemorino alone and talks him into signing up—what a victory to enlist your own rival! Nemorino accepts, hoping the elixir will work before he leaves with the soldiers.
Scene 2. Rumor has it that Nemorino’s uncle has died, leaving him as heir to a fortune. All the girls flirt with Nemorino, who doesn’t know about the inheritance and thinks the potion is finally working. Adina is astonished at his popularity and realizes that she is jealous. When Dulcamara brags that it was his elixir that worked the miracle, Adina also learns that Nemorino has sold his freedom for her. She realizes that she is in love with him, and Nemorino is delighted to see her shed a tear on his behalf. Adina takes action, buying back the enlistment papers from Belcore and admitting to Nemorino that she loves him. When Dulcamara tells everyone about Nemorino’s inheritance, Dulcamara claims the credit—his elixir is so powerful, it can make rich men out of poor ones! As he leaves town in triumph, everyone wishes him well, except Belcore.
~Taken from Pittsburgh Opera's 2007 The Elixir of Love Study-Guide
We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!
- Run time: 2 hours 30 minutes, with one intermission
- Understand Every Word: The Elixir of Love is sung in Italian, but has English supertitles projected above the stage at all performances
- Parking Downtown: get real-time parking availability
- Pre-Opera Talks before each performance
- Audio Description available at The Benedum Center
- Braille Programs available at The Benedum Center
- Large-Print Programs available at The Benedum Center
Listen to Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn give a brief synopsis of The Elixir of Love featuring excerpts from the following audio clips from the Metropolitan Opera's 1990 production as featured on this Deutsche Grammophon recording with James Levine conducting MET Orchestra:
- Overature - MET Orchestra
- "Quanto è bella, quanto è cara" - sung by Luciano Pavarotti playing the role of Nemorino
- "Come paride vezzoso" - sung by Leo Nucci playing the role of Belcore
- "Udite, udite, o rustici" - sung by Enzo Dara playing the role of Doctor Dulcamara
- "Una furtiva lagrima" - sung by Nemorino (Luciano Pavarotti)
- "Prendi, per me sei libero” - sung by Kathleen Battle playing the role of Adina
- "Ei corregge ogni difetto" - sung by the cast
Click play below or download these excerpts for an offline treat!
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has implemented new security and bag policies, effective starting October 1, 2016, at the Benedum Center and their other venues.