The Elixir of Love

GAETANO DONIZETTI

This charming comedy is a celebration of innocence, so what setting could be better than a small Italian-American community in the Napa Valley, circa 1915? Tenor Ramón Vargas superbly embodies the role of the lovesick Nemorino, who according to the San Francisco Chronicle "gave a ravishing performance." Soprano Inva Mula "[was] full of fire and temperament" as the beautiful Adina.

"Who couldn't go for a bright ray of sunshine right about now?"
San Francisco Chronicle

More raves from the San Francisco Chronicle:

"It's saucy, it's sweet, it's a stream of laughs and lovely melody...you just can't ask for more."

"Beautifully sung and staged with a deft balance between romantic tenderness and physical comedy, this is an entertainment perfectly designed to chase away any lingering shadows."

Cast

  • Adina: Inva Mula
  • Nemorino: Ramón Vargas
  • Belcore: Giorgio Caoduro
  • Dulcamara: Alessandro Corbelli
  • Giannetta: Ji Young Yang

Production

  • Conductor: Bruno Campanella
  • Director: James Robinson
  • Set Designer: Allen Moyer
  • Costume Designer: Martin Pakledinaz
  • Lighting Designer: Paul Palazzo

Synopsis


ACT I

Giannetta and a group of peasants are finishing their morning harvesting before resting for lunch under the shade of a group of trees. Nemorino watches Adina timidly from a distance, sad about being too poor to offer her anything but his love and thus too shy to approach her. Adina reads the story of Tristan and Isolde and how Tristan won Isolde's affection with a love potion. The swaggering Sergeant Belcore arrives with a regiment of soldiers. He flirts with the girls and then declares his passion for Adina, asking her to marry him. She is flattered by his handsome bearing and the declaration of his love, but refuses the offer. The peasants return to work, and Nemorino finds the courage to declare his love for Adina. She laughs at him, telling him she is too capricious to settle down. The scene shifts to the square of the neighboring village. Dr. Dulcamara arrives with a supply of patent medicine for sale. Nemorino asks him if he knows of the magic elixir of love with which Tristan won Isolde. Dulcamara replies that it was he who created it. The quack sells his elixir, which is actually a bottle of Bordeaux wine, to Nemorino as a love potion. The effect of the alcohol is immediate. Certain that he will win Adina's love, Nemorino begins to treat her indifferently. To get even, Adina begins to flirt with Belcore and finally agrees to marry him. When orders arrive calling for Belcore to report to duty at once, it is decided that he will wed Adina that very evening.

ACT II

Distracted that Nemorino has not attended the party preceding her marriage, Adina puts off signing the marriage contract. All depart leaving Dulcamara alone. Soon, Nemorino enters and asks the doctor's help. He says Nemorino must double the amount of potion and gives him another bottle of wine. In order to gain the money to pay for the elixir, Nemorino joins Belcore's regiment and receives an enlistment bonus. The scene shifts back to the village square. Nemorino reels in, tipsy from the new bottle of wine. The village girls, having just learned that a rich uncle of Nemorino's has died and made him wealthy, crowd around him. Unaware of his new wealth, Nemorino thinks that at last Dulcamara's potion is working. Adina sees Nemorino with the girls and becomes jealous. She is now determined to win him for herself. Nemorino returns, sad at the thought of leaving his village and Adina for the army. Adina joins him and tells him that she has bought back his enlistment papers so that they can be married. All join in praising Dulcamara and his magic elixir.


Production photos: Terrence McCarthy
 

Performances

  • Wed, 10/29/08, 7:30pm
  • Sat, 11/1/08, 8pm
  • Wed, 11/5/08, 7:30pm
  • Sun, 11/9/08, 2pm
  • Fri, 11/14/08, 8pm
  • Tues, 11/18/08, 8pm
  • Sun, 11/23/08, 2pm
  • Wed, 11/26/08, 7:30pm