July 15, 2021

Get to know: Donizetti's The Elixir of Love

THE ELIXIR OF LOVE: Truly effervescent

There’s no opera more sparkling than Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love). One of the gems of bel canto comedy, it’s sheer delight from start to finish. Welcoming these characters back to the Lyric stage in the 2021/22 Season will be like greeting a group of lovable friends who light up the room and spread joy everywhere.

Lyric's 2021/22 Season will feature a Fellini-inspired new-to-Chicago production designed by Robert Innes Hopkins.

Lyric’s captivating production places the opera in the 1950s. Sweet Nemorino is now a waiter at a hotel run by the wealthy Adina. Dulcamara, a quack doctor, arrives in town selling the “elixir of love” of Tristan and Isolde. Nemorino buys a bottle, not knowing it’s just Bordeaux wine! He drinks it and becomes tipsy and brash, alienating Adina, who decides to marry Nemorino’s rival, Sergeant Belcore, that very night. But she gets cold feet, leaving Belcore perplexed. To get Nemorino out of the way, Belcore persuades him to enlist in the army, which brings Nemorino some money. He uses it to buy more elixir. The local girls shower him with attention, which saddens Adina, because she actually loves him. She buys back his army commission and presents it to him, finally revealing her true feelings. Belcore declares that there are plenty of other fish in the sea, and Dulcamara sells more elixir before bidding the town farewell.

There’s so much to savor in this opera, from Adina’s adorable retelling of the Tristan/Isolde story to her irresistible duets with Nemorino and his hilarious encounter with Dulcamara. The characters’ arias are justly celebrated — above all, Nemorino’s achingly beautiful and touching “Una furtiva lagrima” (“One furtive tear”), one of the most popular tenor solos ever written.

A world-renowned quartet of principals will enchant Lyric audiences in this opera. All of them have triumphed at Lyric in the past: as Nemorino, the endearing Charles Castronovo (The Magic Flute, Eugene Onegin); as Adina, the alluring soprano Ailyn Pérez (Pagliacci, Faust); as Belcore, the dashing baritone Joshua Hopkins (The Passenger, Romeo and Juliet); and charismatic bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen (six operas, most recently Ariodante and The Barber of Seville, as well as the virtual concert Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis, from Mozart to Stravinksy). Director Daniel Slater’s internationally acclaimed production marks his Lyric debut. On the podium is Music Director Enrique Mazzola, widely recognized as one of the world's foremost interpreters and champions of bel canto opera.

The American soprano Ailyn Pérez, who previously starred in Faust onstage at Lyric during the 2017/18 Season, returns to perform as Adina in The Elixir of Love.

The Elixir of Love — a delicious comedy, with music to dazzle your ear and warm your heart. Secure your seats today by subscribing to the 2021/22 Season!

September 26 – October 8, 2021

The Elixir of Love

The Elixir of Love

No operatic hero is more endearing than Nemorino, who pines for the flirtatious Adina. She’s the owner of the town’s hotel, he’s her delightfully naive waiter. His only hope to win her is the “elixir” sold by the quack, Dr. Dulcamara — little does he know that it’s just Bordeaux wine! From start to finish we root for Nemorino, as Adina toys with him until she finally lets him know how she really feels. Elixir is opera’s most heartwarming comedy, filled with Donizetti’s delectable music that brings nonstop smiles.

Header photo: Pittsburgh Opera/David Bachman

Other Photos: Pittsburgh/David Bachman, Cory Weaver