Pittsburgh Opera presents The Elixir of Love, a comic love story full of light-hearted fun
Pittsburgh Opera concludes our 2017-18 season with Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore - The Elixir of Love, a fun romantic comedy about a traveling medicine show huckster who claims to possess a love potion.
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. Why is Nemorino suddenly popular with every girl in the village? Will he win Adina's love before it's too late?
Pittsburgh Opera will be performing a sunny 1950s-style production that's new to Pittsburgh, complete with Vespa scooters and a hot air balloon. The Guardian described it as "a Fellini-esque vision of scooters, cappuccino machines and champagne fountains, set on a sun-washed hotel terrace overlooking the sea…”
On stage April 21, 24, 27 & 29, The Elixir of Love is full of charming romance, visual comedy, and light-hearted fun. Adult tickets start at just $12 – with children’s tickets for those ages 18-and-under starting at just $6 - and are available online.
In addition, Pittsburgh Opera’s annual Student Matinee will introduce 2,000+ school children grades 3-12 to this lively, colorful opera on Thursday, April 26 at the Benedum Center. Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artists take lead roles in the Student Matinee, and are accompanied by the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, in yet another opportunity to hone their performance skills.
Donizetti's The Elixir of Love
Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, Downtown Pittsburgh
- Saturday, April 21 - 8:00 PM
- Tuesday, April 24 - 7:00 PM
- Friday, April 27 - 7:30 PM
- Sunday, April 29 - 2:00 PM
2 hours and 38 minutes, including one intermission
Sung in Italian with English texts projected above the stage
- Single tickets start at $12 for all performances.
- Group Discounts available.
- Call 412-456-6666 for more information or visit pittsburghopera.org/tickets.
Tickets and Group Discounts
- Tickets to all performances of The Elixir of Love start at $12
- All performances are at the Benedum Center, 7th Street and Penn Avenue, in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District
- To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666, visit the Theatre Square Box Office, or buy online at opera.culturaldistrict.org/production/51767/list_performances.
- Group discounts are available. For discounted group tickets (6 or more), contact Regina Connolly at 412-281-0912, x 213.
- Please contact Chris Cox for reservations
- Photo Call (4/9, 12:30 PM) – location TBA
- Full Dress Rehearsal (4/19, 7:00 – 10:00 PM), Benedum Center
Fun facts about The Elixir of Love
- The most well-known aria in The Elixir of Love is “Una furtiva lagrima" (A furtive tear), which Nemorino sings when he spies Adina weeping. Luciano Pavarotti is just one of many tenors who helped popularize the song.
- People have pinned their romantic hopes on magic love potions for thousands of years. The term ‘aphrodisiac’ comes from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. Songs about love potions include “Love Potion Number 9”, which was originally performed by the Clovers in 1959, and Tone Lōc’s 1989 platinum hit “Funky Cold Medina.” “Love Potion #9” was also a 1992 rom-com movie starring Sandra Bullock.
- The Elixir of Love was Donizetti’s 36th opera. He reportedly wrote the entire score in less than a month.
The story, in brief
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 Belcore and Adina are 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.
- PNC is the 2017-18 Pittsburgh Opera Season Sponsor
- WQED-FM is Pittsburgh Opera’s Media Sponsor
- Tuesday performance sponsor: Ambridge Regional Distribution and Manufacturing Center