L’Elisir d’amore

Considered one of the masterpieces of 19th century comic opera, The Elixir of Love is among Donizetti’s three best-known works, which include Lucia di Lammermoor and Don Pasquale. Written in less than a month, Elisir was the most often performed opera in Italy from 1838-1848. Donizetti was so prolific (he wrote seventy-five operas), he has been caricatured with a pen in each hand. Pavarotti displayed his comic gifts in the role of Nemorino, the lovesick peasant bent on winning Adina, a beautiful but snooty landowner. Convinced that the key to Adina’s conquest lies in a love potion touted by the quack doctor Dulcamara, Nemorino buys a bottle, unaware that the potion is merely cheap wine. Adina, who pretends annoyance at Nemorino, when in fact she has feelings for him, amuses herself by accepting a marriage proposal from arrogant Sergeant Belcore. Desolate, Nemorino begs Dulcamara for more elixir, but having no more money he signs a contract for cash to join the army, unaware that he has just inherited a huge fortune from a rich uncle. When Adina, also unaware of Nemorino’s newfound wealth, discovers he has enlisted out of love for her, she buys out his military contract and finally admits her true feelings for him. They seal their love with a kiss.

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