THE ELIXIR OF LOVE
ABOUT THE ELIXIR OF LOVE
Austin Lyric Opera rounds out its season with Donizetti’s delightful The Elixir of Love. Mischievous charlatans, misguided affections and “magic” potions intoxicate and entice in this classic story of a simple peasant who has fallen in love with the town beauty.
Featuring non-stop twists and turns, Donizetti’s masterpiece is a beguiling combination of romance and comedy. Another first for ALO, The Elixir of Love remains a wildly popular and enchanting opera.
Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Felice Romani
Sung in Italian with English translation projected above stage
LISTEN to the famous tenor aria, “Una furtiva Lagrima”, from The Elixir of Love
Photos courtesy of Des Moines Metro Opera 2008 by Duane Tinkey and Courtesy Loyola University New Orleans
ABOUT THIS PRODUCTION
ALO Conductor Richard Buckley will present The Elixir of Love at the Long Center for the first time. This production is owned by New Orleans Opera with costumes from Utah Opera. An Austin production, cast, chorus and ALO’s own orchestra will be led by stage director Joseph Evans and Maestro Buckley, who will bring the music to life.
The Elixir of Love was chosen with the Austin audience in mind. We know this production will leave you breathless and elated!
Conductor: Richard Buckley
Stage Director: Joseph Evans
Set Design: Constantinos Kritikos
Sets and props are a production of New Orleans Opera
Synopsis courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera
Italy, 1836. While peasants rest from work, Nemorino, a young villager, watches the beautiful farm owner Adina read a book. He loves her but wonders if she is now beyond his reach. The peasants ask Adina what her book is about, and she tells them the story of how Tristan won the heart of Isolde by drinking a magic love potion.
A drum roll announces the arrival of Sergeant Belcore and his men. He promptly introduces himself to Adina and asks her to marry him. Adina declares that she is in no hurry to make up her mind but promises to think over the offer. Left alone with Nemorino, Adina tells him that his time would be better spent in town, looking after his sick uncle, than hoping to win her love.
Or he should do as she does: change her affections every single day. Nemorino reminds her that one can never forget one’s first love.
Dulcamara, a traveling purveyor of patent medicines, arrives in the village, advertising a potion capable of curing anything. When the doctor has finished his routine, Nemorino shyly asks if he sells the elixir of love described in Adina’s book. Dulcamara claims he does and pulls out a bottle of Bordeaux. Though it costs him his last ducat, Nemorino buys it and immediately drinks it; Dulcamara explains that he has to wait until the next day for results (by which time Dulcamara will be gone).
When Adina appears, Nemorino begins to feel the effect of the “potion.” Certain he will be irresistible to her the next day, he feigns cheerful indifference. To punish him, Adina flirts with Belcore. The order arrives for the sergeant to return immediately to his garrison, and Adina agrees to marry him at once. Shocked, Nemorino begs her to wait one more day, but she ignores him and invites the entire village to her wedding. Nemorino desperately calls for the doctor’s help.
At the pre-wedding feast Adina and Dulcamara entertain the guests with a barcarole. Adina wonders why Nemorino is not present. She doesn’t want to sign the marriage contract until he appears.
Meanwhile, Nemorino asks Dulcamara for another bottle of the elixir. Since he doesn’t have any money with him, the doctor agrees to wait at the inn for an hour so Nemorino can borrow the cash from someone. Belcore is bewildered that Adina has postponed the wedding. When Nemorino tells him that he needs money right away, the sergeant persuades him to join the army and receive a volunteer bonus of 20 scudi.
Having bought more of the elixir, Nemorino returns to find himself besieged by a group of girls. Unaware of the news that his uncle has died and left him a fortune, he believes the elixir is finally taking effect. Adina enters, feeling responsible for Nemorino’s enlistment, but when she sees him with the other girls, she reacts jealously. Nemorino and the girls leave, and Dulcamara boasts to Adina about the power of his elixir, offering to sell her some as well. She replies that she will win Nemorino in her own fashion.
Nemorino, having noticed a tear on Adina’s cheek when she saw him with the girls, feels sure that she cares for him. When she returns to tell him that she has bought back his enlistment papers, he again feigns indifference.
Finally, she confesses she loves him. Belcore appears to find the two arm in arm and takes his leave, declaring that thousands of women await him elsewhere. Dulcamara reveals to the crowd the news of Nemorino’s inheritance and brags about how his miraculous potion can make people fall in love and even turn poor peasants into millionaires
Adina – Sara Gartland, soprano
Gartland is a former Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera, where she has appeared in numerous roles. She has recently performed with Utah Opera and Des Moines Opera among others. In 2011, a writer in for San Francisco Classical Voice wrote, “Gartland is a star through and through… she was stunning, both vocally and physically, in Massenet’s ‘Me voilà seule … Dis-moi que je suis bell’ from Thaïs. Beautifully floating some of her softer notes, and setting her highs afire, Gartland was sensational.”
Listen to Gartland in a snippet from a production of Carmen from San Francisco Opera. Elixir marks Gartland’s ALO debut.
Nemorino – Rene Barbera, tenor
Tenor René Barbera, a graduate of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, has swiftly established himself as a young artist on the rise. At Placido Domingo’s Operalia 2011 in Moscow, he was awarded First Prize for Opera, First Prize for Zarzuela, and the Audience Prize. He is the first artist to be the sole recipient of all three awards since the competition began in 1993.
Earlier in the summer of 2011, he triumphed as Tonio in The Daughter of the Regiment for Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Of his performance, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said, “Tenor René Barbera…has a thrilling voice…His account of ‘Ah! mes amis’ the one with the famous nine high Cs was tossed off with such apparent ease that some might wonder what all the fuss is about.” Barbera last played the role of Nemorino for the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2010. Elixir marks Barbera’s ALO debut.
Belcore – Kelly Markgraf, baritone
Possessing a voice that the New York Times calls “heart-stirring” as well as a “charismatic” and “powerful” stage presence, American baritone Kelly Markgraf is rapidly distinguishing himself on the opera and concert stages. Kelly Markgraf is a distinguished graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, a former member of the Resident Artist Program at Minnesota Opera, as well as an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera. The artist’s honors include a First Prize Award from the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition(2010), the Sullivan Foundation’s Sullivan Award (2009), the Grand Prize in the Opera Index Competition (2009), awards from the Giulio Gari Foundation and the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation (2009), a Richard F. Gold Career Grant (2009), an Outstanding Apprentice Award from the Santa Fe Opera, a Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant Nomination, the Civic Music Association Competition Grand Prize, and an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A native of Wisconsin, Mr. Markgraf holds degrees from Boston University, the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music, and The Juilliard School.