In L’elisir d’amore the focus is on Nemorino, a young man in love. Nemorino is not the usual slick, seductive lover of comedy but an illiterate farm boy who has no idea how to woo a girl. All he can do is love. And yet the clumsy, passionate Nemorino gives L’elisir d’amore the Romantic touch that makes this opera buffa different from any other.
In the first act we discover all the obstacles he must overcome to conquer his beloved Adina’s affections. One is his shyness – we see him watching unseen as she fluently reads the tale of Tristan and Iseult. Another is his rival, Sergeant Belcore, a braggart who is bent on marrying her. And then there’s Adina’s aloofness and Nemorino’s own credulity, which prompts him to enlist the help of Dulcamara, a fairground quack, who cynically sells him a bottle of Bordeaux wine, passing it off as Queen Iseult’s elixir. The wine goes to Nemorino’s head and he is so sure the love potion will work within twenty-four hours that he feigns indifference to Adina. She reacts like the spoilt young lady she is and agrees to marry Belcore that same afternoon. Nemorino, made to look a fool, finally admits failure.
But in the second act the story reaches its happy ending. Nemorino, seeing that the wedding is imminent – he is unaware that Adina is pretending in order to make him jealous –, asks Dulcamara for more elixir and enlists in Belcore’s army unit to get the money to pay for it. But the news that he has inherited a small fortune suddenly sets all the village girls running after him and he lays this down to the effects of the potion. Blinded by flattery and wine, he fails to see that Adina, who is ignorant of his good fortune, has succumbed to jealousy and is moved to find out he has become a soldier to pay for the potion. Then at last he notices a tear glistening in her eyes and realizes that she loves him. And everything is ready for the two lovers to be reunited.
The music too has occasional sentimental overtones. Pleasant and festive, with magnificent ensembles and a delicate but brilliant sense of melody, it suits the genre perfectly. And it is this sense of melody that enables Donizetti, in the romance “Una furtiva lacrima”, to convey Nemorino’s delicate, intimate feelings with such superlative skill as to make him an atypical Romantic lover in the midst of an opera buffa.
by Gaetano Donizetti
SET & COSTUME DESIGNER
Quico Gutiérrez (A.A.I.)
|DOCTOR DULCAMARA||Bruno Praticò|
|MORETTO||José Luis Pérez|
Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona)