The Elixir of Love, Opera by G. Donizetti
This is a comic opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti, with an Italian libretto by Felice Romani based on the libretto Le philtre (1831) by Eugène Scribe for the opera by Daniel-François-Esprit Auber.
With the original Italian title of L'elisir d'amore, it was premiered on 12 May 1832 in Milan’s Teatro della Canobbiana. Afterwards, Donizetti wrote two slightly modified versions.
The Elixir of Love is one of Donizetti’s best-loved and most widely performed operas, which juxtaposes much humour with touches of drama. It represents a development in the evolution of opera buffa, as the comic characters also show strong emotions.
Of particular note is the leading role of Nemorino, whose world-renown aria One Furtive Tear has been performed by the greatest tenors, such as Enrico Caruso, Mario Lanza, Alfredo Kraus, Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and Juan Diego Flórez, among others. It is a delicate role, requiring a singer who knows how to express the balance between comedy and drama and who is able to touch the hearts of the audience.
The Elixir of Love – composed in only 13 days, as Donizetti himself claimed – achieved great success from the start which it still enjoys today, being widely performed in opera houses all over the world.
The action takes place in a small Italian village at the beginning of the 19th century. It narrates the romantic misadventures of Nemorino – a young, simple and shy peasant, who is in love with the rich and capricious Adina and who buys an ‘elixir of love’ in an attempt to win her affections.