"Noi in questo Elisir abbiamo voluto ritornare ad es- sere Peter Pan, perché la freschezza della musica magnifica di Donizetti unita alla leggerezza di cui parla Calvino nelle sue Lezioni americane"
In this Elisir we wanted to go back to being Peter Pan, because the freshness of the magnificent music of Donizetti, paired with the lightness that Italo Calvino described in his book Lezioni americane.
The opera, which is currently running at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, takes place in a performing arts school in America, where each student dreams of fame and glory. Adina is the most popular girl in school, Nemorino the loser, Belcore is the school bully who has a thing for cheerleaders, and Dulcamara is That Guy who graduated years ago, but keeps coming back to high school to relive his glory years. This is where the elixir of love rules, making every moment seem perfect. Where you can find a love that brings you to paradise, or that ultimately destroys you.
Here is a video of the original production, performed in Bologna, Italy in 2010:
L’elisir d’amore GAETANO DONIZETTI Melodramma giocoso in due atti di Felice Romani Musica di Gaetano Donizetti Edizione: Edwin Kalmus & Co., Inc., Boca Raton, Florida
Nuova produzione Allestimento del Teatro Comunale di Bologna Direttore di Programmazione e Produzione Marco Zane Direttore Allestimento scenico Tiziano Santi Con sopratitoli a cura di Prescott Studio, Firenze
Nemorino Giorgio Berrugi - Alessandro Scotto di Luzio (16, 19, 21)
Belcore Mario Cassi - Julian Kim (16, 19, 21)
Il Dottor Dulcamara Marco Camastra Giulio Mastrototaro (16, 19, 21)
Giannetta Elena Borin
Direttore Giuseppe La Malfa
Regia Rosetta Cucchi
Scene Tiziano Santi
Costumi Claudia Pernigotti
Luci Daniele Naldi
Video proiezioni Roberto Recchia
Assistente regista Stefania Panighini
Maestro al pianoforte Andrea Severi
TEATRO COMUNALE di Firenze
Venerdì 15 novembre 2013, ore 20.30
Sabato 16 novembre, ore 20.30
Domenica 17 novembre, ore 15.30
Martedì 19 novembre, ore 20.30
Mercoledì 20 novembre, ore 20.30
Giovedì 21 novembre, ore 20.30
Act I. The entrance to Adina’s farm. The harvesters are resting in front of the farm- house after working in the fields, while the rich and capricious Adina is sitting apart reading the story of Tristan and Isolde. Nemorino, a shy peasant, who is very poor, is watching her, consumed with love for her. At the request of everyone pres- ent, the young girl reads with incredulity the strange story of Tristan who suc- ceeded in obtaining Isolde’s love through a magic potion which everyone then dreams of possessing. A platoon of soldiers arrives headed by the conceited Ser- geant Belcore who gives Adina a bunch of flowers and proposes to her, certain that she reciprocates, but the girl shows that her suitor does not interest her par- ticularly. Nemorino plucks up courage to propose to Adina but she rejects him saying she is too fickle to tie herself to one man and advises him to look for an- other girl.
The village square. A trumpet call can be heard and Doctor Dulcamara arrives in an showy carriage, arousing general curiosity; he is, in fact, only a charlatan who goes round from town to town selling bottles of his “elixir” which is supposed to cure every kind of malady. The naive Nemorino immediately asks him for the magic potion of Queen Isolde thinking that in this way he will awake the love of Adina. Taking advantage of his naiveté Dulcamara sells him a bottle of wine, assuring him that he will feel the incredible effect after only a day, time enough for him to put some distance between himself and the village. Nemorino happily drinks the wine and sure of the magic power of the“elixir”he appears happy and indifferent before Adina; the girl is surprised and irritated by the changed attitude of the young man and to revenge herself for his indifference she decides to accept the courtship of Belcore and marry him that very evening as the sergeant and his men have to leave the following morning. Nemorino is desperate and begs Adina to put off the wedding until the following day when, according to the doctor’s prom- ise, the elixir is bound to take effect, but the girl again rejects him and the young man smarts under Belcore’s ridicule: the marriage will take place and the whole village will be invited to the celebrations.
Act II. Inside Adina’s farmhouse. Everyone is already singing and drinking happily while busy preparations for the imminent wedding are being made; Dulcamara also takes part in the celebrations and suggests that he and the bride should sing a lively song together. Belcore announces the arrival of the notary and the bride and bridegroom leave to sign the register followed by the rejoicing crowd. Dul- camara is left alone at the wedding table reflecting on the pleasure of such fes- tivities when he is joined by Nemorino who asks him what he must do to win the heart of the girl. The doctor advises him to drink another bottle of his elixir and the young man, who has no more money, has to hurry off and look for some if he wants a second dose of the magic potion. While Nemorino is wondering how to find sufficient money, he is joined by Belcore who says he is amazed by the ex- traordinary behaviour of women; Adina loves him but wants to postpone the wedding until evening. The sergeant sees his rival is desperate and advises him to enrol in the army; military life will bring him joy, glory, fleeting love affairs and twenty scudi prize money. The young man accepts in order to receive the money to procure the filter and although he is worried about his decision hurries to join Dulcamara who awaits him at the Partridge Inn.
Rustic courtyard open at the back. News has reached the village that Nemorino has become rich after suddenly inheriting a large sum of money. Everyone is talking about it but the young man has not yet been notified. A peasant girl, Giannetta, was the first to hear the news and is telling everyone about it but she implores them not to mention it. Nemorino arrives, and after drinking another bottle of elixir his hopes are raised once more. Everyone looks at him with different eyes now he has be- come a good match for the village girls, but he believes that this unusual interest is due to the effect of the magic potion. Meanwhile Adina and Dulcamara arrive on the scene and are surprised to see the young man courted by all the girls. Nemorino happily thanks the mystified doctor. Adina, on the other hand, con- vinced she would find her suitor in tears, is jealous and in this way she discovers that she is in love. She has also found out that he has enrolled in the army and would like to speak to him but Giannetta and the other peasant girls drag the young man off to the ball. Adina and Dulcamara are left alone and Adina discovers that the reason for this change is the elixir and that Nemorino has only signed up for money in order to buy the potion. The girl is now desperate; she loves Nemorino but he does not seem to notice her any longer. The doctor offers her the filter but the young girl is certain that her charm will be enough to win back the lost lover. Nemorino sees a “furtive tear” fall from the eyes of Adina and realises that he is loved but he decides to continue to pretend to be indifferent until the girl reveals her true feelings. She, in the meantime, has bought back the youth’s contract of en- rolment and gives it to him without any further comment. The young man is dis- appointed and refuses to accept it; if Adina doesn’t love him he prefers to go off and be a soldier. Only at this point does the girl confess her love and the two are at last happy. Belcore, followed by his garrison, joins the two lovers; he realises he has been defeated by his rival but consoles himself by thinking that, after all, the world is full of women. The real winner of the whole story is, however, Dulcamara, who gives himself the credit for the happy ending and leaves the village to the accla- mations of the crowd, having proved yet again the virtues of his elixir of love.
All photos in the following gallery are credited to Gianluca Moggi, New Press Photo Firenze, and can also be viewed at this link.