Elisir d’amore, L’ (The Elixir of Love)
  • Gaetano Donizetti. Melodramma in two acts. 1832.
  • Libretto by Felice Romani, after the text by Eugène Scribe for Auber’s Le Philtre (The Love Philtre).
  • First performance at the Teatro Cannobiana, Milan, on 12th May 1832.
Nemorino, a peasant tenor
Adina, a rich landowner soprano
Belcore, a sergeant baritone
Dr Dulcamara, an itinerant quack doctor bass
Dr Dulcamara, an itinerant quack doctor soprano

Nemorino, a simple-minded young man, is in love with Adina, who is impressed by the sergeant Belcore, a man of overwhelming confidence in his own charms. Dulcamara arrives in the village, offering panaceas of his own fraudulent concoction. Nemorino seeks a love potion and this Dulcamara happily provides, in fact in the form of claret. Adina, meanwhile, has agreed to marry Belcore, forcing Nemorino to seek more elixir from Dulcamara, which he can only pay for by enlisting in Belcore’s troop. Rumour reaches the village that Nemorino has inherited a fortune, and he now finds himself immensely popular among the girls, arousing Adina’s jealousy. When Dulcamara tells her that Nemorino has enlisted in order to find a way to her heart, she relents, dismisses Belcore, and agrees to marry Nemorino, after buying him out of the regiment.

One of the best of comic operas, L’elisir d’amore provides Nemorino with his admiring Quanto è bella (How lovely she is) and, best known of all, his Una furtiva lagrima (A furtive tear), when he sees that his enlistment has aroused Adina’s pity. Dulcamara has a winning sales pitch in Udite, o rustici (Hear, country people) and a second-act ‘barcarolle’ with Adina, in the wrong rhythm, Io son ricco, e tu sei bella (I am rich, and you are beautiful). With her earlier Chiedi all’aura lusinghiera (Go and ask the playful wind) Adina at first
rejects Nemorino.