The Elixir of Love: Show Preview


Artistic Director Dale Johnson chooses repertoire, performers, conductors, directors, designers, and leads all aspects of artistic planning.


The Elixir of Love is not only one of the most popular and beloved operas in the repertoire, it is one of Gaetano Donizetti’s best works. According to, it ranks number 13 on the list of the most performed operas between 2008 and 2013. There are multiple reasons to explain its popularity. The story itself is warm, sentimental, and features characters that you recognize and love immediately. As you watch Nemorino (a simple peasant) and Adina (a wealthy landlord), you get the sense that they are perfect for each other despite their differences. Nemorino experiences something we can all relate to — admiring another person from afar and wishing that a magic potion would make the object of our affection fall deeply in love with us. We might know the distress and hopelessness that comes from another person distracting our love interest. In The Elixir of Love, it’s the arrogant and handsome soldier Belcore, who gets in the way of our two ideal lovers, Nemorino and Adina.

Donizetti’s score features one beautiful moment after another. Perhaps the most famous excerpt is Nemorino’s aria “Una furtiva lagrima,” which has been sung by all the best tenors in the world, including Pavarotti and Domingo. Adina’s aria, “Prendi per me,” is an excellent example of Donizetti’s mature bel canto style with its gorgeous melody followed by a virtuosic cabaletta in which our heroine finally admits her true love for Nemorino.

This is Minnesota Opera’s first production of The Elixir of Love since 1986. This new staging will be set in the early 20th century and will feature elegant costumes and a beautiful set depicting a working Italian farm (pensione) which is owned and operated by Adina. In this incarnation we have two of the world’s foremost bel canto specialists on stage: tenor Leonardo Capalbo and soprano Nicole Cabell. Joining Cabell and Capalbo, all making their company debuts, is David Pershall, as Belcore. Minnesota Opera veteran Andrew Wilkowske stars as the “doctor” Dulcamara. We welcome back Maestro Leonardo Vordoni as our conductor and one of the country’s foremost coaches in the art of bel canto. Helena Binder returns as our stage director who has brought many chuckles to such operas as The Italian Girl in Algiers. In their expert hands, I am sure you will enjoy the light- hearted and lovely L’elisir d’amore — a precursor to what we refer to as “romcoms” today, works that balance both comedic and romantic storylines.