Everyone in the village loves the spry Adina and the slow-but-likeable Nemorino—but when will they admit their love for each other? Soprano Aleksandra Kurzak and tenor Vittorio Grigolo bring their magnetism to the two lead roles, with the renowned Alessandro Corbelli as the loveable con man who sells the “magic elixir” of love. Enrique Mazzola conducts Bartlett Sher’s vibrant production.
Setting: The opera is set in a small village in rural Italy. Some early editions indicate a location in Basque country. The important fact is that it’s a place where everyone knows everyone and where traveling salesmen provide a major form of public entertainment. The Met’s production sets the action in 1836, when the Risorgimento, the movement for Italian independence, was beginning to gather momentum.
Music: What separates L’Elisir d’Amore from dozens of charming comedies composed around the same time is not only the superiority of its hit numbers, but the overall consistency of its music. It represents the best of the bel canto tradition that reigned in Italian opera in the early 19th century—from funny patter songs to rich ensembles to wrenching melody in the solos, most notably the tenor’s showstopping aria “Una furtiva lagrima” in Act II. Its variations between major and minor keys in the climaxes are one of opera’s savviest depictions of a character’s dawning consciousness.
Runtime: 2 hours 23 minutes