The Elixir of Love

Gaetano Donizetti

  • World premiere
  • Teatro Cannobiana din Milano, 2 mai 1832
  • Romanian Opera Craiova Premiere
  • 26 februarie 2015
  • Time Length
  • aprox. 2h, 40’ – o pauză
  • Extra info
  • Spectacol în limba italiană cu supratitrare în limba română

Opera in two acts composed by Gaetano Donizetti.

Libretto by Felice Romani.

The action takes place in an Italian village of the 19th century.


The peasants working the field are resting (Bel conforto al mietitore). Nemorino (a suggestive name: Small Nobody) retired to admire the beauty of Adina and cry over his hopeless love (Quanto è bella, quanto è cara). Adina reads a fragment of the legend of Tristan and Isolde to the peasants (Della crudele Isotta). The scene is interrupted by the arrival of a group of soldiers, headed by sergeant Belcore (Beautiful Heart), who suddenly begins to court Adina (Come Paride vezzoso). After the withdrawal of the soldiers, who had caused agitation, Nemorino speaks to Adina, who has remained alone, but she rejects him again (Chiedi all’aura lusinghiera).

The peasants gather to wonder at a renowned foreigner who arrives in a strange car. Doctor Dulcamara (Sweet-and-bitter) comes on the stage (Udite! Udite!), fascinating everyone with his miraculous potions. Hearing the doctor, Nemorino asks him to provide him with the elixir of Queen Isolde of the story (Voglio dire, lo stupendo). Dulcamara swiftly solves the issue and sells a bottle of Bordeaux wine to Nemorino, as the elixir. He assures him that the potion will take effect by the following day.

Nemorino becomes more confident, being certain that within one day Adina’s heart will belong to him (Esulti pur la Barbara!). His behaviour irritates Adina, who accepts Belcore’s proposal and establishes the wedding within six days. Nemorino laughs, since he is sure that Adina will love him by that time. In the meanwhile, Belcore is ordered to pursue his travel on the following day. Desperate, Nemorino begs Adina not to marry (Adina, credimi), and then asks for the help of the doctor who had already gone, making a fool of himself in front of the entire village.


The party is on, everyone sings, dances and toasts to the young couple (Cantiamo, facciam brindisi). Dulcamara sings a gay barcarolle with the bride (Io son ricco e tu sei bella). However, Adina’s heart is not fully satisfied, since Nemorino is not present and, thus, she cannot take full revenge.

After the guests leave, Dulcamara eats up the remains of the feast. The sad Nemorino appears, who sees that all his hope is vanished and thinks that the last chance is to buy more of the elixir. Dulcamara encourages him, telling him that he should buy more potion if he needs a quicker effect (and in the meanwhile he would be far away). Finding out that Nemorino has no money, he leaves, telling him to search for him when he can pay him. Nemorino is hopeless and sees no way out.

Belcore appears, who is confused because Adina wants to postpone the wedding with such short notice. (La donna è un animale). He sees Nemorino and asks why is he miserable. He finds out that he needs money and does not know how to get it. Belcore provides a solution: enlist for the army. Nemorino is ready for this sacrifice (Venti scundi…, Ai perigli della guerra).

Gianetta mysteriously appears among the women and shares a secret: Nemorino’s uncle has died, leaving a fabulous fortune to his nephew. Suddenly, Nemorino becomes the idol of all women (Saria possibile). In the meanwhile, Nemorino himself appears, after having consumed a significant amount of “elixir” (Dell’elisir mirabile). He cannot explain the women’s behaviour, but then he attributes it all to the elixir’s effect.

Adina also appears, and sees Nemorino going away, surrounded by women. Dulcamara takes advantage of the situation to tell everyone that Nemorino’s unexpected success is due to his beverage and tells Adina of all the things Nemorino would have done to get the elixir and conquer the heart of his beloved. Adina understands that Nemorino actually loved her (Quanto amore). Dulcamara offers the miraculous potion to the girl as well, but she recovers her self-confidence: she has a better solution than Dulcamara’s beverage…

Nemorino comes back by himself. As he was going away, he had seen the tears in Adina’s eyes and he is convinced that the girl loves him as well (Una furtive lagrima). Adina purchases his military contract back and brings it to him, asking him not to leave his homeland (Prendi, per me sei libero). However, she does not declare her love. Enraged, Nemorino rejects her. Then the girl finally says the words the lad so much wanted to hear.

Belcore reappears and, as he sees the happy couple, he has to admit his defeat (Alto! Fronte!). The world has enough women for him as well. In the meanwhile, Dulcamara gets ready to go, not before selling the entire stock of elixir to the peasants (Ei corregge ogni difetto). Adina and Nemorino are the living proof of its power. The lovers and all the villagers – except Belcore – thankfully bid farewell to the doctor.


*Text by András Ádám Kürthy