April

26

Toledo Opera Closes Season with Donizetti's The Love Potion

Posted Apr 26th, 2010 by Scott Baker  Category: Arts & Entertainment, Toledo.com

 

Toledo Opera presents one of the most popular operas of all time: The Love Potion (L’elisir d’amore), on May 1, 7 and 9 at the Valentine Theatre. This sparkling folktale is the story of Nemorino, a bashful and naive farm laborer who is madly in love with the boss’s lovely daughter, Adina. His efforts to win her affection are thwarted by the strapping Sergeant Belcore, who all but kicks sand in Nemorino’s face as he sweeps Adina off her feet. What’s a poor farm boy to do? Enter “Doctor” Dulcamara, a slimy “snake oil” salesman. From his roadside stand the brilliant charlatan hawks a variety of medicines, potions, and elixirs guaranteed to cure any imaginable ailment. Nemorino timidly approaches and asks if there is anything for “affairs of the heart,” to which Dulcamara offers a bottle of cheap red wine disguised as the “Elixir of Love.”

In The Love Potion, the great Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti displayed his flair for tuneful melodies and for molding his music into humorous characterizations. The beautiful lyrical aria “Una furtiva lagrima” has long been a favorite of many famous tenors, including the great Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.

The “Elixir” was written in only six weeks. Even at a time when composers were expected to turn out new operas at break-neck speed, Donizetti’s workaholic hyper-productivity astonished his contemporaries (and aroused their jealousy!). A well-known caricature of the composer in the early 1840s shows a manic figure writing two different operas simultaneously, one with each hand. The lightning-flash speed of “Elixir’s” composition might be less impressive were it just another formulaic opera, but after having written more than thirty operas Donizetti delivered a masterpiece full of stunning freshness and originality. In this comic work of genius he clearly draws on all the skills he has learned about musical characterization and dramatically effective pacing. The Love Potion debuted on May 12, 1832 in Milan and was a huge triumph. It was last presented by Toledo Opera in 1984.

All performances are preceded by informal pre-opera chats designed to make the opera experience more enjoyable. Single ticket prices for The Love Potion begin at $30. and may be purchased online at toledoopera.org or by phone at 419-255-SING (7464). Discounts are available for students, seniors, and groups of ten or more.

Performances are on Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 pm and Friday, May 7 at 7:30pm, with a matinee on Sunday, May 9 at 2pm.

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