Gaetano Donizetti
L'elisir d'amore

opera in two acts

Friday | 9 September 2022|19:00

Age 12+

Дирижер – Юрий Караваев


Libretto by Felice Romani after Eugène Scribe’s Le philtre

Musical director: Aleh Lessoun

Director: Anna Motornaya

Set designer: Andrei Merenkov

Costume designer: Lyubov Sidelnikova

Chorus master: People’s Artist of Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Nina Lomanovich

Choreography: Sergey Mikel

Lighting designer: Evgenii Lisitsyn

Conductor: Yuri Karavaev


Sung in Italian with Russian surtitles  

Premiere: 11 and 12 July 2022


Адина – Елена Золова
Неморино – Александр Михнюк
Джанетта – Клавдия Потемкина
Белькоре – Денис Янцевич 
Дулькамара – Андрей Селютин
Нотариус – Янош Нелепа 

The action takes place where the most unusual love stories usually happen – in Italy! Let it be like this: a little place where ordinary Italians live and rich signors take recreation. Let it be the hottest day, the most romantic story and the most beautiful opera!

And everything will start like in a fairy tale…


Act I

Scene 1

Once upon a time Nemorino, a poor fisherman hopelessly in love with a rich girl, Adina, decides to catch the most beautiful sea fish to present it to his beloved. He has never succeeded in this craft before. But this time fortune has smiled on him and, as it has turned out, not only on him. At sea Nemorino meets a strange man in an unusual boat. The wretch is terribly hungry (he has not eaten for seven days!), and following his request for help, the kind Nemorino gives him his trophy and returns to the fishing village with nothing.

This morning is not different from other mornings. Vacationers of a rich boarding house have gone out for a walk as usual: ladies in tea dresses are slowly strolling along the pier, millionaires are reading newspapers lazily, golden youth are having fun playing tennis, girls in bathing suits are relaxing and swimming, children are carelessly frolicking on the beach. The comfort and good mood of the guests are under close control of highly professional manager Giannetta and her well-trained team.

The life of an Italian village, located near the boarding house, is full of day-to-day activities: fishermen are delivering fresh seafood, flower girls, gardeners and farmers are trying to sell flowers, fruit and fish to the boarding house.

Young Adina, a pleasant girl in all respects, but with attitude, who knows her own worth and regularly rewards her suitors with barbs and jeers, has received a sizeable inheritance from her parents. She has been watching the handsome Nemorino for a long time, but her desire to win surpasses the desire to love.

Nemorino hears Adina reading to everyone an old legend of Tristan and Isolde and a wonderful elixir which made Isolde fall in love instantly after drinking it. The story fascinates everyone, but only Nemorino begins to dream about this magical drink.


Scene 2

Suddenly, a submarine appears in the bay. A landing party under the command of Sergeant Belcore disembarks. The smug braggart’s behavior causes laughter among the vacationers. Adina and the girls decide to play a trick on the uninvited guests. Belcore notices the hostess of the boarding house and is not going to think for a long time: let Adina immediately set the wedding day! However, she does not like the self-confidence of the sergeant. She rejects his advances, but invites the soldiers and their commander to the boarding house for lunch.

Nemorino desperately tries to tell Adina about his feeling, but to no avail: she tells him about her principles, mocks the young man's feelings and assures him that true love is not for her and advises Nemorino to forget her and find another one. Nemorino is almost ready to confess his love, but his ardent declaration is cooled by a glass of water from the obstinate Adina.


Scene 3

Surprises continue: a ship flies into the bay, accompanied by an outlandish tugboat. Who is it? Where from? An unusual company comes ashore: it is an exemplary Italian family ... of charlatans. The father of the family, Dulcamara, is a professor of medicine, a connoisseur of human morals, a “great machinator”, an “ideological fighter for banknotes”, who knows “four hundred relatively honest ways of taking (stealing) money”, his faithful wife with a dog, two acrobat brothers, “Siamese twin sisters” and a homunculus. A carefully designed presentation and sale of “miraculous balms for all diseases and ailments” is in full swing.

Nemorino is looking for a love potion and is ready to give all his savings for it. He decides to try his luck and hopefully speaks to the doctor. Undeterred, Dulcamara hands the love-struck man a bottle of ordinary Bordeaux wine, warning that the “miraculous elixir” will work only in a day (by this time the cheat hopes to be far from these places).

Nemorino's impatience is so great that he drinks the “elixir of love” immediately and gets drunk, being not used to spirits. Adina is surprised by Nemorino's unusual behavior. He has cheered up – he is joking, laughing, doing amazing things, and barely casts a glance at her! He declares that by morning he will be completely cured of love, which makes Adina furious… The beach may turn into a ring for a duel.


Scene 4

The appearance of the sergeant suggests Adina how to repay Nemorino – she promises Belcore her hand. Nemorino just laughs: tomorrow everything will change! Suddenly, the sergeant receives an order to take the field. Adina agrees to celebrate the wedding today. Nemorino is discouraged. The unhappy young man realizes that he may lose his beloved forever and begs her to postpone the wedding at least until tomorrow, relying on the miraculous elixir. Everyone is perplexed: can the simpleton Nemorino surpass the imposing sergeant? The general agitation leaves Nemorino with an unenviable fate: a weathervane of affect is spinning stronger and faster; a vortex of emotions is swirling in euphoria –  no one hears the young man's pleas for help.


Act II

Scene 1

The party on the beach in honour of the betrothal of Adina and Belcore is furnished by Dulcamara’s family according to the best traditions of the Venetian carnival. The scoundrel always knows how to make money, and this time he's on the crest of a wave again! The guests are entertained by a promenade, a dance show, a tasting of dishes and a barcarolle. All this brings a noisy success and a large reward at the expense of the house.

Nemorino does not hope for anything, but the meeting with Dulcamara returns his faith in happiness. He begs Dulcamara to give him an extra portion of the "elixir of love" so that the potion will work immediately, but Dulcamara refuses to give the "elixir" without money. Nemorino is desperate!

The appearance of frustrated Belcore on the terrace (Adina has refused to sign the marriage contract) opens up new horizons for Nemorino. If he signs a contract to serve as a recruit, he will be given the coveted money – twenty escudos. The cunning Belcore decides not only to get rid of the rival in this way, but also to mock the young man desperately in love.

So Nemorino is recruited. He's a soldier now. He clutches precious coins in his hand and rushes in search of Dulcamara.


Scene 2

A telegram from the town for Nemorino, which gets into the hands of Giannetta, instantly turns the beach into a secret women's meeting; the intriguing message reads: “Nemorino’s uncle died in the town, leaving the young man all his fortune,” which means that from now on all the women of the coast are willing to be Nemorino's bride.

And only Nemorino, inebriated, filled to the brim with the “elixir of love” and the happiness of waiting for a meeting with his beloved, is completely unaware of what has happened. All the women, girls, and even Giannetta, who has always been dissatisfied with the presence of the young man and considered him an incorrigible loser? show inexplicably close attention to Nemorino. He is being courted, seduced, persuaded, and fought for. Dulcamara, who is going for a swim in the night sea, falls into this whirlpool of advances and is perplexed and astonished: has the contents of the Bordeaux bottle really turned out to be magical? Unaware of recent events, too, Adina is disconcerted by what is happening; she is not just surprised by the behavior of the women and Nemorino's self-confidence, she finds herself thinking that jealousy is causing a feeling of love in her.

Dulcamara is trying to earn money in his traditional way: seeing Adina's state of mind, he tells her that Nemorino has joined the army for money needed to get the magic elixir of love and win some unapproachable beauty, and therefore he has now become irresistible to all women. The resourceful charlatan offers saddened Adina a miraculous elixir, but the girl suddenly realizes what kind of love she has lost, and not only refuses the magic potion, but also declares that she knows the recipe for happiness no worse than doctors and wizards do; from now on Nemorino will belong to her! Dulcamara feels defeated for the first time.

The intoxication has passed, while the belief in love has intensified. Nemorino recalls a sad tear (aria "Una furtiva lagrima") that flashed in Adina's eyes when they last met. His love is boundless, and he is even ready to die in the war, just to get her love for a moment.

Adina is looking for Nemorino. She knows nothing about the inheritance and wealth of the young man, her desire to love can no longer be broken, so she redeems the recruitment receipt from Belcore and wants to give Nemorino freedom. She is embarrassed and, having given the note, says goodbye, because pride does not allow her to confess her love first.

Nemorino is shocked: so the elixir is a lie? He tears up the receipt: if so, then he prefers death on the battlefield. Adina cannot restrain her feelings and impulsively confesses her love to him. The lovers are happy. The joyful news spreads all over the coast.

Sergeant Belcore overcomes the blow and instantly changes the object of attention. Giannetta is elated: her goal has been achieved, now she has every chance to raise a general.

And the outstanding machinator and "ideological fighter for banknotes" Dulcamara, who knew "four hundred relatively honest ways", now knows the four hundred and first "way of taking (stealing) money" and a foolproof method of personal enrichment! Everyone rushes to buy up the "miraculous" goods.

Long live love, the sea and Opera!