20 May – 9 July 2023

L’elisir d’amore

Bursting with energy, L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) catches the heady feelings of first love.

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You can also see L’elisir d’amore at Glyndebourne this autumn.

About the opera

‘Behold, the magical love-potion!’

Sophisticated and wealthy, Adina is the toast of her small Italian town. Country boy Nemorino loves her, but she only has eyes for Belcore, the smooth-talking sergeant who has swept her off her feet. So when a travelling doctor arrives in town Nemorino pins all his hopes on a magical love potion. But nothing in this topsy-turvy comedy is ever quite as it seems…

Light, lyrical and bursting with energy, L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) was the biggest success of Donizetti’s career – a comedy with the softest of hearts and the sweetest of melodies, including Nemorino’s much-loved aria ‘Una furtiva lagrima’. Updating the action to the 1940s, Annabel Arden’s production celebrates the opera’s original joyful, colourful spirit, painting an affectionate picture of an Italy on the brink of political change. Ben Gernon conducts.

A revival of the Tour 2007 production. Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Creative team

Ben Gernon
Bertie Baigent (11 June)

Annabel Arden

Revival Director
Sinéad O’Neill 

Lez Brotherston

Movement Director
Leah Hausman

Revival Movement Director
Jofre Caraben van der Meer 

Lighting Designer
Giuseppe Di Iorio

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Pieter Schoeman

Fortepiano continuo
David Doidge 

The Glyndebourne Chorus
Chorus Director
Aidan Oliver

Cast includes

Nardus Williams 

Matteo Desole

Biagio Pizzuti

Dr Dulcamara
Renato Girolami

Laurène Paternò

Dulcamara’s Assistant
Maxime Nourissat
Andrew Hayler (9 July)

Andrew Hayler
Anthony Kurt Gabel
Luke Murphy

Assistant Conductor
Bertie Baigent

Music Preparation
Pedro Beriso
David Doidge
Nadia Kisseleva

Language Coach
Alessandra Testai

Assistant Director
Rebecca Marine

Richard Dearsley 


Photos: Bill Knight – see more here


Act I


As the harvesters take a midday break, the landowner Adina reads about Tristan and Isolde, while the lovesick peasant Nemorino adores her from afar. Adina mockingly relates how the legendary lovers were enchanted by a magical love potion. A troop of soldiers march in, led by the handsome Sergeant Belcore, who boldly proposes marriage to Adina. After she deflects him, she is left alone with the yearning Nemorino. Adina advises Nemorino to go visit his wealthy uncle, who is ill. She warns him that she is capricious and will never settle down. But Nemorino insists that he will continue to love her faithfully. The quack Dr. Dulcamara arrives, hawking his beauty treatments and miracle cures. Nemorino asks him if he carries Isolde’s love potion, so Dulcamara sells him an “elixir of love” which is actually just a bottle of cheap wine, telling him that it will take effect in one day. Nemorino guzzles the “elixir” and, feeling emboldened, approaches Adina, telling her that she will be his in just 24 hours. Belcore arrives to demand Adina’s answer to his marriage proposal. Just to spite the overconfident Nemorino, Adina agrees to marry Belcore in six days. But when the soldiers suddenly receive an order to leave town the next morning, Adina agrees to marry Belcore that very day. Nemorino pleads with her to wait just one day longer, but to no avail.


Act II

As the wedding celebrations begin, Adina is upset that Nemorino has not turned up. He finally arrives, begging Dulcamara to give him a faster-acting elixir. Dulcamara, planning to leave town within the hour, offers him a second bottle, but Nemorino has no money to pay for it. Belcore arrives, wondering why Adina is delaying their wedding until the evening. He finds Nemorino desperate for money, so offers him 20 scudi, cash on the spot, to join the army. Nemorino agrees, takes the money, and leaves in search of Dulcamara. Meanwhile, the village is buzzing with the news that Nemorino’s rich uncle has died and left him a fortune. Nemorino, who has not yet heard the news, is amazed to find every female in the village fawning over him, which he attributes to the effects of the elixir. Adina, too, is mystified, and Dulcamara boasts of the elixir’s magic. Adina suddenly realizes her feelings for Nemorino and resolves to win him back. She finds him and tells him that, to keep him from leaving the village, she has bought back his army contract. But Nemorino insists that if Adina doesn’t love him, he’d just as soon die a soldier. Finally, Adina admits that she does love him. Belcore enters, and Adina cancels their wedding. But Belcore is unbothered; there are thousands more women for him. As all ends happily, Dulcamara leaves to peddle his elixirs to the wide world.

Supported by Lord and Lady Laidlaw and William Lock
Bring world-class opera to the stage

To find out more about production support for Festival 2023 click here
or contact our Director of Development, Helen McCarthy for an informal chat:
call 01273 815 032 or email helen.mccarthy@glyndebourne.com

Illustration © Katie Ponder

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