Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Fun and romance at the opera this Sunday

Published:Friday | July 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Anna Netrebko (left) as the beautiful and wealthy Adina and Ambrogio Maestri as the crafty medicine man, Dulcamara.

Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore (The Elixir of Love) should delight opera fans this Sunday, starting 11:30 a.m. at Palace Cineplex, as the Met Summer Encore 2016 series continues in select cinemas around the world.

Renowned soprano Anna Netrebko as the beautiful and wealthy Adina leads the cast in Barlett Sher's production of Donizetti's charming comedy, first seen on opening night of the Met's 2012-13 season. Tenor Matthew Polenzani is Nemorino, the poor but good-hearted country boy who wins her love with the help of the magic 'elixir' sold by the quack Dulcamara, craftily played by Ambrogio Maestri. Mariusz Kwiecien is the swaggering Sergeant Belcore and Maurizio Benini conducts.

Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the 19th century. His two act comic opera, said to be written over six weeks, was the most performed opera in Italy between 1838 and 1848 and has maintained its popularity and longevity in the international opera repertory.




L'Elisir d'Amore features three big duets between the tenor and soprano, as the would-be lovers move through the complicated emotions of longing, defiance and eventually joy. The opera is also said to have an autobiographical element, as Donizetti's military service was bought by a wealthy woman. As a result, he was exempt from serving in the Austrian army, unlike his brother Giuseppe, who was also a notable composer,

Act 1 is set in Italy, 1836. While peasants rest from work Nemorino, a young villager, watches the beautiful farm owner Adina read a book.

He loves her, but wonders if she is now beyond his reach.

The peasants ask Adina what her book is about and she tells them the story of how Tristan won the heart of Isolde by drinking a magic love potion.

A drum roll announces the arrival of Sergeant Belcore and his men. He promptly introduces himself to Adina and asks her to marry him. Adina declares that she is in no hurry to make up her mind, but promises to think over the offer. Left alone with Nemorino, Adina tells him that his time would be better spent in town, looking after his sick uncle, than hoping to win her love. Or he should do as she does change her affections every single day. Nemorino reminds her that one can never forget one's first love.

Dulcamara, a travelling purveyor of patent medicines, arrives in the village, advertising a potion capable of curing anything. When the doctor has finished his routine, Nemorino shyly asks if he sells the elixir of love described in Adina's book. Dulcamara claims he does and pulls out a bottle of Bordeaux. Though it costs him his last ducat, Nemorino buys and immediately drinks it. Dulcamara explains that he has to wait until the next day for results (by which time Dulcamara will be gone).

When Adina appears, Nemorino begins to feel the effect of the 'potion'. Certain he will be irresistible to her the next day, he feigns cheerful indifference. To punish him, Adina flirts with Belcore. The order arrives for the sergeant to return immediately to his garrison and Adina agrees to marry him at once. Shocked, Nemorino begs her to wait one more day, but she ignores him and invites the entire village to her wedding. Nemorino desperately calls for the doctor's help.

The Met Summer Encore 2016 series continues at Palace Cineplex only with La Boheme (July 24) and Cosi Fan Tutte (Sunday, August 21). Tickets are on sale at the box office and via the web at www.palaceamusement.com, with a Palace Card or any major credit card.