The Elixir of Love

(L'Elisir d'Amore)

By Gaetano Donizetti

18th - 20th May 2006
The National Centre for Early Music

Nemorino, a young village lad, is deeply in love with Adina, the wealthy local farm-owner. The arrival of a troop of soldiers led by Sergeant Belcore brings further dismay to him however, for Belcore’s bold advances are favourably received by Adina. There comes a ray of hope for Nemorino with the appearance of the quack, Dr. Dulcamara who sells him a magic potion guaranteed to make all the girls swarm around him. In fact the “potion” is a rather strong – and cheap – “Bordeaux” and Nemorino is quite unaccustomed to strong drink. His subsequent confidence and self assurance when he next meets Adina are so irritating to her that she agrees to marry Belcore the following evening in order to spite him. Unknown to Nemorino – but clearly understood by the village girls who swarm round him – his wealthy uncle has passed away, leaving his estate to Nemorino. Seeing him as the centre of attention, Adina is no longer able to contain the affection she has long held. As the opera ends, Dulcamara exultantly claims the credit for uniting the happy couple – a magic potion indeed!

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Gianetta (a peasant girl)

Tracy Bowen

Adina (a wealthy farm-keeper)

Julia Ledger

Nemorino (a simple peasant)

Martin Neil Dunn

Belcore (a Sergeant)

Steve Griffiths

Doctor Dulcamara (a perambulating physician)

Clive Goodhead


Musical Director – Alasdair Jamieson

Director – Clive Marshall


Set Design – Irma Gemmell

Costume Design – Maggie Soper



‘Operatic treasures sparkle in comedy’ – The Press, Saturday May 20 2006

If immediacy is the name of the operatic game, York Opera wins hands down. Clive Marshall’s new production of Donizetti’s evergreen comedy proves the company – celebrating its 40th anniversary – is nothing if not adaptable.

Given a mere half day for set-up and dress rehearsal at the National Centre For Early Music, the show seemed to have bedded down remarkably well at Thursday’s first night. Furthermore, the apron stage projecting from one of the former church’s long sides, with the orchestra pressed against the other, throws the audience right into the thick of things, immediacy indeed. Apart from a single bench, there are no props, no even a potted tree. But the ambience of rustic Italy is contrived partly by Irma Gemmell’s impressionistic backdrop, more so by Maggie Soper’s excellent costumes. Six of the villagers form Belcore’s scruffy militia, donning red stocking caps when scrambling to duty. A baker’s dozen players under Alasdair Jamieson, numbering many of York’s finest, give a sterling account of the score. They provide continual pleasure, notably Diana Clough’s flute. Julia Ledger’s attractive soprano is an asset as Adina and Martin Neil Dunn’s fretful Nemorino benefits from his smooth tenor, albeit he tends to start phrases from under the note. Steve Griffiths makes a jovial Belcore with fluent baritone to match, and Clive Goodhead brings vast experience to the opportunistic Dulcamara, quack of all trades. His diction is also exemplary. Tracey Bowen is an engaging Gianetta. A breezy, if sometimes twitchy, chorus clearly knows its stuff, but needs to keep a sharper eye on the beat (not easy at such a distance).

York Opera is truly one of our musical treasure. They deserve your presence tonight.

Martin Dreyer


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