Gaetano Donizetti

L’elisir d’amore

L’elisir d’amore

Comic opera in two acts

Music Director: Eri Klas

Conductor: Dmitry Volosnikov

Stage Director: Yuri Alexandrov

Scenography and costumes: Vyacheslav Okunev

Set and Costume Designer: Vyacheslav Okunev, Konstantin Nikitin

Choirmaster: Yulia Senyukova

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes with one intermission

Premiered on 10 March 2007

Recommended for 16+

Performed in Italian with Russian surtitles

L’elisir d’amore, an Italian comic opera, was written by Gaetano Donizetti in just two weeks. Premiered in Milan in 1832, it was immediately a tremendous success. Its amusing and witty plot describing relationships of a loving couple and beautiful, melodious and light music make L’elisir d’amore one of the most frequently performed 19th-century Italian operas.

The libretto of the opera, written after the French playwright Eugene Scribe’s comedy, is based on the legend about the magic love potion, taken from Gottfried von Strassburg’s courtly romance Tristan. The unexpected, mock interpretation of the medieval legend gives it a new meaning: people are capable of filling each other with the elixir of love and kindness without any magic potion.

The feelings experienced by the opera’s characters — love, coquetry, rivalry, jealousy — are everlasting as life. So, the story of L’elisir d’amore could be set at a Venetian carnival several centuries ago, just as well as in a present-day town.


The number of events per unit of time in this production makes you but take off your hat to the director, who is inventive and industrious, and to each of the singers, both the soloists and members of the huge chorus. Tirelessly singing, each of them plays their elaborate plastic role with complete devotion. Aleksandrov’s colleague, equally experienced designer Vyacheslav Okunev has created an enormous number of costumes and impressive sets, the mechanism of which immediately transfers us from a chemically luxurious carnival to a picturesque poor yard, which looks like either one in Fellini’s Amarcord or one dating back to the Soviet time with the proper attributes, such as a wheeled barrel with the inscription Beer on it and a boulevard bench with the three-letter-word.

13 March 2007

Here the comprehensible Russian language gets along with Italian quite nicely, and the culmination of this non-operatic real life truth is naughty witty ditties which are sung to the music of the classical bel canto composer.

12 March 2007

For the semantic culmination the director chose one of the most beautiful opera moments, Romance of Nemorino, which was lyrically and sincerely performed by Mikhail Gubsky. Only, Donizetti’s brilliant music came from… a man wearing a Russian winter quilted jacket and a fur flap hat. In the background carnival characters circled as shadows of something inaccessible and beautiful (as if it were from another opera). As the action was moving towards the denouement, when Adina sorted out her feelings and Belcore showed his generosity and let her buy out the contract of Nemorino, the stage was gradually filled with “masks”, and in the final chorus glitter and splendor overwhelmed squalor and primitiveness.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta,
14 March 2007


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