I love most operas, even when the tenors die in the end, but for me there's nothing better than the amusing frolicking wit of Gaetano Donizetti in his charming composition L'Elisir D'Amore. What better setting than an old winery in Italy where the daughter of the proprietor possesses the mind and heart of a simple country boy, Nemorino.
My favorite was the 1981 production with Luciano Pavarotti and Judith Blegen playing the leads. It's a great opera for those just dipping their toes into opera because it's so light-hearted, and it's fun to watch the poor country boy (Pavarotti) believing with all his heart that very soon the beautiful Adina will fall in love with him because of the magical love potion he has bought from Dr. Dulcamara.
Of course, in the end, after the lovesick Nemorino is tortured by his unrequited love, Adina declares her love. Yes, it sounds sappy, but it's so fun that my seven-year-old son loved it and watched it again and again throughout his life (he's 21 now) and still looks for the aria Una Furtiva Lagrima (everyone's favorite in that opera).
I think that had I not discovered this beautiful production, my children (all grown now) would never have come to appreciate how much fun a night at the opera can be.
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I've always loved to read, mostly histories and biographies, but I've read lots of Hemingway and Austen. I like to read biographies of past giants in the publishing world, and, though it's … more
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L'elisir d'amore is one of the most frequently performed of all Donizetti's operas, and there are a number of recordings. It appears as number 20 onOpera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America. It contains the popular aria "Una furtiva lagrima," one of the most famous and often-excerpted arias in all of opera.