Classic "bel canto" (good singing) is what some would call IU Opera Theater's first production of the 2000-2001 season. Although Gaetano Donizetti, the composer of "The Elixir of Love," is most known for his dramatic works "Don Pasquale" and "Lucia Di Lammermoor," his lighter fare is also highly popular and contains some of his most beloved music.\n"'Elixir' is very much a valentine. It's an opera that, unless you are in a mood to not be charmed, has got to charm you," said professor of music Vince Liotta, stage director for "Elixir." "It's about young love. It's about nothing too weighty -- nobody's being cruel to anybody, nobody's dying, and especially after the heaviness of last year, I think a little icing on the wedding cake is fine sometimes."\nThe opera centers around a peasant, Nemorino, who has a true simple love for a woman named Adina. Adina, who does not recognize Nemorino's love, instead turns to Belcore, a swashbuckling soldier. \nNemorino, in despair, goes to Dr. Dulcamara, who has a special potion -- an elixir of love that will make anyone who drinks it fall in love with the first person he or she sees. Nemorino buys the elixir for use on Adina -- but Dr. Dulcamara thinks he is foolish for buying merely wine.\nNemorino goes to the bar to use the elixir on Adina and what ensues is a comical love story that anyone can appreciate. \nThe production this year will be sung in the original language of Italian.\n"Singing an entire role in the language that the opera was originally written in is an absolute in a singer's education," said graduate student Weston Hurt, who will play Belcore in one of the two casts. "Not only does the original language help with the vocal line, but it gives the young singer an opportunity to grow as an artist."\nIt is also a brand new production. Professor Robert O'Hearn built the new sets. Using light color tones and designed in the style of a Tuscan village, the period set was designed to be multi-faceted for the show's different locales as well as beautiful to look at.\nO'Hearn, who designed "The Elixir of Love" for the Metropolitan Opera House, said the costumes from the show will be those he created for the MET.\nBecause this season is made up of many well-known operas, the student performers find it important to come and watch from the very beginning in order to keep interest piqued.\n"I think that (opera) lasts because it is an art form that is always evolving through work and love of the directors, designers, technicians, musicians and the audience," said graduate student Anita Rollo, who will play Adina. "As students here, we have such a great opportunity to expose ourselves to something so worthwhile." \n"The Elixir of Love" will play at 8 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and Sept. 29, 30 at the Musical Arts Center. Tickets are available at the Musical Arts Center box office, and range from $10-$28. For more information, call (812) 855-7433.