A potion that can make someone young forever, a remedy to get rid of bed bugs and a magic concoction that can make a person irresistible. These are just some of the many capabilities of the elixirs created by Dr. Dulcamara in the upcoming Musical Arts Center production, “The Elixir of Love.”
“The Elixir of Love” will show at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 and 23 and March 1 and 2 at the Musical Arts Center. Student tickets start at $10 and adults at $16. The opera is double-cast, with each cast performing two nights.
The opera follows Nemorino, a simple peasant who is trying to win the affection of wealthy landowner Adina. Nemorino appears to lose his love when Adina falls for a military man whom she promises to marry.
Convinced he will never be able to get over his crush, Nemorino purchases an elixir from Dr. Dulcamara, a traveling doctor, that will supposedly make him irresistible. However, Dr. Dulcamara’s potions are a total hoax, which makes Nemorino appear even more foolish.
The scenes that follow are full of back and forth between Nemorino, Adina and her military fiancé, as the two men fight for Adina’s heart.
Linda Brovsky, the director of the production, said the opera was composer Gaetano Donizetti’s love letter.
“It’s like a wonderful souffle, it’s light, it’s funny, it’s heartfelt,” Brovsky said. “I think you really start identifying with the characters in a way that you might not if they’re kings and queens. These are just simple people going through life.”
Despite the opera originally premiering in 1832, Brovsky said she still finds much of the plot relatable today.
“There’s the town that’s so willing to trust their lives to a quack, which is not so different from today where we buy vitamins that are going to make us younger or creams that are going to get rid of wrinkles,” Brovsky said. “We’re doing it still, so it reflects all of that,” Brovsky said.
Alyssa Dessoye, one of the actresses playing Adina, said the relatable characters combined with the high energy cast will make this opera special.
“We do have two different casts, but really everyone is just so tight knit and I think that’s really special and really something that you don’t often see,” Dessoye said. “Everyone just has really good chemistry because of that so I think that’s something that makes the show really special and drives it forward.”
Brovsky said every role on stage has been developed to its fullest, especially the chorus.
“To watch how they’ve taken those two lines and created whole worlds, and because they invested so much, it gave me more creative ideas,” Brovsky said. “We have all of these side stories going on that you normally don’t see.”
In addition to the cast, opera conductor David Neely said the sparkling, contrasting music provides comedic aspects.
“This music is like if you take the absolute freshest ingredients and put them together, like Master Chef puts them together, in just the right way,” Neely said.
Dessoye said everyone in the cast, crew and orchestra have put their heart and soul into this production, and that it is evident when watching the opera.
“It’s something that takes you out of your everyday life and teaches you a couple lessons here and there along the way, but also it brightens your day,” Dessoye said.
CORRECTION: A previous photo caption attached to this story misspelled the name of the opera, and the ticket price was listed as $15 when it was actually $16. The IDS regrets these errors.
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The IU Auditorium, the Jacobs School of Music and MidWay Music Speaks were all awarded funds.
Performances will take place on Zoom.
The concert airs at 9:30 p.m. on July 25.