The Elixir Of Love, 2007


Act I

Donizetti's L'Elisir D'Amore is supposed to be set in a village in the Basque region. We've decided to set it in the Wild West because... well, basically, just for fun - and because it's the spiritual home of Dulcamara, the archetypal 'snake-oil' salesman.

In our version, Adina is the owner of a very respectable saloon, while Nemorino works at the General Store across the road. He has always loved her but flighty, capricious Adina isn't ready to settle down just yet. When handsome sergeant Becore hits town, Adina encourages his advances - but is she just trying to make Nemorino jealous? If so, she certainly succeeds. However, luckily for Nemorino, the same stagecoach has brought 'Doctor' Dulcamara and his range of powerful medicines, potions and elixirs.

Nemorino buys a bottle of elixir which is guaranteed to make all the girls fall in love with him - but not until tomorrow, when Dulcamara will have left town. Nemorino is filled with hope, but swiftly cast down again when Belcore, summoned away by his commanding officers, asks Adina to marry him right away, and she agrees.

Act II

The townsfolk are celebrating the engagement with a party. The preacher arrives to tie the knot, but Adina begs Belcore to wait a few more hours, while Nemorino, getting more and more anxious, pleads with Dulcamara for another bottle of elixir. Unfortunately, he's spent all his money on the first bottle, and Dulcamara doesn't give credit.

Belcore reappears, puzzling over the unpredictable behaviour of women - Adina in particular. When he hears Nemorino's problem he offers the perfect solution - if Nemorino joins the army, he'll receive a $20 fee for joining. After agonising for a few minutes, Nemorino agrees. He rushes off to find Dulcamara, just missing the local Western Union representative who arrives with a cable for him.

The cable is forcibly intercepted by cowgirl Gianetta, who discovers that it contains exciting news: Nemorino's uncle has died and left him a fortune. She shares the news with her friends, who start to find Nemorino extremely attractive.

When Nemorino reappears, slightly the worse for wear after another bottle of elixir, he is amazed to find that it really works - women are now fighting over him! Adina and Dulcamara are also amazed - and Adina is quite upset.

Dulcamara offers Adina some of the elixir to help her win back Nemorino's love, but she has faith in her own powers of attraction. She declares her love to her faithful suitor, and breaks off her engagement to Belcore. Dulcamara takes advantage of the situation to sell more of his elixir which, as Nemorino's new found happiness proves, not only makes you more desirable to the opposite sex, but also brings riches.

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