Elixir of Love: L’elisir d’amore
Introducing “L’elisir d’amore”, the latest featured opera from American composer and intonalist William Copper. The re-imagined and completely rewritten opera, based on the same libretto as Donizetti’s original, takes you on a musical journey that explores the heart-wrenching tale of love, longing, and the magic of resilience. As an opera composer, Copper’s unique approach to composition shines through, with every note and rhythm meticulously placed, bringing a breath of fresh air to this timeless narrative. This new bel canto opera seamlessly blends beautiful melodic lines with rhythmic excitement, offering a unique auditory and dramatic experience. Journey with the characters as they navigate through love’s trials and tribulations, brought to life through Copper’s innovative composition.
Act 1 of the opera centers around a lovesick ‘little nobody’, Nemorino, who is desperate to win the affection of Adina, a beautiful and talented landowner. Unfortunately, Adina gains the attention of the self-important and attractively uniformed Sergeant Belcore. Nemorino becomes convinced that only a magic potion can help him win the lady’s love. After one last rebuff, he uses his last coin to buy just such an elixir from the traveling salesman Dr. Dulcamara.
Alas, the potion is nothing but wine, leaving Nemorino drunk but also emboldened. He feigns indifference when he encounters Adina, which leaves her wondering if she might have affection for him after all. However, in order to teach her would-be lover a lesson, Adina pretends to accept a marriage proposal from Sergeant Belcore before his regiment leaves the next day.
Act 2 returns with Adina and Belcore’s wedding in full swing, but Adina absconds at the last minute without signing the marriage contract. Unaware of this, Nemorino remains convinced he will lose his love forever if he cannot afford more elixir. However, Doctor Dulcamara refuses to sell him any unless he can produce more money.
To solve this problem, Sergeant Belcore suggests Nemorino join the army and offers to pay him handsomely for signing up. Though Belcore sees this as a way to dispatch his rival, Nemorino knows that the money will afford him more potion and give him another chance to win Adina’s heart. Little do the characters know that Nemorino has just inherited a huge sum from a wealthy uncle. What follows is a charming, energetic series of events that have delighted audiences for nearly 200 years.
Dive deeper into the new composition and take a look at the online perusal scores, or spend some time with the acts and scenes of L’elisir d’amore.
Highlights of the New Music
from the Act II duet: Una tenera occhiatina – (“A Held Little Eye-glance”)
DULCAMARA ..hai lambico e hai fornello caldo più d’un Mongibello per filtrar l’amor che vuoi, per bruciare e incenerir. (.. you have a furnace and a forge hotter than a Mount Etna, to filter love as you wish, to blaze and burn.)
ADINA Una tenera occhiatina, un soriso, una carezza, vincer può chi più si ostina, ammollir chi più ci sprezza. (A held little eye-touch, a smile, a caress, can vanquish one most obstinate, soften one most scornful.) Ne ho veduti tanti e tanti presi cotti, spasimanti, che nemmanco Nemorino, non potrar da me fuggir. (I have seen it often and often, for those caught and cooked on love, not excluding Nemorino, not able from me to flee.)
from the Act II aria: Una furtiva lagrima – (“A Secret Tear”)
NEMORINO Quelle festose giovani invidiar sembrò. Che più cercando io vo’? M’ama, lo vedo. (Those jolly girls she envied it seemed. What more searching would I want? She loves me, I see it. )
from the Act I trio: La rabbia che mi fa! – (“The Rage it Causes Me!”)
BELCORE Se non va via di qua! (If you don’t get out of here!)
NEMORINO Ha, ha! Doman se ne avvedrà! (Ha, ha! Tomorrow you will see it!)
ADINA La rabbia che mi fa! (The rage it makes me!)
from the Act II chorus: Cantiamo, facciam brindisi! – (“Let’s Sing, Make Toasts!”)
CORO Cantiamo, cantiamo facciam brindisi a sposi così amabili. (Let’s sing, let’s sing and make toasts to the couple so loveable.)
from the Act II Aria: Nel dolce incanto – (“In the Sweet Enchantment”)
ADINA al petto stringimi, sgombra il timore. Immensa l’estasi del mio piacer. (to your chest press me, clear away the fears. Immense the ecstasy of my peace.)
What is the “potion?” Indeed, what causes a person to fall in love? One of the splendors of the libretto is just how many possibilities Felice Romani, librettist, has illustrated. For one heavy with years, perhaps the answer lies in “l’amabile vista del banchetto” (“The adorable view of a banquet”). For another, the answer is found in “Non v’ha bella che resista alla vista d’un cimiero” (“You’ll not have a beauty who resists the vista of a uniform”). William Copper’s use of Intonalism allows each possibility to be expressed with its own unique new music, giving 21st century opera a new element.
Is love nothing more than physical attraction? Like the Paris of mythology, Sergeant Belcore is most attractive and most confident. Or is love more about power and position, as when Senator Tredenti (Senator Three-tooth) charms the gondolieress? Maybe money is the key to love, as told through “Nemorino è milionario” (“Now Nemorino is a millionaire”).
Perhaps love is contrariety, as depicted via “Chi mi disprezza m’è forza amar” (Act II, Scene 7, “Who misprizes me, I’m forced to love”). Or maybe it is all about wiles, as detailed by “Una tenera occhiatina, un soriso, una carezza” (“A held little eye-glance, a smile, a caress”)?
Last of all, perhaps love is distilled in a bottle, and – as Dr. Dulcamara says – available for purchase providing you have the coin. Everyone gets something different from L’elisir d’amore, which is why it remains one of the most popular operas in the world after all these years.
A Few More Highlights from L’elisir d’amore
Please click the button (below) for an extensive selection of complete scenes and numbers in order.
from the Act I quartet: Più tempo invano non perdere – (“More Time in Vain Do Not Waste”)
ADINA Vedete di quest’uomini, vedete un po’ la boria. Già cantano vittoria innanzi di pugnar. Non è, non è sì facile Adina a conquistar! (Look at these men, look at the swagger. Already singing victory in advance of the fighting. It is not so easy to conquer Adina.)
from the Act I duet: Chiedi all’aura lusinghiera – (“Ask the Alluring Breeze”)
NEMORINO: Si, si. Te sola io vedo, io sento giorno e notte in ogni oggetto. (Yes, yes. You alone I see, I hear, day and night and in every object.)
ADINA No, no. All’amor mio rinunziar, fuggir da me. (No, no. Love of me renounce, fly from me.)
from the Act II duet: Prendi, per me sei libero. (“Take It, by Me You are Free.”)
ADINA Qui dove tutti t’amano, saggio amoroso, onesto, sempre scontento e mesto; no non sarai così. (Here where all love you, wise, amorous, honest, always discontented and sad; no, you don’t have to be so.)
NEMORINO Or, or, sì spiega. (Now, now, she explains herself.)
Opera in 2 Acts
Duration: Approximately 2 hours 15 minutes
Orchestra: A small orchestra of about 28 players or a reduced orchestra based on a string quartet plus a flexible set of additional single players. The Piano/Vocal score is available for rehearsal.
- Nemorino: Tenor
- Adina: Soprano
- Belcore: Baritone
- Dulcamara: Baritone
- Giannetta: Mezzo
- Chorus: SATB