Gaetano Donizetti

L’Elisir d’Amore

Pretty Yende debuts a new role at the Met with her first Adina opposite Matthew Polenzani, who enthralled Met audiences as Nemorino in 2013 with his ravishing “Una furtiva lagrima.” Bartlett Sher’s production is charming, with deft comedic timing, but also emotionally revealing. Domingo Hindoyan conducts.

Production a gift of The Monteforte Foundation, in honor of Wim Kooyker

Read Synopsis
  • Sung In
  • Italian
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 2 hrs 39 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I 72 mins
  • Intermission 32 mins
  • Act II 55 mins
  • Opera Ends
Jan 16 - Feb 17 Subscribe Now

Cast

{{::castMember.name | initials}} {{::castMember.name | limitTo:3}}
{{::castMember.imageAltText}}

{{::castMember.role | removeNumbering}}

{{::castMember.name | transposeComma}}

TBA

Performed
Performing
All Dates
{{::dateGroup.month | momentMonth:true}} {{::date | momentFormat:'D'}}{{$last ? '' : ','}}

World premiere: Teatro Cannobiana, Milan, 1832. Met premiere: January 23, 1904. L’Elisir d’Amore has been among the most consistently popular operatic comedies for almost two centuries. The story deftly combines comic archetypes with a degree of genuine character development rare in works of this type. Its ending is as much a foregone conclusion as it would be in a romantic comedy film today—the joy is in the journey, and Donizetti created one of his most instantly appealing scores for this ride.

Creators

Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848) composed about 75 operas in a career abbreviated by mental illness and premature death. Most of his works disappeared from the public eye after his death, but critical and popular opinion of his huge opus has grown considerably over the past 50 years. Felice Romani (1788–1865) was the official librettist of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and worked with Donizetti on several other operas.

Production Bartlett Sher

Set Designer Michael Yeargan

Costume Designer Catherine Zuber

Lighting Designed by Jennifer Tipton

Gaetano Donizetti

Composer

Gaetano Donizetti

Setting

The opera is set in a small village in rural Italy. Some early editions indicate a location in Basque country. The important fact is that it’s a place where everyone knows everyone and where traveling salesmen provide a major form of public entertainment. The Met’s production sets the action in 1836, when the Risorgimento, the movement for Italian independence, was beginning to gather momentum.

Music

What separates L’Elisir d’Amore from dozens of charming comedies composed around the same time is not only the superiority of its hit numbers, but the overall consistency of its music. It represents the best of the bel canto tradition that reigned in Italian opera in the early 19th century—from funny patter songs to rich ensembles to wrenching melody in the solos, most notably the tenor’s showstopping aria “Una furtiva lagrima” in Act II. Its variations between major and minor keys in the climaxes are one of opera’s savviest depictions of a character’s dawning consciousness.

Met History

One of the most popular comic operas in the repertoire, L’Elisir d’Amore combines a lighthearted story with beautiful melodies and four great leading roles. Among the star tenors to appear as Nemorino, and to perform that most rewarding of arias, “Una furtiva lagrima,” are Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Carlo Bergonzi, and, more recently, Luciano Pavarotti (pictured) and Matthew Polenzani.