Virginia Opera Brings Donizetti’s ‘The Elixir of Love’ to Center for the Arts

Posted: November 24, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Virginia Opera invites audiences to toast the holidays and fall head-over-heels for Gaetano Donizetti’s intoxicating romantic comedy, “The Elixir of Love.” The production comes to Mason’s Center for the Arts on Friday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m.

A discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin 45 minutes prior to each performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

Last staged by the Virginia Opera in 1998, “The Elixir of Love” is the classic love potion story with a comic twist.

In the Italian countryside, the young farmer Nemorino drinks a “magical” elixir in the hope it will help him win the love of Adina, the prettiest girl in town. Little does he know that the potion, sold to him by a quack doctor, is little more than ordinary red wine.

Soprano Jane Redding makes a delightful return to Virginia Opera’s stage as Adina.

Making their company debuts are tenor Joshua Kohl as the love-struck farmer Nemorino and baritone Stephen Hartley as the debonair Sergeant Belcore. The cast of five is topped off by returning bass-baritone Todd Robinson as the traveling cure-all salesman, Dr. Dulcamara, and soprano Allison Pohl as Gianetta.

Returning with a re-envisioned staging of “The Elixir of Love” is acclaimed Broadway stage director and choreographer Dorothy Danner.

Virginia Opera Associate Conductor and Associate Artistic Director Joseph Walsh will conduct all performances.

“I am very much looking forward to helping offer a taste of Italy to Virginia,” says Walsh. “Of Donizetti’s 65 operas, ‘Elixir’ broke new musical ground as the first comic opera to enmesh itself with moments of poignant tenderness and heartfelt melancholy, drawing the genre away from its buffo historic origins and moving it toward serious opera. It is a classic opera with show-stopping patter songs alongside gorgeously sumptuous melodies and ensembles, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the Italian countryside.”

The Virginia Symphony provides the orchestra for the production, which will be sung in Italian with Digitext Supertitles projected above the stage. Estimated running time is two hours and 17 minutes, including one intermission.

PNC and the PNC Foundation are sponsors of the 2008-09 Great Performances at Mason season.

Tickets are $86, $72 and $44 (Friday) and $98, $80 and $48 (Saturday). Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit tickets.com.

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