Melodramma in two acts - 1832

Composer Gaetano Donizetti · Felice Romani after Eugène Scribe
Italian with English and German surtitles

Saturday, 11. December 2021
06:00 pm – 08:45 pm

from the age of 8 years up

Duration est. 2 hours 45 minutes · 1. Akt (est. 06:00 pm - 07:15 pm ) · Interval (est. 07:15 pm - 07:50 pm ) · 2. Akt (est. 07:50 pm - 08:45 pm )

Family Performance · Children's Introductory Event: 05:15 PM

Open ticket sales

Prices K , € 132 / 115 / 95 / 74 / 52 / 30 / 14 / 10

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Premiere at 22. November 2009


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Dates & Tickets

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Evelino Pidò
David Bösch
Set Design
Patrick Bannwart
Costume Design
Falko Herold
Michael Bauer
Rainer Karlitschek
Stellario Fagone

Emily Pogorelc
Bogdan Volkov
Andrè Schuen
Erwin Schrott
Jessica Niles
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper

Cast for all dates

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Variety is a scarce commodity in the glum little village depicted by Gaetano Donizetti and his librettist Felice Romani – the only prospects beyond the stifling confines of this backwater seem to be the illusion of a hero’s life as a soldier, even if it might lead to an untimely death.

But what wonders a little bottle of Bordeaux can work! Shrinking violet Nemorino really turns up the volume courting Adina after just a couple of sips of the love elixir he purchased from miracle doctor, Dulcamara. And the potion promptly takes effect. Nemorino turns into a daredevil, preferring to die in battle rather than see his beloved Adina fall into the hands of strapping Sergeant Belcore. The ambitious Adina cannot resist the charms of the bold Nemorino – and even Dulcamara is flabbergasted at the energy and transformation released by his deception: this woebegone world of dolorous yearning is suddenly filled with color and fantasy.

And the listeners are left with the hope that this music might be able to transform them, too.


Act One

Nemorino is in love with Adina but has nobody in whom he can confide, least of all the woman he adores. He is full of admiration for her: she seems to him to be so clever and, above all, so very beautiful. He laments about himself, however, for being stupid and without means. For her part, Adina is interested in what she has just been reading, the story of Tristan and Isolde. She has also taken a fancy to Belcore, one of a detachment of soldiers stationed in the area. Belcore loses no time in proposing marriage to Adina the first time they meet – he urges her rapid acceptance – the wedding tomorrow and back to the battlefield the day after.
Nemorino is now forced to act: he begs for a word with Adina and tells her how desperately he loves her. But Adina rejects him, saying that his feelings are in vain and he should rather look after his sick old uncle.

A glimmer of hope now appears on the horizon for Nemorino, however,  in the person of Dulcamara, who claims to be able to cure all the ailments in the world with his potions. Nemorino asks Dulcamara about the magic potion, an elixir of love, which he has heard Adina reading about in the story of Tristan and Isolde. Dulcamara, who never misses a chance to do business, sells the delighted Nemorino a love potion and promises him that the object of his passion will be his within twenty-four hours. Nemorino has hardly swallowed the elixir – which is a pure Bordeaux – before his self-esteem begins to grow. Nemorino  no longer seems worried  at the thought of Adina’s imminent wedding. This change in Nemorino, his seeming indifference, merely makes Adina defiant. She decides to marry Belcore that same day. Nemorino is horrified as he sees time working against him.

Act Two

As part of the wedding celebrations Dulcamara wants to entertain the guests by singing a barcarolle with Adina; the story tells of how a young gondoliera, Nina, rejects a senator’s wealth in order to marry instead the poor young man, Zanetto, whom she loves.

Nemorino – now under pressure – asks Dulcamara for another dose of the elixir, but Dulcamara will not sell him one for less than 20 scudi and Nemorino no longer has enough money. Belcore, who sees in this a good opportunity to get rid of his rival, offers Nemorino 20 scudi if he will enlist in his regiment. Nemorino signs up with no hesitation.

When the rumour spreads that Nemorino’s uncle has died, leaving him a fortune, he suddenly becomes a good catch as a husband. Nemorino, who still has not heard the news, puts the amazing behaviour of the village girls down to the fact that the potion he has just bought and drunk is working. Adina, who also has no idea that Nemorino has become so wealthy, is astonished to see how popular he is with the girls – and learns from Dulcamara the supposed reason for Nemorino’s behaviour: the elixir. He also offers her a love potion but she declines with thanks – saying she prefers to rely on her own powers of judgement. Out of pity for Nemorino she buys him out of his contract with the military. Nemorino, however, would rather die on the battlefield than live without Adina. Adina finally admits her feelings for Nemorino and breaks her engagement to Belcore, who has no alternative than to follow orders and go off to war. Nemorino is overjoyed and puts his unexpected success with Adina down to Dulcamara’s potion – and the latter is also completely amazed by the miracles which his elixir has brought about.

Premiere of Gaetano Donizetti's "L'elisir d'amore" on December 1, 2009 in the Nationaltheater.

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David Bösch, geboren in Lübbecke, studierte Regie an der Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. 2005 wurde er Hausregisseur am Schauspiel Essen, von 2010 bis 2012 war er in derselben Funktion am Schauspielhaus Bochum tätig. Zudem inszenierte er u. a. am Thalia Theater Hamburg, am Theater Basel, am Schauspielhaus Zürich, am Münchner Residenztheater, am Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London (Il trovatore), an der Oper Frankfurt (Orlando furioso, Die Königskinder, Der fliegende Holländer), an der Semperoper Dresden (Die tote Stadt, Nabucco), an der Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor), an der Opéra de Lyon (Simon Boccanegra, Die Gezeichneten) und an der Nationale Opera Amsterdam (Le nozze di Figaro). An der Bayerischen Staatsoper inszenierte er L’elisir d’amore, Mitridate, rè di Ponto, Das schlaue Füchslein, L’Orfeo, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg und Die verkaufte Braut. (Stand: 2020)

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