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Synopsis

Language:

English

Brightness and swiftness are the signature style of the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848). He wrote over seventy operas - more than twice as many as Giuseppe Verdi, although Verdi's active career lasted longer than Donizetti's entire life. So the "Love Potion" for the Milan Canobbiana theater was ready in just a month and a half (sometimes they even say that in two weeks). On May 12, 1832, the opera, the libretto of which was written by the very prolific playwright Felice Romani (1788-1865), was released and has since become one of the most popular in history: today "Love Potion" is consistently among the top 20 in terms of performance and in the top 10 at home. What is the key to success? Firstly, the name Donizetti is synonymous with the bel canto style, that is, effective, virtuoso, beautiful opera singing. And it doesn't matter whether we are talking about super-serious tragedies, which are in the majority of Donizetti's legacy, or about comedies thanks to which he went down in history - all his operas are written in such a way as to give maximum pleasure to the ear. The score of "Love Potion" leads the listener from mood to mood, revealing the treasures of different voices: here is a gentle soprano telling the story of two lovers, whose happiness was guaranteed by a love potion; here is a romantic tenor dreaming of an inaccessible beauty from afar; here is a confident baritone demonstrating his self-righteousness; here is a charming bass successfully advertising dietary supplements to the population without proven effectiveness ... The authors took the plot of "Love Potion" from the freshly written (1831) French opera by Daniel Aubert and the librettist Eugene Scribe "Love Potion" ("Le philtre"), which was also a hit at home for a long time, although it did not receive international fame. So the second component of success is that the story of a timid young man in love with a self-sufficient girl, a rival fanfaron and a rogue salesman who saves the situation with his love drink at a reasonable price turned out to be very universal. The third factor could hardly have been predicted by the authors. But today, when many aspects of public relations are being revised, the image of the main character Adina looks surprisingly modern - a rare example of a financially and socially independent opera heroine who makes her own choice. The image of Nemorino in love is not inferior to her in relevance - as they would say today, a social phobia, a person somehow integrated into society. The figure of the soldier Belcore, whom Adin almost marries, now more than ever allows one to think about how valuable masculinity and brutality really are. And Dr. Dulcamara is truly immortal, ready to make anyone happy with a panacea for all diseases - just fork out. In Samara, the first production of "Love Potion" appeared in 2001: it was a play by Yuri Alexandrov, it was performed entirely in Russian, and the legendary Russian librettist and playwright Yuri Dimitrin (1934-2020) created the original version of the text for it on the order of the theater. In the new production by Marina Shapkina, the arias sound in Italian, but the dialogues are still understandable by ear. So, meet Dr. Dulcamara, who will stir up the routine swamp of the existence of a modest Italian hotel and in just one day will turn the lives of bored heroes into a vivid circus performance! But if you still need to be on your guard with Herbalife and other dietary supplements, then the love drink really works! You yourself will cease to doubt it when you find out its composition.

Act I

Description: Act One Unlucky, awkward, out of this world - it's not for nothing that the very name of Nemorino begins with “not”. He is unrequitedly in love with Adina, the hostess of the hotel, where he works with the lively Janetta. One day, Adina entertains the guests with a story about how a love elixir helps Tristan win Isolde's love. At this point, Belcore, an officer and conqueror of women, appears. He immediately goes to the attack on Adina, and she looks ready to agree. An explanation occurs between Adina and Nemorino: he does not agree to give up his love for her, but she does not reciprocate. Then, luckily for Nemorino, Doctor Dulcamara, an enterprising charlatan who sells medicines for all diseases, enters the hotel. Nemorino asks him for an elixir, like Tristan and Isolde, and, of course, gets it. Dulcamara assures that the drink will work in a day. But the elixir also has an immediate effect: after drinking it, Nemorino becomes so confident in himself that Adina cannot resist and annoy him. She agrees to marry Belcore the next evening. But then Belcore receives an order for an urgent redeployment. They decide to play the wedding without delay. Nemorino is desperate: when the elixir works, it will be too late!

Act II

Description: Second action Guests and hotel staff are ready to celebrate the wedding of Adina and Belcore. To entertain the guests, Dulcamara and Adina play a vaudeville in front of them about how a wealthy Venetian senator is wooing the gondolier Nina, but she rejects him because she loves the simple young gondolier Zanetto. Nemorino desperately tries to buy another elixir from Dulcamara to speed up Adina's love spell, but there is not enough money. The way out is thanks to Belcore: he convinces Nemorino to enter the army. The recruit's salary is just enough to buy the remaining elixir from Dulcamara. Nemorino signs a contract. While the would-be lover runs for a love drink, it becomes known at the hotel that Nemorino inherited a large fortune from his deceased uncle. And when Nemorino returns, having drunk on the elixir, all the women, led by Janetta, immediately show interest in him. The drink works! Nemorino is happy, the ladies are horny, and Adina becomes jealous. Dulcamara adds fuel to the fire by telling her that Nemorino has enlisted as a soldier to buy a love drink and melt her heart. The main hit of the opera is played - the romance of Nemorino “Una furtiva lagrima” (“Lonely tear by stealth…”): it contains all his tenderness for Adina and faith in her reciprocity. And the simple-minded dreamer is right. Adina bought out his contract with the army. She needs Nemorino. She loves him. The wedding will take place - but now with a different groom! Well, who else is Dr. Dulcamara's miracle drink?