Love stories are an eternal theme in opera, particularly if we also find there humour and beautiful music, which is exactly the case for Gaetano Donizetti's famous opera L'elisir d'amore - The Elixir of Love. The opera about young people in love has been prepared by a young team led by conductor Ondrej Olos and director Magdalena Švecová. Following their production of Stravinsky's L'Histoire du soldat for the opening of the Reduta Theatre (2005), it is their first time back in Brno and their first purely operatic production with our ensemble.
As with Rossini's Le comte Ory, this is also features the excellent soloists from the Janáček Opera NTB and their guests. The charming and capricious Adina is played by Andrea Široká and Kateřina Kněžíková, the shy Nemorino is the Spanish tenor José Manuel, who has already shown that he is completely at home in the world of bel canto in the production of Donizetti's Maria di Rohan. Also soliciting Adina is a new member from our ensemble, Ondřej Koplík, and this premiere will also be his first production in his new workplace.
The director Magdalena Švecová's production takes you to the sunny Italian countryside, to a film studio in 1940s where Adina is a film star, admired by all, Nemorino is a shy member of the film crew, Dulcamara is a temperamental actor and director in one, and the whole team is preparing to shoot a light, sentimental comedy. Relationships start to get complicated when Belcore, a famous international actor and breaker of young girls' hearts, arrives on the scene, and the backstage story begins to intertwine with the filming.
Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, which had its premiere in Milan in 1832, does not have an entirely original storyline and was written at the last minute to replace a cancelled premiere by another composer. Donizetti and Romani chose a story which had been used the year before by Auber and Scribe in the opera Le philtre, which also means The Elixir of Love. However, unlike the French original, Donizetti's version has been one of the most popular operas since its premiere to the present day. From the stage you can hear hit after hit, but most important of all is the fact that Donizetti and Romani went beyond the borders of the comic genre and gave their characters deep and real human feelings. The moments when Nemorino discovers that Adina loves him, even her hesitant confession when she returns Nemorino's enlistment to the army to him - these are not just charming melodies but an educated look at people in love. Perhaps Donizetti was helped by his own experiences when he was saved by a rich woman from entering into the Austrian army.