The amorous farce is one of the oldest forms of drama. Despite it's endless settings and from restoration comedy to Britten's Albert Herring, whatever age or class or mismatch sets it in motion certain themes hold. There is a hopeful lover (usually hapless) a stubborn woman either distant or indifferent; obstacles follow,then a comic confusion and finally triumph over whatever pitfalls or plots try to thwart the course of true love. Gaetano Donizetti's genius was to find a musical variant that used and transcended all these expectations.The result was the comic masterwork, L'Elisir d' amore .
She loves me , yes , she loves me
I ask nothing more
I could die of love
The tears welling in her eyes is our seeing the iceberg melt under the warm sun of his sincerity and good humored and unselfish persistence. In between we meet a quack who swears he has the answer to Nemorino's shyness and fear, a potion, the Elixer. Which is really watered down wine. A rival, a soldier, who is all boldness and presumption, how could she resist him and a wonderful comic reversal. The death of the rich relative and all the girls now finding the heir the man of their dreams, which he is certain must be the elixir! Now it is Adina who must confront her true feelings of jealousy and the impossibility of marrying anyone else. This self knowledge closes the circle of their affections and gives the 'happy ending' a depth that surprises and moves.
Tune in this Saturday at noon for the Met's production of Donizetti's very humane and lyrically inspired comedy, L'Elisir d'amore, here on KPAC and KTXI.
by Ron Moore