The Elixir of Love

The Elixir of Love

Artwork by Amanda Wilson.

JMU Opera Features Student, Local Talent

The Elixir of Love was written by Gaetano Donizetti in bel canto style, an old Italian tradition of singing that emphasizes beautiful tone and brilliant technique rather than dramatic expression. According to Dr. Don Rierson, director of the JMU Opera Theater, this opera features “the best singers we’ve ever had,” as well as nationally recognized guest conductor Frank Graffeo and the incorporation of local folk elements, including a magician, acrobat and the Rockingham Ballet.

The Elixir of Love, which premiered in Milan in 1832, has a “typical 19th–century plot” based on a comedy of errors featuring a pair of lovers, a “trickster” and in this case, a handsome sergeant. A love triangle ensues between Nemorino, a simple country peasant who is desperately in love with Adina, the sly town flirt who doesn't return his affections. She is attracted to Belcore, a dashing and handsome sergeant. A traveling doctor (and quack), Dulcamara, encourages Nemorino to spend his last dime on a “love potion” to bewitch Adina to fall for him. True love triumphs in the end in this hilarious comic romp, which features “Una furtive lagrima,” one of the most famous of all arias.

The JMU Opera Theater provides main stage and workshop opportunities for performance majors enrolled in B.M., M.M. and D.M.A. programs at the university. The program has attracted outstanding graduates and undergraduates from prominent national and international arts high schools, universities and conservatories.

In recent years, JMU Opera Theater has presented critically acclaimed productions of The Merry Widow, Cosi fan Tutte and Carmen. In Spring 2009, they presented Jeremy Beck and Patricia Marx’s Review at the National Arts Club in Manhattan under the tutelage of the Center for Contemporary Opera. The singers perform regularly in international venues in Germany, Italy, Wales and England, and have been quite successful in university Concerto–Aria, National Association of Teachers of Singing and other national competitions. JMU annually hosts the first round of the Classical Singer competition and maintains an active and enthusiastic Opera Guild.

Tickets are $18–$20. For tickets, visit or call the Forbes Center Box Office at (540) 568–7000. Contact Jen Kulju, public relations/marketing specialist at the Forbes Center, at (540) 568–4394 or by e–mail at for further information.

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