The Elixir of Love

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September 2023 Next

L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love) is one of the most popular Donizetti operas and comic operas there is. The librettist Felice Romani made use of Eugene Scribe’s libretto to Daniel Auber’s opera Le philtre (1831) and the action is a comic paraphrase of the legend of Tristan and Isolde, which the heroine of Donizetti’s opera, the beautiful and wealthy Adina, reads to her friend. The bashful young peasant Nemorino is in love with Adina yet his feelings are unrequited. The situation is further compounded by the arrival of a group of soldiers commanded by Sergeant Belcore, who begins to woo Adina. A travelling “snake-oil” salesman appears and offers a wonder potion that is able to arouse affection in every woman.

Nemorino duly buys it and gulps it down, yet the bottle only contains wine. Nemorino becomes inebriated and musters up the courage to address Adina. She, however, out of defiance announces her decision to marry Belcore. So as to win Adina, Nemorino wants to buy another bottle of the “elixir” but he does not have any more money. He therefore enlists in the army and purchases another potion from his soldier’s pay. Meanwhile, the news has spread in the village that Nemorino has inherited a large fortune from his deceased uncle and he becomes the centre of attention of all the local maidens. Adina starts to get jealous and when she learns that Nemorino has enlisted because of her she declares her love for him. The jocose comedy abounds in splendid arias, with the most celebrated of them, Nemorino’s “Una furtiva lagrima”, being part of the repertoire of all world-acclaimed tenors. The opera affords rewarding dramatic and vocal opportunities for the performers and is a highly attractive title for audiences.

The opera is staged in Italian original version and Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.

Photo: Hana Smejkalová

Duration of the performance: 2 hours and 20 minutes, 1 intermission

Program and cast

Prague State Opera

The State Opera today


The State Opera (formerly the State Opera Prague, between 1948 and 1992 the Smetana Theatre, and originally the New German Theatre) has been a part of the National Theatre since 2012. The Opera and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the State Opera.




The Prague State Opera resides in the building which on January 5, 1888 was opened as a Prague German stage with the performance of Wagner’s opera, The Mastersingers of Nürnberg. In the 19th century, Prague Germans performed in the Estate’s Theater in alternation with a Czech company. Desire for their own theater led to negotiations in 1883 for the construction of a new theater building for the German Theater Association. Over the next three years, a blueprint was drawn up and handed over to the Vienna atelier of Fellner and Hellmer. Also sharing in the design was the architect of the Vienna Municipal Theater, Karl Hasenauer, while Prague architect Alfons Wertmüller took part in the construction. Financing came from private collections. With its spacious auditorium and neo-Rococo decoration, this theater building is among the most beautiful in Europe.




By car

On Wilsonova street, from the left lane close to the State Opera building take the slip road to the Slovan above-ground garage. The parking fee is 40 CZK/h.


By tram


By daytime tram No. 11 to the stop “Muzeum”, through the underpass beneath Legerova street in the direction of the NationalMuseum, at the crossroads turn right along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.


By daytime trams Nos. 3, 9, 14 and 24 or night trams Nos. 51, 52, 54, 55, 56 and 58 to the stop “Václavské náměstí”, then by foot uphill on the left side of the Wenceslas Square to the traffic lights across Wilsonova and Vinohradská streets. Then turn left along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.


By metro

To the “Muzeum” station, lines A and C (green and red), and then by foot along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

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