In this episode of OperaTalk, Dr. Nicolas Reveles discusses Gaetano Donizetti’s comedic opera “The Elixir of Love” or “L’elisir d’amore,” in which a con artist convinces villagers that a bottle of wine is a love potion.
What better place to discus the powerful effects of wine than at a winery? Reveles visits the beautiful Hacienda de las Rosas Winery to illustrate just how enchanting wine can be.
Donizetti had written hit operas before, including “Anna Bolena,” an historic opera about one of King Henry the 8th’s wives. But Reveles says that none came close to the success of “The Elixir of Love.”
Donizetti was in the midst of writing four operas in one year when he was commissioned to write a new one for the Teatro Cane Bianco in Milan. He wrote “The Elixir of Love” in just six weeks and it gained such popularity, it was the most performed opera in Italy between 1838 and 1848.
UCSD-TV is thrilled to bring you another season of programming from San Diego Opera, which kicks off its 2013 season Jan 26 with Donizetti’s sparkling comedy “Daughter of the Regiment,” updated to the WWII era.
Leading up to Saturday’s premiere, tune in to San Diego Opera Stars in the Salon online, or tonight at 8 on UCSD-TV, to hear the cast and creative team’s thoughts on the composer, the opera’s history, traditions and musical highlights, and the joys and challenges of a theatrical life.
Our crew has been at the Civic Center recording all the action for UCSD-TV’s Friday night premiere of San Diego Opera Spotlight, but you can get a sneak peak with these brief video production updates that capture different phases of the intense rehearsal process. You can find them all at our Opera Spotlight series page or right here on the UCSD-TV blog!
Though war doesn’t immediately come to mind as fertile ground for levity, there have been many stage and film comedies with a military setting: Mr. Roberts, Operation Petticoat, Dr. Strangelove, MASH, and Stripes, to name but a few. This is definitely not the case in opera, where war is usually presented as a grim backdrop to drama and hilarity does not ensue.
Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment (La Fille du Régiment) is that rare and lively exception to this rule, a musical soufflé about a rambunctious tomboy who is adopted by a group of soldiers. Set in the waning days of World War II in San Diego Opera’s production, it has everything you want in a comic opera – farcical plot, star-crossed young lovers, larger-than-life characters, scheming relatives, rousing numbers for the chorus, a plethora of vocal gymnastics (including the famous nine high Cs for the tenor) and, of course, a happy if improbable ending.
In this new edition of San Diego OperaTalk!, premiering tonight (Oct. 23) at 8pm (and online now), Nick Reveles explains it all to you in his inimitable style, including the opera’s origins and the historic role of women in the military. Who knew war could be so much fun?