The Elixir of Love

The Story

Act I: Adina, a wealthy owner of a local farm, her friend Giannetta, and a group of peasants are resting beneath a shade tree on her estate. At a distance Nemorino, a young villager, laments he has nothing to offer Adina but love. The peasants urge their mistress to read them a story -- how Tristan won the heart of Isolde by drinking a magic love potion. No sooner has Adina done so than Sgt. Belcore swaggers in with his troop. He quickly asks for her hand in marriage. Amused at his conceit and saying she will think it over, she orders refreshments for everyone. When Adina and Nemorino are left alone, he awkwardly declares his love.

In the town piazza, villagers hail the traveling salesman Dr. Dulcamara, who proclaims the virtues of his patent medicines. When they have gone, Nemorino asks Dulcamara if he sells the elixir of love described in Adina's book. Declaring that he has an exclusive potion and sells it every day, the charlatan bargains with Nemorino, who buys a bottle. He drinks it right away, never noticing that it is really a Bordeaux wine. Adina enters to find him tipsy. Certain of winning her love, he pretends indifference. To punish him, Adina flirts with Belcore, who, informed that he must return to his garrison, persuades her to marry him at once. Horrified, Nemorino begs Adina to wait one more day, but she ignores him and invites the entire village to her wedding feast.

Act II: At a local tavern, the pre-wedding supper is in progress. Dulcamara, self-appointed master of ceremonies, sits with the bridal couple. Adina goes off with Belcore to sign the marriage contract; the guests disperse. Dulcamara is joined by Nemorino, who begs for another bottle of elixir; his pleas are rejected, because he has no money. Belcore returns, annoyed that Adina has postponed the wedding until nightfall; he sees Nemorino and asks why he is so sad. The youth explains his financial plight, whereupon the sergeant persuades him to join the army and receive a bonus awaiting all volunteers. Belcore leads the perplexed Nemorino off to sign him up, enabling him to buy more elixir.

Peasant girls, gathered in the square, hear from Giannetta that Nemorino's uncle has died and willed him a fortune. When the youth arrives, they besiege him with attention. Unaware of his new wealth, he believes the elixir has taken effect. Adina and Dulcamara arrive and see Nemorino leave with a bevy of beauties. Angry that he has sold his freedom to Belcore, Adina becomes furious. Dulcamara claims that Nemorino's popularity is due to the magic potion. Adina replies she will win him back through her own charms. In a pensive mood, Nemorino takes heart because of a tear he has seen on Adina's cheek, but when she appears, he acts disinterested. She confesses she bought back his enlistment papers because she loves him. All ends happily and Dr. Dulcamara takes credit for it all.

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