Mary Woodward Preview

Scottish Opera presents L’ELISIR D’AMORE


On Thursday 17 June Scottish Opera premieres a new film of Donizetti’s charming opera L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) in the latest Scottish Opera: On Screen

Donizetti was a highly significant figure in Italian opera in the 1830s, with this comic opera being one of the most frequently performed at the time. It continues to be hugely popular today. The story is a rom-com in which the poor and naive gardener Nemorino, besotted with the beautiful and wealthy Adina, struggles to overcome the difference in social class to express his love for her. When the eccentric travelling performer Dulcamara arrives in town, deceiving locals with his lure and wit, Nemorino falls for his charm, convinced he can win Adina’s heart with Dulcamara’s magic ‘elixir of love’.

Filmed at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal on 22 May 2021, it will be available to watch on the Scottish Opera website from Thursday 17 June at 7pm in collaboration with Perth Festival. Before then, BBC Radio Scotland features audio excerpts from the performance as part of a special Classics Unwrapped, presented by Jamie MacDougall, on Sunday 13 June.

Director Roxana Haines (Così fan tutte 2020, La bohème 2020) creates a setting in the Austen era, twenty years before the opera was written, decorating the Theatre Royal Glasgow as lavish estate grounds, ideal for the collision of the worlds of high regency England and working class.  

Packed full of humour and uplifting melodies, Roxana’s re-telling is the perfect summer romance to transport audiences to a different era, with extravagant period inspired costumes and intricate commedia dell’arte puppetry.

Director, Roxana Haines said: ‘Setting the narrative twenty years earlier means we can relocate it to Regency England; a time when social distancing was part of social etiquette, allowing us to embrace this as the norm in the film. This era, most familiar to us through Jane Austen’s novels, was laced with obsessions with social status and romance across class boundaries, all perfectly mirrored in Donizetti’s comedy.’

The cast includes guest principal Roland Wood (La bohème 2020, Tosca 2019) and three of the 2020/21 Scottish Opera Emerging Artists who also appeared in the 2020 film of Così fan tutteCatriona Hewitson as Adina, Shengzhi Ren as Nemorino and Arthur Bruce as Belcore. This is their final film together as Emerging Artists. Elena Garrido Madrona from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Alexander Gibson Opera School is Giannetta. Stuart Stratford conducts the cast along with a full-size Orchestra of Scottish Opera (physically distanced on the stage), as well as an impressive 18 strong chorus as upper class society.

Jonathan Haswell is Film Director, having previously worked on the Company’s Così fan tutte 2020 and Hansel and Gretel 2021. With the increasing demand for digital performances over the last year, Jonathan has worked with the Company to help bring opera into the homes of thousands through the Scottish Opera: On Screen collection.

An Audio Described version of the film will also be made available. This is the latest in Scottish Opera’s Audio Described opera films, all of which have proved extremely popular with viewers.

Available to watch via Scottish Opera’s website:

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