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SFO Elixir of Love Illustration copyright Benedetto Cristofani

The Elixir of Love

July 27 - August 22, 2024

Desire. Love Potion. Magic.

Nemorino, a not-so-clever mechanic, has fallen for Adina, a school teacher. He desires her attention, but doesn’t feel worthy. Fortunately, he meets Dr. Dulcamara (most certainly a quack) who sells him a “magic elixir” that can make his dreams come true.

Stephen Lawless directs a revival of our 2009 production set in an Italian village in 1945. Prepare to be delighted as the lovers find their footing, and the elixir does its job! Former apprentice Jonah Hoskins performs Nemorino, Chilean soprano Yaritza Véliz sings the role of Adina and former apprentice Luke Sutliff is Belcore.

Music By
Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto By
Felice Romani
Sung In
Instant Translation Screen
English and Spanish
Production support generously provided by
The Estate of Suzanne Hanson Poole
The performances of Jonah Hoskins are supported by
The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
The performances of Luke Sutliff are supported by
The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
The performances of Yaritza Véliz are dedicated to the memory of
Eileen F. Gallo-Ross
The performances of Alfredo Daza are supported by
The MacKay Fund for Debut Artists
Run Time
Approximately 2 hours 45 minutes; includes a 25-minute intermission

Act I

The villagers are coming in from a long, hot day. They enjoy hearing Adina read from the story of Tristan and Isolde and the magic love potion. Nemorino watches from a distance, yearning for even a word from Adina. He approaches her afterwards and professes his love. She shoos him away with brisk (and beautiful) words about the need for fickleness.

The army is in town. Sergeant Belcore enters, intent on storming the heart of Adina, the most beautiful and successful girl in town. She seems impressed. Nemorino is full of disgust and despair.

A cart pulls up carrying the Great Doctor Dulcamara, bearing pills and potions for every kind of ailment. He is most proud of his cure-all elixir. Nemorino approaches him quietly and asks whether he possesses the love potion of Queen Isolde. Absolutely, Dulcamara assures him. He will have damsels fawning over him. But he must wait a day for it to work. (Dulcamara has never heard of Isolde, the potion is a cheap Bordeaux, and the time would allow the Doctor to leave town.) He downs the flask and immediately feels robust enough to ignore Adina the next time he sees her. To get even, she consents to marry Belcore. Nemorino, horrified, begs her to wait another day.

Act II

Everyone is assembled for the wedding of Adina and the sergeant. Adina privately murmurs that she’s waiting to sign the marriage contract until Nemorino arrives. Nemorino seeks out the doctor to ask for another bottle of the elixir. Dulcamara agrees to wait until he can borrow the money. Belcore strides by, puzzled by Adina’s postponement. Nemorino laments that he is penniless. Belcore suggests he join the army and receive the volunteer bonus. Nemorino, jubilant, signs, and takes the cash back to Dulcamara for another bottle.

Suddenly the village girls surround Nemorino. He thinks this is the effect of the elixir; he does not yet know that his uncle has died and left him a fortune. Adina has felt responsible for his enlistment, but her guilty feeling turns to jealousy and sadness when she sees him with all the girls. Dulcamara offers her the elixir, but she assures him she can win Nemorino back on her own.

Nemorino was by no means indifferent: during all the confusion he noticed a tear upon Adina’s cheek. He is sure she cares for him. Adina approaches Nemorino and shows him that she has bought back his military contract. He feigns indifference, and she finally confesses her love. Belcore struts by, finds them together, and consoles himself by proclaiming that the world is full of women for him. Dulcamara redoubles his boasting: the magical elixir can make poor men into millionaires and can bring true love.

Yaritza Veliz headshot

Yaritza Véliz



Hoskins, Jonah headshot

Jonah Hoskins



Sutliff, Luke headshot

Luke Sutliff



Alfredo Daza

Alfredo Daza



Cadie J Bryan

Cadie J. Bryan



Roberto Kalb

Roberto Kalb


Stephen Lawless

Stephen Lawless


Ashley Martin-Davis

Ashley Martin-Davis

Scenic & Costume Designer

Thomas C Hase

Thomas C. Hase

Lighting Designer

Susanne Sheston headshot

Susanne Sheston

Chorus Master


2024 Season Playlist