Arts students want to share 'Elixir of Love'

Posted February 5, 2009 12:13 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Students at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts invite the public to share "The Elixir of Love" with them.

This weekend in Raleigh, UNCSA students will put on the comic opera about a beautiful, wealthy woman, a traveling salesman and a bottle of Bordeaux.

"While 'The Elixir of Love' can be described as a light, silly romp, it is also a story about the transformative powers of love," said Dr. Steven LaCosse, stage director and managing director of UNCSA's A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute.

The Winston-Salem school is performing "The Elixir of Love" in Raleigh as part of a "Month of Love" celebration in February organized by The Opera Company of North Carolina.

The professional company will also put on the operatic version of "Cinderella," offer Valentine dinner packages, a "Taste of Opera" dinner with conductors and singers, and open dress rehearsals to high school and middle school students.

The company wants to encourage a love of opera in the community and turn fans of opera into fanatics, according to opera company and UNCSA officials.

Actress Jodi Burns said "The Elixir of Love" has much to appeal to many people.

"In this opera, there's a character, (Sergeant) Belcore, who's like a cartoon character we grew up watching on Saturday mornings," Burns said. "All these themes – love and not knowing what you want out of life – they're universal themes. You try to make it more modern but still stick to tradition."

Timid traveling salesman Nemorino uses a love potion to try to capture the heart of fair Adina, who repeatedly spurns him. But the course of true love never runs smooth, and Adina seems to set to marry another suitor, Sergeant Belcore.

"It's a really great story," Burns said. "It's just tons of fun. The music is beautiful, and the set design and the costumes and the make-up are just impeccable."

Burns, a second-year graduate student at UNCSA, said she and other students have been working for up to 6 months to get the opera ready. Her at-home practice sessions ran into a little opposition from her neighbors, she recalled, laughing.

"I live in an apartment, and I've gotten a note before that said, 'Please don't practice anymore at night," Burns said.

Shows go on at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6 and 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 8 at the Fletcher Opera Theater in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets run $10 to $20 and are available on TicketMaster and by calling 919-834-4000.

The opera will be sung in Italian, with English subtitles.