L’elisir d’amore, or The Elixir of Love, has remained popular for almost two centuries because of a touching tale and a galaxy of comic characters adapted from the traditional commedia dell’ arte. Above all Donizetti poured into the score all the warmth and tenderness of the Italian temperament. His melodic invention never ceases to charm whether in the jolly rustic choruses, the exhilarating ‘patter’ numbers, or the sweet sadness of the beautiful arias, of which "Una furtiva lagrima", the great tenor showpiece, is the best known.
Thomson Smillie’s series Opera Explained is an ingenious and enchanting production that makes opera accessible to listeners of all types. In this edition, Smillie helps listeners achieve a higher understanding and appreciation for the comic opera L’elisir d’amore, by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. By mixing the beautiful pieces of music from the opera with Smillie’s insightful and entertaining examinations - performed expertly by veteran narrator David Timson - listeners are given the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful example from one of the more unapproachable forms of art.