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Classical Sprouts: 'L'Elisir d'Amore' (The Elixir of Love)

We're journeying to the Italian countryside for gorgeous melodies, funny songs and an "elixir of love," all thanks to Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti.

Donizetti's opera "L'Elisir d'Amore" is hugely popular - it's performed all over the world, especially around Valentine's Day.

It's one of the more than 60 operas Donizetti wrote, and it's a comedy (an 1832 rom-com, perhaps) about a young man from the countryside named Nemorino who is in love with the smart, strong and beautiful Adina.

But she's not interested.

We also have a whole episode with the star of the Metropolitan Opera's production of "L'Elisir d'Amore", Golda Schultz - check it out!

You get to meet an opera star!

At the beginning of the opera, Adina is reading the story of "Tristan and Isolde," a centuries-old tale about forbidden love instigated by a love potion.

Nemorino hears Adina reading, and the story gives him an idea...

He finds a traveling salesman - a "doctor" - who sells him a "love potion," claiming that if Nemorino drinks it, Adina will fall in love with him.

It's actually just wine, and after Nemorino drinks it and acts accordingly, Adina promptly accepts another man's marriage proposal. Ouch.

The story's not over yet, though - at Adina's wedding, rumors start spreading that Nemorino, who's now in the army, is suddenly very wealthy, and, to the townspeople, prime marriage material.

All the chatter makes Adina have a change of heart.

She realizes she doesn't want Nemorino to leave with the army and doesn't want to marry the other guy.

She's cared for Nemorino all along, she just hadn't realized until now that what she was feeling was love.

Things work out for Adina and Nemorino, and the love potion doctor thinks he's struck gold, but really, a little communication and self-awareness went a long way for this operatic couple.

Listen to the episode to hear how Donizetti's music helps the story come to life!

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Classical Sprouts is produced by Emily Duncan Wilson.

Kate Botello is a host and producer at Classical IPR.
Emily Duncan Wilson is IPR's digital content manager and is the producer of "Classical Sprouts" and "Kids Commute".