Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

From last year’s production of Carmen by Opera South East (photo: Peter Mould).

Opera South East present Donizetti’s Elixir of Love

Opera South East’s new production of Donizetti’s comic love story The Elixir of Love will be presented at White Rock Theatre later this month. Following the retirement of Kenneth Roberts, Marcio da Silva is to take over conducting duties. Nick Terdre reports.

Following her success with Opera South East’s  production of Carmen in April 2023, artistic director Eleanor Strutt returns to the south coast to set this two-act production of Donizetti’s comic love story, sung in English, in the Hastings of the early 1950s.

Artistic director Eleanor Strutt

The local council have decided to promote the town as a seaside resort, producing colourful leaflets and posters, all aimed at convincing potential holidaymakers that the town offers a glamorous alternative to what were still straitened post-war circumstances.

The star of the advertising campaign is the wealthy and attractive Adina, who loves being the centre of attention. She is pursued by two would-be suitors: the simple Nemorino and the cocky sergeant Belcore.

When the spiv “Doctor” Dulcamara visits the town with his miracle cures, Nemorino asks if he has an “elixir of love”. Ever the salesman, Dulcamara repurposes a bottle of cheap wine to the credulous Nemorino. But then, magically, the “elixir of love” seems to have its desired effect…

Musical director and conductor Marcio da Silva

Following Kenneth Roberts’ retirement after last April’s production of Carmen, Opera South East have appointed Marcio da Silva as its musical director and conductor. Marcio is well-known to Hastings audiences, having made a huge contribution to the musical life of the town, offering an impressive range of high-quality choral, orchestral and chamber music performances each year since he arrived here just over a decade ago.

Opera South East are delighted that members of Sussex Concert Orchestra will continue their long association with the company.

The company welcomes soprano Helen May to the cast for this production, playing the role of Adina. Tenor John Twitchen is the hapless Nemorino and soprano Eleanor Westbrook Adina’s friend, Gianetta.  A warm welcome is extended to bass Richard Woodall who returns to the company after a gap of eight years to play the part of the ‘good’ Dr Dulcamara, and tenor Oshri Segev as Belcore.

Cast your mind back to those sun-drenched beaches of the 1950s and enjoy the nostalgia of long ago!


The Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti White Rock Theatre, Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April. Tickets £25, £17 and £13, accompanied under 16s free. Available from White Rock Theatre online or by phone 0343 310 0031.

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Posted 20:10 Sunday, Apr 14, 2024 In: Music & Sound

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