Love potion No. 12

Oklahoma City University presents “The Elixir of Love,” one of opera’s most popular romantic comedies, No. 12 on Operabase’s list of the most-performed operas worldwide. Gaetano Donizetti’s signature work tells of a magic potion and a love triangle involving a likable bumpkin, a dashing sergeant and the bewitching town flirt.

“‘Elixir of Love’ mixes hilarity, tenderness and vocal fireworks in a story that charms and entertains,” said director Karen Coe Miller.

The production features a cast of 30 and a full-pit orchestra. Performances are in Italian, with English translations projected.

“As I was exploring options for the setting, I searched for a time when all the characters and situations would make sense. I needed a context to explain a young woman in charge of a farm, a troop of soldiers turning up, a traveling medicine man and an innocence that would allow a belief in an elixir that would cure all ills,” said Miller.

She decided to set the production in 1917, at the beginning of the U.S. involvement in World War I.

“During my research, I discovered the Woman’s Land Army, an organization that trained women to help on farms throughout the U.S. during the war,” she said. “This added an interesting story for the ensemble.” OCU’s 60th-anniversary season continues with Jacques Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann” on Feb. 24-26; a rare performance of the Susan B. Anthony spotlight musical, “The Mother of Us All” by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson, on March 9-11; and Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” on April 20-22.

Eric Webb

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