ned canty

Portland Opera’s ‘The Elixir of Love’: Adina Get Your Gun

Wild West production of Donizetti's opera in intimate Newmark Theatre finds the magic formula


The anticipation of the Wild West set and costumes was the buzz prior to the downbeat of Portland Opera’s The Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti. Donizetti is a constant to Portland Opera audiences over the company’s 50 years – sixteen productions of five different operas. This is Elixir’s fourth appearance. Stick with the original formula of the magic Elixir? Not this time around; this production, inspired by James de Blasis “sagebrush” setting at Cincinnati Opera in 1968, was re-imagined by Ned Canty, who directs here as well, with set designed locally by Curt Enderle. Change can also be exciting, reinvigorating. Portland Opera certainly hopes so — in several ways.

Portland Opera's Elixir of Love continues at Newmark Theatre. Photo: Cory Weaver

Portland Opera’s production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love continues at Newmark Theatre. Photo: Cory Weaver.

In Saturday night’s performance at Portland’s relatively intimate Newmark Theatre, the curtain rose to a vibrant set, an energetic cowgirl (Adina) and a disarming rube (Nemorino) who bumbles on stage and immediately falls in love with said cowgirl. From that moment on, in acting and singing, these two artists took charge of each scene in which they appeared.

It is primarily their story. He desperately in love with she. She not convinced. He believes his “answer” lies in a love potion. She becomes enamored of another. End of Act I.