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Production features WCSU student cast and contemporary setting for classic opera : WCSU Opera to present Donizetti’s ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’ March 5-7

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Opera will present a contemporary adaptation of Gaetano Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore” (“The Elixir of Love”) in three performances from March 5 through 7, 2020, at the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

Performances will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 5; Friday, March 6; and Saturday, March 7. General admission is $25, with a ticket price of $15 for seniors, students and children under 12. Reservations may be made online at

The WCSU student cast, directed by Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup, will perform an adaptation of the original 1832 Donizetti comic opera that transports the plot to a present-day Italian university campus populated by athletes, intellectuals, club members and nonconformist outsiders. The hero Nemorino is recast as a shy barista at the college cafe searching for a way to win the heart of the popular Adina, a frequent patron at the café, only to find that the visiting military recruiter Sergeant Belcore is already wooing the young woman and intends to marry her. The campus arrival of a TV celebrity, Dr. Dulcamara, hawking cures for all ills persuades Nemorino that the charlatan doctor can provide an elixir that will make Adina fall in love with him.

Presented in two acts and performed in Italian, the opera’s plot unfolds through a series of comic misunderstandings that lead Nemorino to believe unquestioningly in the power of the elixir — in fact, nothing more than a placebo of common wine — and Adina to choose Belcore in order to provoke her barista suitor. Further confusion ensues as Adina’s friends learn news, still unknown to Nemorino, that he is about to inherit a fortune, making him the sudden object of women’s attention on campus and restoring his confidence in the elixir. In the end, Adina recognizes the sincerity of Nemorino’s love and they realize no elixir is needed to bring them together.

The role of Adina will be performed on March 5 and 7 by Callie Sorrento, of Carmel, New York; and on March 6 by Carly Sacco, of Orange. The role of Nemorino will be performed on March 5 and 7 by Sergio Mandujano, of Norwalk; and on March 6 by Edwin Rodriguez, of New Haven. Other cast members will include Anthony Deluco, of Cheshire, as Belcore; Sam Cournoyer, of Seymour, as Dulcamara; and Ivy Allik, of Pawcatuck, and Madison Palmerino, of Woodstock, alternating in the role of Giannetta.

The orchestra will be conducted by Associate Professor of Music Dr. Fernando Jimenez.

Donizetti, a prolific composer celebrated for his contributions to Italian comic opera in the first half of the 19th century, swiftly completed the original score of “L’Elisir d’Amore” to fulfill an urgent commission from the impresario of Teatro della Cannobia in Milan, where the work premiered to critical and popular acclaim in May 1832. Astrup observed that, while she has refrained in the past from creating contemporary adaptations for classic operas, “this time it seemed right to depart from the rural 18th century Italian village and move the drama to a university in Italy inhabited by young, impetuous and sometimes ‘starstruck’ young people. The move to an Italian campus was inspired by the cast’s strong desire to perform the opera in its original Italian.”

Astrup noted that the elixirs offered by Dr. Dulcamara in the original opera translate readily into the many TV and internet promotions of quick if questionable cures today. “Promises of remedies that correct almost all ailments and can cure numerous maladies exist today, perhaps more than ever,” she said. “Information concerning them, along with testimonials about their efficacy, are readily available on the internet. When one gets desperate, they all seem like potential cures and solutions.”

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.