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Elixir of Love, Operatic Romantic Comedy, at OCU’s Bass School Nov. 18-20

Staff Report

Oklahoma City University presents “The Elixir of Love,” one of opera’s most popular romantic comedies, in three performances Nov. 18-20. Gaetano Donizetti’s signature work tells of a magic potion and a love triangle involving a likeable 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, who has set the classic opera on an American farm at the beginning of World War I. The OCU production features a cast of 30, will full pit orchestra under the direction of Jan McDaniel. Performances are in Italian, with English translations projected above the stage.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee in the historic Kirkpatrick Auditorium at OCU’s Bass School of Music, NW 25th and Blackwelder. Tickets ($12-$25) are available from or 405.208.5227. Miller will present a free director’s talk 45 minutes before curtain.
“Elixir of Love” is number 12 on the “Operabase” list of the most-performed operas worldwide. It is known for the aria “Una furtive lagrima,” made famous last century by Enrico Caruso and now one of the most often-excerpted songs in all of opera.

Miller looked to American history for her inspiration of the staging of the show, which premiered in 1832. “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.

“I 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. This added an interesting story for the ensemble and supported the idea that Adina, occupied with running the family farm in a time of war, would have little time or patience with the shy Nemorino.”

Oklahoma City University’s 60th anniversary season continues with Jacques Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann” Feb. 24-26, a rare performance of the Susan B. Anthony spotlight musical “The Mother of Us All” by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson March 9-11, and Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” April 20-22.

For more information and tickets, visit

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