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Opera Company of Middlebury concocts an ‘Elixer of Love’

The Opera Company of Middlebury enters its 15th season with a production of Donizetti’s famous comedy, L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love).  The fizzy romantic opera tells the story of a con artist who convinces a town that his strange concoction can cure any ill — and can even make other people fall in love with you.
Tucked into the laughter is one of the most famous tenor arias of all time, the haunting ballad “Una furtiva lagrima”. 
All of the singers in leading roles have sung with the company before.  “We’re committed to having long-term relationships with our singers,” said OCM artistic director Douglas Anderson, “and one of the ways we do that is to use our fall production to bring back singers we know and love from previous years.  It’s always a great homecoming.  And of course singers love to come back to Vermont, especially in October.  We don’t have to twist any arms.”
Tenor Joshua Collier plays the lovesick Nemorino.  Collier is making his third visit to the company, having performed in Turandot and last year’s Il Trittico.  He’ll play opposite company favorite soprano Bevin Hill, who will be making her record sixth appearance with OCM. 
“Bevin is acknowledged as one of the funniest opera performers in the country,” Anderson said.  “She was brilliant here in both The Magic Flute and Gianni Schicchi.  And she sings like an angel.” 
Rounding out the company are Kian Freitas (Dr. Dulcamara), Christopher Holmes (Belcore) and Rachel Hall (Giannetta).
“The opera originally takes place in an ancient rustic setting, but I’m not a fan of happy peasants lounging under spreading chestnuts,” said Anderson, who’s directing.  “We have a more sophisticated take on it, placing our production in a Gatsby-esque bar in the 1920’s. Our elixir might very well be a martini.”  
Guest conductor Jeffrey Rink returns to helm of the OCM Orchestra.  The Middlebury College Chorus will once again serve as the opera’s chorus, under the direction of Dr. Jeff Buettner. 
“We love this yearly rendezvous with Jeff and the college students,” Anderson added.  “They get a wonderful introduction to the world of opera, and get to sing with some incredible artists.  We get their energy and talent.  Everybody wins.”
L’elisir d’amore will be presented at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater for three performances only this Thursday, Oct. 12 and Friday, Oct, 13, at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m.  Tickets range from $45-$60, and may be purchased at towhalltheater.org, by calling or visiting the THT Box Office, (802) 382-9222 (Mon. – Sat. 12-5 p.m.), or at the door, if available.

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