Preview: Cape Town Opera’s L’elisir d’amore 2022, on tour- Mpumalanga, Free State and Cape Town

Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore – presented by Cape Town Opera- 2022 touring production  

~September 23 and 24- Mpumalanga  
Tickets for the B.K. van Zijl-Kunstesentrum at Hoërskool Ermelo, Mpumalanga, through  

~September 30 and October 1- Sasolburg  
Tickets for the Etienne Rousseau Theatre, Sasolburg, through  

~October 13-16- Cape Town
Tickets for Theatre on the Bay, Cape Town, through   

Featuring: Puerto Rican tenor Juan Hernández as Nemorino, Brittany Smith as Adina, Conroy Scott as Doctor Dulcamara, Van Wyk Venter as Belcore and Linda Nteleza as Giannetta and Cape Town Opera Chorus (six singers)

Director: Magdalene Minnaar
Musical director and pianist: José Dias
Design: Rabia Davids and Maritha Visagie
Movement director: Fiona du Plooy

Invigorating news is the announcement of Cape Town Opera’s touring production of Gaetano Donizetti’scomedy, L’elisir d’amore. Buoyed by the success and avid response to its pared down Le nozze di Figaro, Cape Town Opera is presenting L’elisir d’amore, without an orchestra. Instead there is a “piano reduction”, with José Dias on stage, at the piano. Dias is also the musical director for the production and direction is by Magdalene Minnaar, who is artistic director of Cape Town Opera. There are six in the chorus but as evidenced from an illuminating reveal of the opera, the chorus is vital in terms of characters. At a rehearsal which was part of reveal, Dias told the chorus that they are singing like soloists. This is an exciting tour, which wraps up at in Cape Town- the first time for CTO at Theatre on The Bay. Info as supplied:


Bel canto genius Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (‘The elixir of love’) is presented by Cape Town Opera, a touring production made possible by the unfailing generosity of the Judith Neilson Head Trust. The tour kicks off in Ermelo in Mpumalanga on September 23 and 24, 2022 followed by Sasolburg in the Free State on September 30 and October 1, 2022 and finally, after taking the magic of opera up north, Cape Town Opera will bring the production to the Mother City at the elegant Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay from October 13-16, 2022. 

True to the tradition of romantic comedy, L’elisir d’amore ticks all the requisite boxes of popular entertainment; perhaps as a corrective antidote to the two serious operas composed by Donizetti immediately before its première in May 1832, it lives and breathes tongue-in-cheek joie de vivre. 

The production will be directed by the company’s imaginative Artistic Director, Magdalene Minnaar, with a piano reduction of the orchestral score entrusted to pianist José Dias. Costume design is by Rabia Davids and Maritha Visagie, who also designs the set, while Fiona du Plooy is responsible for movement direction. 

The cast features Puerto Rican tenor Juan Hernández as Nemorino, Brittany Smith as Adina, Conroy Scott as Doctor Dulcamara, Van Wyk Venter as Belcore and Linda Nteleza as Giannetta. 

Magdalene Minnaar explains that, after Cape Town Opera’s joyful production of Le nozze di Figaro, the team decided to forge on with another comic opera as an antidote to the misery of Covid-19: “We want to offer our audiences colour, jokes and glorious melodies.” She adds that among these melodies are arias so popular that they will be familiar even to those who do not regularly follow opera. As for context, Minnaar states, “In our version of ‘Elisir’, we have created an Escher-esque dream world in which Adina is tested by the mad scientist and ‘encyclopedic doctor’ Dulcamara. He is an alchemist with a Frankensteinian flair for ingenious chemistry, which he uses to bend the rules of chance, thereby sculpting an alternate reality as a human experiment. Like Spalanzani in Les contes d’Hoffmann with his mechanical doll or a more modern-day Circe, he sends Adina into this alternate realm where two contrasting love prospects test her: the sweet and slightly average Nemorino and pompous, presumptuous Belcore.” 

There is never much room for doubt that a happy ending is inevitable in this plot which is as flimsy as tissue paper but utterly charming. Add Donizetti’s beguiling score and lyricism to the high-spirited comedy, and you have all the pleasure that an evening of opera at its sunniest can produce.  

Like vintage wine, Elisir has aged beautifully over nearly two centuries: join us in taking a sip and letting the magic do its work. Beware! It could well be addictive… 

Tickets for the performances at the A.B.K. van Zijl-Kunstesentrum at Hoërskool Ermelo in Mpumalanga are available via For the Etienne Rousseau Theatre in Sasolburg, tickets are available through and at Theatre on the Bay they can be purchased through 

Madcap antics: Conroy Scott as Doctor Dulcamara and Brittany Smith in Cape Town Opera’s 2022 touring production of L’elisir d’amore. Pic: Annène van Eden.
Mad scientist: Conroy Scott as Doctor Dulcamara in Cape Town Opera’s 2022 touring production of L’elisir d’amore. Pic: Annène van Eden.

✳Featured image: Cape Town Opera’s 2022 touring production of L’elisir d’amore – Juan Hernandez as Nemorino and Brittany Smith as Adina. Pics by Annène van Eden. Supplied. Sponsored content.