Winterbourne Opera give The Elixir of Love a 1960s twist

Cast members of Winterbourne Opera's production The Elixir of Love

Cast members of Winterbourne Opera's production The Elixir of Love

First published in Entertainments by

DONIZETTI’S comic opera The Elixir of Love is being transported to the colourful world of a 1960s holiday camp for this summer’s fun-filled production from Winterbourne Opera.

Salisbury’s cattle ring at the livestock market is being transformed into a sunny place full of happy campers to provide the setting for this much-loved operatic work.

Winterbourne Opera is an amateur chorus that loves to take on a challenge and offer new interpretations of classic operas.

They will be joined by professional singers and recent music college graduates who will take the leading roles in The Elixir of Love, which is being performed at the end of July.

Director Ben Occhipinti says he is delighted with how well 1830s Italian opera has adapted to the Hi-de-Hi treatment.

“This opera is lots of fun and where better to set it than a holiday camp?” he said.

“The storyline works wonderfully well in this setting and it provides such a jolly, colourful backdrop.”

The Elixir of Love follows the trials of Nemorino, who falls desperately in love with Adina.

Adina rebuffs his advances and is set to marry the arrogant Sergeant Belcore instead.

When Nemorino encounters a travelling doctor who offers him a love potion, he is sure it will help him win Adina’s heart.

“Not only is it a great story, it is full of beautiful music and many arias that the audience will be familiar with,” said Occhipinti.

“This is an opera that has stood the test of time and is still very popular today.”

Singing in English with the most faithful translation, the members of Winterbourne Opera have spent months fine-tuning the chorus numbers before rehearsals with their professional co-stars started this week.

“They really are a wonderful group of singers, with great enthusiasm and professionalism,” added Occhipinti.

“They are relishing the challenge of the setting and it’s sure to be a great production that offers something different to traditional opera.”

Last year Winterbourne Opera used the livestock market to present Carmen, the most ambitious production in the group’s 13-year history.

“I don’t know why the venue isn’t used for productions more frequently,” said Occhipinti.

“It really is the most fantastic space.”

And with all the holiday extras including entertainment and ice cream vans outside the auditorium and the chance to take a picnic, the show promises to encapsulate all that is best about a British summer.

The Elixir of Love is being performed at Salisbury Livestock Market, Netherhampton Road from Wednesday, July 23 to Sunday July 27. Performance times are 7.30pm (gates open at 6pm) Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and 2.30pm on Sunday (gates open at 1pm).

Tickets priced at £25 or £20 are available from Salisbury Playhouse box office, by calling 01722 320333, or at winterbourne opera.net.

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