Source music by Gaetano Donizetti

Italian libretto to L’elisir d’amore by Felice Romani

Based on a libretto by Eugène Scribe for Daniel Auber’s Le phitre (1831)

Music adapted by Bill Lutes

Original libretto by Diane Garton Edie


Miss Addy (S*) is a rancher who loves to read romantic books. She isn’t interested in marrying any of the local cowboys because the stories seem more exciting. Jimmy Reno (T) – loves Miss Addy but is too shy to tell her. Sergeant Bill Corey (B) likes her, too, and is bold enough to propose. Jimmy overhears this and is very upset!


Dr. Dulcamara (M), a cure-all peddler, rides into town and sells fake medicine to the Townsfolk (SC) Jimmy asks for an elixir that will make Addy fall in love with him. Dulcamara sells him a potion which is really just root beer! Jimmy sees that Addy and Bill Corey are about to get married, and wants more elixir. To get money, Jimmy joins the army. He buys more ‘elixir of love’ that does nothing AND he has to leave Miss Addy to be a soldier! Dulcamara decides to help them understand that they love each other without the elixir. She gives the money back to Bill Corey that he paid Jimmy to join the army, so Jimmy is now free to marry Addy. Bill Corey realizes there are plenty of other girls he might like and Dulcamara decides to quit selling fake medicines and settle down to write a newspaper advice column! All is well.


*S – soprano; M – mezzo; T – tenor; B – baritone, SC – student chorus; AV – adult volunteer





  • Cowboy idiom is always appealing to young children – offers opportunity for whole-school dress-up as well as study of Old West
  • Substance abuse issue is raised (although the elixir has been changed from wine to root beer) – trouble in story comes from character not relying on himself but depending on substance
  • Children have roles of authority – Soldier and Justice of the Peace – as well as traditional friends of adult characters (Townsfolk)