I am delighted to welcome you to the opening production of our 2021-2022 Dayton Opera Season. The Elixir of Love was the first piece I directed for Dayton Opera in 2009 and I’m a sentimental soul, so it seemed a wonderful place to begin my journey as the Artistic Director of Dayton Opera. I’ve been back to direct for Dayton Opera every year since 2009 and this wonderful city has become a sort of second home for me, with many treasured artistic partners and cherished friendships. I am excited to discover more about this place I’ve come to love so much over the past twelve years.
I’m bringing a taste of my “other” home to this production, setting it in the current-day western United States. I am from New Mexico and have worked for the Santa Fe Opera for over 20 years, first as a singer, and now as an educator and stage director. This is an expansion of a version of Elixir I have directed for the Santa Fe Opera and for Utah Opera.
We are offering a shortened version of Elixir which allows you to escape for 90 minutes and immerse yourself in this wonderful story. The safety of group singing is still uncertain, and therefore the chorus scenes had to be omitted, but this allowed us to compress the piece which moves along very quickly. Don’t be concerned, all the exquisite arias are intact! We await the triumphal return to the stage of our beloved Dayton Opera Chorus in May with our season closer, Epic Opera.
The Elixir of Love is a romantic comedy, and honestly, who couldn’t use some laughter in their lives after what we’ve all been through? It’s filled with beautiful music (including one of the best-loved and most famous arias for tenor, “Una furtiva lagrima”.) It’s a simple, relatable story, with characters just like you and me…a feel-good story where true love conquers all. Don’t you feel your spirits lifting already?
There’s no denying the past year and a half have been difficult, but I believe in the healing power of live music. Something very special happens when we are all together in the theater, listening, laughing, and crying together. The connection and community felt between audience and performers are truly extraordinary and I am grateful we can all experience that again.
My wish is that you leave this performance restored, with hope in your heart, and with a smile on your face. Is that too much to ask for ninety minutes of opera? I don’t think so!
~Kathleen Clawson, Artistic Director