From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love) is a comic opera in two acts by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after Eugène Scribe's libretto for Daniel-François-Esprit Auber's Le philtre (1831).
The opening of this comic opera finds Nemorino, a poor peasant, in love with Adina, a beautiful landowner, who torments Nemorino with her indifference. When Nemorino hears Adina reading to her workers the story of Tristan and Isolde, he is convinced that a magic potion will gain Adina's love for him. He is afraid she loves the self-important Sergeant Belcore who appears with his regiment and immediately proposes marriage to Adina in front of everyone. The traveling quack salesman, Dulcamara (the self-proclaimed Dr. Encyclopedia), arrives, selling his bottled cure-all to the townspeople. Nemorino innocently asks Dulcamara if he has anything like Isolde's love potion. Dulcamara says he does, selling it to Nemorino at a price matching the contents of Nemorino's pockets. Unknown to Nemorino, the bottle contains only wine.