If you're an opera company, and you know in advance that the star tenor in your current Donizetti production is canceling because of illness, you could email your patrons about this.
I, for one, would have simply donated back my ticket to Elisir. I only bought it to see Ramon Vargas, who hadn't sung in San Francisco in a few years and who is a perfectly lovely singer. Oh, okay, the half-price ticket offer helped too.
As all the reviewers said, the singing was very good all around, with special honors to Alessandro Corbelli as Dulcamara (the Belcore huffed his way through the fioriture, yeesh, but has a good voice), and production was adorable, though I dispute the plausibility of the girl in overalls considering that it's 1915 or so. That ice cream truck made me want to pick up a pint on the way home. Too bad about Bruno Campanella's sleepy conducting.
As it turns out, my original impulse ("nothing could drag me into the house for another Elisir") turned out to be right, because I left at half-time, making a lone standee very happy when I gave him my 10th-row ticket.