There are plots and schemes below stairs, above stairs and behind closed doors! The wit and intrigue of Donizetti’s domestic comedy Don Pasquale gains added piquancy in the doll’s house set of Jonathan Miller’s acutely observed production.
The quintessentially Italian Donizetti became a major figure in French opera repertory in his day, and Don Pasquale is one of his last operas written for Paris. With its contemporary costumes and a famous on-stage slap in the face, even in 1843 the harder eternal truths behind the comedy were instantly recognizable.
This cautionary tale of an elderly bachelor, his intended younger bride and her young lover is revived by The Royal Opera with a wonderful cast of soloists under the batons of Charles Mackerras and David Syrus. Íride Martínez plays the feisty ‘bride’ who gives Paolo Gavanelli as her new husband a really tough time; and all with the help of the scheming Doctor Malatesta (Jacques Imbrailo) to ensure that Ernesto (Barry Banks) gets his girl.
This is an opera whose score bursts with life and lyricism and whose drama has a few surprises along the way, especially at Don Pasquale’s expense. Sparkling coloratura, lyrical arias and moments of dramatic insight come together in one of the most loved of Donizetti comic operas.
Sung in Italian with English surtitles.