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Don Pasquale

Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)

Opera buffa in 3 acts
Libretto by Giovanni Domenico Ruffini & Gaetano Donizetti
First performed January 3  1843, Théâtre Italien, Paris

Sung in Italian with German surtitles
Introductory talks (in German) in the Bockenheimer Depot 30 minutes before performances begin

Conductor James Hendry / Simone Di Felice

Don Pasquale Donato Di Stefano / Simon Bailey
Doctor Maltesta Danylo Matviienko° / Mikołai Trąbka
Ernesto Francesco Brito / Michael Porter
Norina Simone Osborne / Florina Ilie
A Notary Pilgoo Kang°

°Member of the Opera Studio

A pair of hard up lovers, a machinating doctor and a cranky old man who feels young and randy again.

Wisdom and dignitiy are qualities normally attributed to older people, but when passion and love come into play even the elderly can lose their composure and things become rather amusing ...

Donizetti’s references to Carlo Goldoni’s Commedia dell’arte figures are unmistakable: Don Pasquale, a real Pantalone, who only cares about money; but would actually quite like a young wife before it’s too late, and the lovers Ernesto and Norina who need help from Don Pasquale's confidante Doctor Malatesta, who's busy spreading intrigues. The turbulent ensembles and explosive emotions of these four on stage are joined by a male chorus, until Don Pasquale ends up lonely, and alone but cured of his egoism,  chuckling over the younger people's little game.

Donizetti and Giovanni Ruffini were pressed for time and the whole process of writing the libretto was very difficult indeed. The librettist wanted to stick to the tried and tested components of opera buffa, while the composer wanted to break new ground, and succeeded in making his characters more credible.