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05 November 2019 (Tue), 19:00 Moscow theatre "New Opera" - Opera Gaetano Donizetti "Don Pasquale"

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (till 21:30)

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for Gaetano Donizetti "Don Pasquale" 2021-2022

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Conductor: Maestro Fabio Mastrangelo
Music Director: Fabio Mastranzhelo

Orchestra: Symphony Orchestra of the "New Opera" Theatre

Opera in 3 act

The Don Pasquale opera buffa, which was composed within 11 days, is one of the composer's most successful works and remains enduringly popular.

Artistic Director of the Music Hall Theatre Fabio Mastrangelo, an Italian by origin, has initiated a new production. For the first time, he has decided to put an opera performance on stage of the theatre, having chosen a comic work by his compatriot Gaetano Donizetti Don Pasquale for this purpose. The Don Pasquale opera buffa, which was composed within 11 days, is one of the composer’s most successful works and remains enduringly popular.

‘Those who marry in old age have completely lost their marbles’ — these are the final words of the Don Pasquale opera. This ironic saying is a wise summary of misadventures of the main character, a rich elderly bachelor, who decided to marry and was deceived by his nephew Ernesto and Ernesto’s young fiancée Norina.

Don Pasquale is a typical example of the opera buffa genre. This is a magnificent sample of comedy, which is impressive even when used in such an academic art as opera, and the phenomenal success of this work is a fair tribute to the talent of its creator, the maestro Donizetti. The composer provided a highly precise musical definition for each character. Both the music and general concept of the performance awake the imagination of the director and designer and push them into experimenting. In his staging, the world-known Stage Director Hans-Joachim Frey (Austria) will show the audience sincerity and dramatic intensity of this comedy, which seems to be light-hearted at first sight. As envisioned by the director, the opera’s setting will be moved to Rome of the 1960s. The theatre’s stage will feature re-created romantic Italian surroundings, inspired by the atmosphere of films by the master of Italian cinema Federico Fellini. To ensure immersion into Rome’s sunny atmosphere, the Stage Designer Petr Okunev and Video Designer Vadim Dulenko will use eye-catching original video footage. In addition, projections will help to reflect an intricate inner world of the main characters on the screen. Movable scenery will be combined with video projections, which will make the performance extremely spectacular and dynamic.

The performance will boast a particular charm and some bohemian features thanks to costumes made by the Costume Designer Elena Badmaeva, a fashionable St. Petersburg couturier, who has also been inspired by looks from the films La Dolce Vita and Le notti di Cabiria by Fellini.

The audience will see a feast of life and theatre since the performance staged by the Music Hall Theatre has a funny plot and is full of subtle humour and comic disguise situations. The music by Donizetti lets the stage characters, who look as if they have come from commedia dell'arte, sparkle with incessant vigour. Mean, ridiculous, and charismatic Pasquale looks like a true Pantalone, while his nephew Ernesto resembles a permanently heartbroken and enamoured Pierrot. As for the smart trickster Malatesta, akin to ‘Brighella’, and the charming, but calculating ‘Colombine’ Norina, they team up for a dazzling duet, building up the suspense of this performance.



Scene 1.

The main character is Don Pasquale, an elderly rich bachelor who decides to marry. Don Pasquale is pacing around the room; he has decided to disinherit his nephew Ernesto. Dr Malatesta, an old friend of Don Pasquale, arrives.Malatesta has found just what Don Pasquale wants, a young girl willing to become his wife. It’s Sofronia, Malatesta’s sister. He describes her in the aria «Bella siccome un angelo» ("Beautiful like an angel").Don Pasquale is happy and delighted. He demands that his future wife be brought to him immediately. In his monologue, Don Pasquale already pictures himself as a father of six children.

A young Ernesto arrives. Ernesto refuses to marry a girl chosen for him by Don Pasquale as he is passionately in love with and devoted to Norina. Being annoyed, Don Pasquale threatens to ban Ernesto from home and tells his nephew that he himself plans to marry. Now Ernesto will be disinherited and not be able to marry Norina. Before leaving, downhearted Ernesto gives a piece of advice to his uncle: do not rush to get married without consulting Dr Malatesta. Don Pasquale admits that he has already done this and that he intends to marry the doctor's sister. Ernesto realises that Malatesta, whom he always trusted, has betrayed him.

Scene 2.

Norina's room. She reads a romance novel and praises herself for being well versed in the ways of love, just like the book’s heroine. She is delivered a letter from Ernesto. Malatesta runs into the room to tell her that his plan is bound to be a success. But Norina hands over to him Ernesto’s letter. Malatesta reads it aloud and finds out that the young man’s heart is broken. In his letter, Ernesto calls Malatesta a scoundrel, says that he will be robbed of his inheritance as a result of his uncle's marriage, and declares his intention to leave Rome and Europe as soon as possible.

Malatesta makes excuses. He promises that Ernesto will be very happy to stay when he learns about Malatesta’s new plan. The plan is to introduce Norina to Don Pasquale as Malatesta’s sister Sofronia, who actually lives in a nunnery and whom Don Pasquale has not ever met as well. Don Pasquale will be happy to marry her, and the cousin of Malatesta will conduct a fictitious marriage ceremony as a notary. Then Norina will make it so unbearable for Don Pasquale to live together that he will be desperate to run away from home.

Malatesta and Norina sing a duet in which the doctor instructs Norina how she should behave in her new role. First she should learn to play a modest rural girl, and then suddenly turn into a true harpy. The scene ends with the doctor and Norina having an infinite fun in anticipation of revenge on Don Pasquale.


Scene 1.

Don Pasquale’s house. Sad Ernesto sings a dramatic aria «Cerchero lontana terra» ("I shall seek a distant land").Believing him to be robbed of his inheritance and have lost his Norina forever, he decides to leave and end his days in grief and sorrow. Ernesto leaves.

Don Pasquale arrives. After sending away his servants, he is pacing around and admiring his ‘magnificent stature’: ‘If you are over seventy, never say you are tired ... step proudly and briskly…,’ he mumbles to himself, ‘then nobody will say that you are so old.’

Malatesta appears to introduce Norina as Sofronia to Don Pasquale; her face is veiled. Together they are singing a terzetto: she pretends to be frightened and almost fainting. Malatesta comforts her and urges her to summon up her courage, and Don Pasquale declares his delight, although he worries whether ‘the face under the veil is as charming as everything else.’ Norina skilfully plays the part of a shy girl that has just left the nunnery. Finally, she agrees to raise her veil. Don Pasquale is smitten. He proposes to her, and she accepts; Malatesta invites the notary. A witness is needed for signing the contract. They come across Ernesto. He almost thwarts the entire scheme. However, Malatesta is just in time to pull him aside and to reveal that the contract is a fake. Ernesto agrees to participate in this farce. The document is signed, and the notary goes away.

Unexpectedly for Don Pasquale, although in full compliance with Malatesta’s idea, Norina turns into a true harpy. She pushes Don Pasquale away when he tries to hug her, and tells him that he is too old. Then she orders that the servants’ wages be doubled and instructs the steward to hire twenty four more servants right away. She orders that a new carriage and new furniture be purchased. Meanwhile, Don Pasquale is moaning and groaning; he mumbles that all this will be his undoing. Delighted Ernesto and Malatesta congratulate each other; Don Pasquale curses his fate. The quartet turns into an epic culmination of the whole act.


Scene 1.

Don Pasquale is in despair. Norina, his fake new wife, has ordered gorgeous garments of all kind, and he has to pay the bills.

Norina enters and, without looking at Don Pasquale, says that she is going to visit the opera. Don Pasquale tries to prevent her from going, but receives a sharp rebuff. ‘Old men need to go to bed early,’ Norina says vindictively. She pushes him away and, after throwing the last insult at him, leaves, looking cheerfully and as though accidentally dropping a letter. Don Pasquale picks it up and reads it. This is a love message for the ‘dearest Sofronia’ indicating the time and place in the garden for a date. Outraged, Don Pasquale writes a note to Malatesta, informing him that he feels ill, and leaves the room.

New servants arrive. They are very excited and happy about being hired to this house, where they are so well paid. However, they must maintain decorum to continue working at this wonderful house. The servants leave.

Don Pasquale enters, bitterly complaining about his fate. He wants Ernesto to marry Norina. His ‘wife’ will squander all his fortune. And now she is going to have a date with her lover. In the duet, Malatesta presents his plan to Don Pasquale. ‘We'll catch them unawares in the garden,’ he says. "We’ll hide in the summerhouse to eavesdrop on your wife, and if she really sins, we’ll banish her.’ Don Pasquale considers this plan as too lenient. However, he agrees to kick his wife out if she is guilty, while Malatesta ironically promises that he will do his best to make this happen.

Scene 2.

A night at the garden of the Don Pasquale’s house. Ernesto sings a serenade to Norina, telling her about his passion – it’s a one of the most beautiful arias in the opera «Com’e gentil» ("How lovely"). Norina arrives. They sing a lyric duet together.

Don Pasquale and Malatesta arrive. Norina pretends to be scared. Don Pasquale and Malatesta start looking for her lover. Having failed to find anyone, Don Pasquale demands that Norina get out of his house, but she reminds him that this is her home. Malatesta announces that another lady is to enter the house tomorrow. This will be Ernesto's wife, Norina the ‘widow’. Sofronia, the fictitious wife of Don Pasquale (who is the same Norina), pretends to be outraged.

They invite Ernesto and say that his uncle permits him to marry Norina. Don Pasquale wishes to meet his nephew's bride. Malatesta brings Norina to him.

Malatesta explains everything to Don Pasquale. Don Pasquale is angry with them all, but allows himself to be persuaded by Norina and Ernesto and blesses their marriage.

Malatesta speaks up «Bravo, bravo, Don Pasquale», which is the beginning of the last quartet («La moral di tutto questo» — "The moral of all this"), in which everyone talks about how stupid it is of an old man to woo a young girl, as nothing good can come of this.

Schedule for Gaetano Donizetti "Don Pasquale" 2021-2022

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