With its score as bubbly and light as a glass of champagne, Don Pasquale is just the thing for the festive season: a time when the Opera looks like a huge Xmas gift placed at the foot of the Christmas tree in Place Stanislas.
Don Pasquale is a grumpy old curmudgeon who plans to marry a beautiful young penniless widow. But the latter proves to be more stubborn than she first appears, and love triumphs in the end. From Carlo Goldoni to Ettore Scola, such a scenario has always been a staple of Italian comedy. It provides the backdrop for one of those irresistible operas in which the twists and turns of the plot unfold at a frenzied pace.
By 1843, Donizetti had already written some seventy operas. Don Pasquale was one of his last masterpieces. It also marks the twilight of opera buffa: in fact, the story of this old man from another age also marks the end of an era for this genre, which had seen its most joyous hours with Rossini and was now shooting forth its last sparks.
I know a thousand and one ways to cheat with love…Don Pasquale
Everything seemed easy for the composer at the height of his artistic powers, as he combined graceful melodies with the most refined orchestration. Five years later, Donizetti would be carried off by insanity. He took his final bow with this score, which seems to whisper to us to seize the moment with every note.
The title role is sung by Lucio Gallo, a regular performer on major stages, and that of Norina by the vivacious Vuvu Mpofu. Tim Sheader, a Briton who made his debut with the Royal Shakespeare Company before pursuing an eclectic career that ranges from theatre to musical comedy, will be directing this work that is all about pleasure. We're sure his Don Pasquale will hold some wonderful surprises for young and old alike. A hint? Giant snowmen.
2 h 30 with interval
5 — 85 €
in Italian, surtitles
All audiences from 7 years
Introduction to the performance
45 minutes before the start of the performance (free of charge, upon presentation of ticket).
Audiodescription performance on Thursday 21 December at 8pm - booking on 03 83 85 30 60
Don Pasquale, opera buffa in three acts
First performed at Théâtre-Italien in Paris, on 3 January 1843
Opéra national de Lorraine
Opéra de Rouen Normandie, Opéra Nice Côte d'Azur
William Le Sage
* soloist from the Opera Chorus