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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Don Pasquale

The Met brings back Donizetti's comedy of love, marriage and other disasters.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Ambrogio Maestri (seated) and Levante Molnár ham it up in Don Pasquale.
Photo by Marty Sohl © 2016 The Metropolitan Opera.
The Met's last revival of Don Pasquale burned the house down. Now, a new cast led by Eleonara Buratto makes her Met debut and tenor Javier Camarena rises from the ashes. Mega-baritone Ambrogio Maestri sings the title role.

Gaetano Donizetti's Don Pasquale is one of the great opera comedies, filled with memorable melodies, a momentous title role and one of the fieriest heroines in opera buffa. And yet, the work has never quite made the front rank of opera comedies, falling just behind L'Elisir d'Amore and La Fille de Regiment. The title role is one of the greatest buffo roles for a baritone, filled with rich comic opportunities. And Norina, the heroine can be a star-making part. Here, Eleonara Buratto makes her met debut.

This is the classic story of a young suitor who is being prevented from getting married by his geriatric, randy and (very) single uncle. The marriage is saved by his fiancee Norina, an actress who pretends to be the Don's ideal bride (submissive, weak-willed and mild) until the wedding takes place. At that point, she turns into a spend-thrift domineering shrew. This story was used for a number of operas (including Richard Strauss' little-known comedy Die Schweigsame Frau) but in the end it is Don Pasquale that has endured.

This is a Metropolitan Opera revival of the classic, elaborate production of Otto Schenk, putting this intimate comedy in big. elaborate sets redolent of the Italian Renaissance. This is one of the last of Mr. Schenk's Met productions that is still in the company's repertory.

Don Pasquale returns to the Met on March 4, 2016.

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