DON PASQUALE

Join us on February 16th for Gaetano Donizetti’s timeless comic opera DON PASQUALE at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center.

Opera Fusion is collaborating with Gulfcoast Opera to bring this delightful production to the Pompano Beach Cultural Center, fully staged with a chamber orchestra.  Tickets are $25, $35, and $45 in advance at CCPompano.org or at the door.

CAST
Don Pasquale:  Tony Dillon
Norina/Sofronia: Laura Leon
Dr. Malatesta: Paul La Rosa
Ernesto:  Peter Lake
DON PASQUALE: Tony Dillon
NORINA: Laura Leon
DR. MALATESTA: Paul La Rosa
ERNESTO: Peter Lake
PRODUCTION TEAM:
Conductor: Greg Ritchey
Stage Director/Set & Lighting Designer: Ardean Landhuis
Greg Ritchey
Ardean Landhuis
Read more about the opera:
Don Pasquale is an opera buffa in three acts by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti with a libretto by Donizetti and Giovanni Ruffini.  It premiered at the Théâtre Italien in Paris on January 3, 1843.  The premiere was a smashing success, and was quickly produced across the great opera houses of Europe. It was the last triumph that the composer would enjoy.  Don Pasquale was the third to last opera of the composer’s 60 operas. Widely regarded as a masterpiece of comic operas of the period, Don Pasquale remains a fixture among the world’s opera houses.
As was Donizetti’s pattern, Don Pasquale was composed very quickly. The cast was handpicked from the most famous singers of the day, many having appeared in other works by the composer. The buoyancy of the music and story provides a truly enjoyable evening of entertainment for the audience, but the work poses formidable challenges for the performers.  It is filled with bright and colourful vocal writing and skillful depiction of plot and character. The characters derive from types that were common in the many comic operas of the period: a clever leading lady, her winsome admirer, an old buffoon who hopes to outwit them, and a conniving fellow who takes the side of the young lovers.
Donizetti, Gaetano
Gaetano Donizetti

Synopsis

Don Pasquale is set in Rome in the mid-19th century.

Act I

Scene 1. A room in Don Pasquale’s house.

Don Pasquale, an elderly bachelor, is anxiously waiting for Dr. Malatesta, who is hoping that he will help him find a wife.  Don Pasquale is upset with his rebellious nephew, Ernesto, who wants to marry the beautiful Norina.  Don Pasquale wants to subvert his efforts and produce heirs of his own.  Malatesta, who is also a friend of Ernesto’s, arrives and tells Don Pasquale he has found a pure, young woman — Malatesta’s sister “Sofronia”.  Pasquale is delighted and fantasizes about the children he will have with her.  Ernesto enters and Pasquale reminds the young man that since he refused to marry a certain wealthy lady Ernesto will be disinherited. Ernesto professes his love for Norina, but Pasquale considers her unworthy. Pasquale, reporting that he now has plans to marry Sofronia, kicks Ernesto out of the house. Ernesto, is crushed and to keep Norina from a life poverty and misery, Ernesto decides to give her up.

Scene 2. Norina’s house.

Norina is found reading in her garden reading, and laughs at the wiles of the women in the novel, she comparing their cunning with her own.  A sorrowful farewell letter from Ernesto arrives  just as Malatesta comes in, describing his plot against Don Pasquale. Malatesta promises to let Ernesto in on the secret: Norina, disguised as Malatesta’s sister Sofronia, will marry Pasquale—under a fake contract.  Sofronia will then drive Pasquale crazy and be desperate to be rid of her.  Norina agrees and Malatesta assures her that Ernesto will benefit from the plan as well.

Act II

A room in Don Pasquale’s house.

Ernesto is inconsolable: without a home, without Norina, and without his friend Malatesta, whom he believes has betrayed him.  He decides to go into leave Rome.  Don Pasquale eagerly awaits the arrival of his bride. Malatesta arrives with the shy, trembling girl—Sofronia; Pasquale is thrilled. The three work out the details of the marriage, and Malatesta dictates the fake marriage contract to the “notary” (actually Malatesta’s cousin), which  contains a clause that Pasquale will leave half his property to “Sofronia.” should they divorce.  Pasquale is so excited to have Sofronia as his wife.  Ernesto bursts in. Pasquale, who needs a witness to the marriage introduces his bride to Ernesto. Ernesto is shocked to see Norina, but Malatesta assures him that everything is being done for his sake. The marriage contract is signed.  Pasquale tries to embrace “Sofronia,”but she repels him. Ernesto laughs, and Pasquale orders him to leave.

Sofronia drops her demure ways and turns on Pasquale, accusing him of rudeness and vowing to teach him how to behave. Pasquale is stunned at the sudden change.  “Sofronia” declaims that she is in charge of the house now. Pasquale bemoans his fate as Norina and Ernesto laugh at his misfortune.

Sofronia orders the butler to hire more staff and increase their wages, which enrages Pasquale. She orders carriages, new furniture, wigmaker, dressmaker, and jeweler. When Pasquale asks who is going to pay for all this, she calmly tells him that he will. He refuses, which causes Sofronia to unleash a barrage of name calling.  Malatesta tries to calm Pasquale, while Norina and Ernesto secretly declare their love for each other.

Act III

Scene 1. The same room in Don Pasquale’s house.

Pasquale is surrounded by a pile of his wife’s bills amid a room filled with new furniture.  Sofronia prepares to leave for the theater, but Pasquale orders her to her room.  In the ensuring argument, Sofronia slaps him; Pasquale is stunned.  Pasquale thunders that he wants a divorce. Sofronia leaves, dropping a letter as she goes.  Pasquale picks up the letter and discovers plans for a tryst that evening between his wife and an unknown lover in the garden.  Pasquale stalks out and sends for Malatesta.  The servants are bemused by the antics in the house.

Malatesta is honestly shocked to find Don Pasquale so pale, thinking that the practical joke has taken its toll. Pasquale things that he is dying and regrets his falling out with his nephew.  He shows Malatesta the letter, who pretends to be horrified at his sister’s behaviour. Pasquale plans entrap Sofronia and her lover in the garden.  Malatesta comes up with the idea of eavesdropping on the lovers, and Pasquale agrees, even though it will be Pasquale who will be caught in the trap.

Scene 2. A garden near Don Pasquale’s house.

Ernesto serenades Norina in the garden and they tenderly declare their love for each other.  Pasquale and Malatesta are hiding in the background.  Pasquale emerges and confronts Sofronia, who screams for help. Ernesto, sneaks away to avoid being discovered. Sofronia denies that anyone was with her; Pasquale and Malatesta search the garden without discovering her lover. Pasquale insists that she leave his house, but Sofronia insists that the house is hers.  Malatesta tells Pasquale to leave everything up to him. Malatesta then tells his “sister” that Ernesto’s betrothed, Norina, will live in the house after the wedding.  Sofronia is outraged at the notion that such a hussy as Norina would share her house with her and she demands proof that the marriage will take place. Malatesta tells Pasquale that they must have the marriage performed immediately so that Sofronia will consent to leave. Pasquale agrees. Malatesta calls for Ernesto, who speedily arrives and is over joyed that his uncle has finally consented to the wedding. Malatesta reveals that Norina and Sofronia are one and the same.  He explains to the stunned old man that he was never really married; it was all a trick. Pasquale blusters but is secretly relieved.  Norina and Ernesto ask for his forgiveness, and he gives them his blessing. They all acknowledge the moral of the tale, that an old man is foolish to marry.