Opera Fusion, in collaboration with Gulfshore Opera, presented Gaetano Donizetti’s timeless comic opera DON PASQUALE at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center on February 16th.
Fully staged with a chamber orchestra under the musical direction of Greg Ritchey and stage director/production designer Ardean Landhuis, the stellar cast featured Tony Dillon as Don Pasquale, Laura Leon as Norina, Paul La Rose at Dr. Malatesta, and Zachery Morris and Ernesto. Here’s a gallery of the production. Photos courtesy of Chris Barbu.
Below are excepts of Robert Croan’s review of DON PASQUALE in the Palm Beach ArtsPaper
Critical praise from Palm Beach ArtsPaper’s Robert Croan for Don Pasquale, a co-production of Opera Fusion and Gulfshore Opera, at Pompano Beach Cultural Center Feb. 16
“Making optimum use of limited resources, the buoyant performance made a delightful evening and an excellent vehicle to introduce new audiences to opera – part of Opera Fusion’s stated mission. The production was in the original Italian, but excellent projected translations made every moment clear and understandable.”
“The most impressive singing – bel canto exemplified – came from the Norina, Laura León. A Florida Grand Opera resident artist from 2015-17, the Cuban-born soprano is now much more than that. A pert and lively figure on stage, she has a sizable, juicy sound, high notes to burn including sustained high Fs – think Queen of the Night and more – and is equally at home in legato singing and intricate coloratura. Her delivery of her opening aria, “Quel guardo il cavaliere,” would stand up to any I know, past or present.”
“The Pompano Center lacks a real stage or backstage facilities, but Ardean Landhuis worked miracles in the multiple tasks of stage director/set and lighting designer. The actors moved deftly on stage as his colorful utile set turned and twisted flexibly to produce the required indoor and outdoor venues.”
“The title part was taken by Tony Dillon, a veteran artist recently seen here in Florida Grand Opera’s La Bohème. He established the character as more than a stereotype, making the viewer aware of the disquietude of aging in his opening monologue, only morphing into the ludicrous in the lively “Un foco insolito” that concludes the segment. He still maintains a solid core of sound, and can produce lyric lines along with the fast patter that is the basso buffo’s stock in trade.”
“Greg Ritchey, associate conductor and chorus master of Palm Beach Opera, led an 11-piece orchestra that was somewhat taxed but worked valiantly, and an enthusiastic, well-trained eight-member chorus from Collier County’s Ave Maria University. An unexpected pleasure, in fact, was the droll choral interlude in the opera’s final act.”