DON PASQUALE. Gaetano Donizetti
12, 15, 17, 19 October, 2019
The performance lasts about 2 hours 30 minutes, including one interval.
High Comedy with Bel canto
A century before Hollywood invented High comedy, Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848) transformed “Opera buffa” into a delightful and brilliant analysis of human nature. “Don Pasquale”, which was first performed in Paris in 1843, is a comedy with a narration in marvellous Bel canto. It looks at the hazards and vulnerability of old age and studies the lies and interests in love.
This three-act tragic comedy with a libretto by Donizetti and Giovanni Ruffini based on a work by Angelo Anelli, tells the story of a crazy old man in love with a young girl. In its Paris premieres it attempted to win back a part of the public which had enjoyed Rossini’s comedies but had become disenchanted with the transformations and innovations under way in the world of opera. The experiment of telling this sort of story –one that has been told a thousand times over- worked because “Don Pasquale” belongs to a small group of Donizetti’s operas which never disappear from theatre programmes.
How did this happen? The characters of the story are aging bachelor Don Pasquale, his nephew Ernesto and sweetheart Norina, who is a young widow and lastly, wily Doctor Malatesta. They converge to tell us a story of love with all its various intrigues. The reality is quite a serious drama. However, it is all encased in a hilarious and unashamed atmosphere of an eternal story in literature: the case of a mad old man who is disturbingly in love with a young woman.
“This is frolicsome, witty, absolutely delightful music”, writes Paul Henry Lang in his description of this title by the energetic composer who masterfully combined the voices in an orchestral score in a “nearly Mozartian” manner. Accordingly, the recitatives, cavatinas and ensembles alternate with emotion, high spirits and intensity in an Opera buffa that retains all its vigour, according to Lang. It works, he concludes, “as long as we have singers and orchestra conductors who are able to transmit its spirit”
The stars in Seville are bass-baritone Carlos Chausson (Zaragoza, 1950) a singer who understands all the intricacies of “canto buffo” and Stage Director Laurent Pelly (Paris, 1962), who has many satirical productions in his catalogue. He is a brilliantly imaginative scenographer who penetrates the serious side of a comedy. This production of “Don Pasquale” is shared between the opera houses of Santa Fe, San Francisco Opera and the Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona.
Conducting the Seville Symphony Orchestra ROSS and the Chorus of the theatre (Coro de la A.A. del Teatro de la Maestranza) is Corrado Rovaris (Bérgamo). He is the Musical Director of the Philadelphia Opera Company and an expert in this repertory. The voices of Joan Martín-Royo, Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani, Sara Blanch y Francisco Escala round out the cast.
En torno a Don Pasquale
With Asociación Sevillana de Amigos de la Ópera (ASAO)
SALA DE PRENSA
11 October, 2019
Pierangelo Pelucchi and Manuel Busto
Sala de prensa (Access via the theatre reception entrance)
Free of charge until complete capacity
Don Pasquale, a penny-pinching old bachelor, impatiently awaits the return of his friend doctor Malatesta who he has counted on to find a wife. The doctor arrives with the good news that he has found just the woman: beautiful, young, modest, and submissive. What is more, she happens to be the doctor’s sister, Sofronia, she will leave the convent this very night to arrange the marriage with Don Pasquale. The aging bachelor can hardly believe his luck and after saying good-bye to the doctor, he gives free rein to delirious happiness. He calls his nephew and asks if he would be willing to marry the rich young girl his uncle offers him. Ernesto declines because he is in love with Norina, a young, but poor, widow. With his negative response, Don Pasquale announces the boy will be disinherited and will have to leave the house. Don Pasquale will marry Malatesta ‘s sister. Ernesto had believed the doctor was a faithful friend, now he expresses desperation at what he believes to be a cruel betrayal.
At home, Norina is enjoying reading a romantic story; she also knows about the charms of love and how a look can captivate the heart of a man. A servant comes in with a letter from Ernesto: it informs her about the forthcoming marriage of Don Pasquale and how he, Ernesto, intends to leave the country that very day. Fortunately, at this very moment, Malatesta arrives unannounced. He calms Norina down and explains that the marriage plan for Don Pasquale is a plot to outwit the old miser. Ernesto does not know this yet and that is why he is so upset; he will be told the real story soon. It is a simple plan: Norina will impersonate his (non-existent) sister Sofronia and a friend of Malatesta will disguise himself as a notary to draw up the false. Finally, this old curmudgeon will be taught a lesson!
Ernesto is ready to depart; he expresses his sadness and unwavering love for Norina. When Don Pasquale comes in with orders to the servants for his first meeting with the sister of Malatesta, Ernesto takes his leave. A little later, Norina, arrives, hidden behind a veil and accompanied by the doctor. Right away, Don Pasquale is enraptured by this young girl of shy and respectful manner whose only interest is to pass the day in the kitchen, cleaning the house, or working on her embroidery. Norina removes her veil and Don Pasquale is completely besotted. When she accepts the marriage, he cannot contain himself and immediately calls for the notary. Naturally, Malatesta had foreseen this and the notary enters at once to write out the marriage contract. Ernesto, who has come back in the meantime – having been secretly informed of the situation by Malatesta - agrees to act as a witness, even though his heart is not completely at ease. Once the document has been signed and the notary has left, the bride’s personality changes altogether. She rejects her husband, negates his authority, requests young Ernesto to accompany her, demands more servants at double their salaries, and orders the house be renovated. Malatesta pretends to be surprised, Ernesto understands the scheme, and the two lovers share their joy on the side. Don Pasquale, on the other hand, is thoroughly despondent.
The house of Don Pasquale is in total disorder, the new servants rushing about with the wife’s purchases of furs, flowers, and perfume. Norina is getting ready to go to the theatre. An angry Don Pasquale tries to impose his marital authority by forbidding this. They argue and eventually the young girl slaps her “husband” who, by now, has totally lost interest in his “wife”. Pasquale starts to think about how to get rid of Norina. He threatens the girl: if she leaves, there is no need to return. Norina is also upset for having to behave in such a way, however the stingy old man deserves a good lesson. Before going out, she drops a letter, as if by accident: it is an invitation from Ernest to meet in the garden that night. After reading the note, Don Pasquale calls the doctor for advice. They decide to take the young lovers by surprise during their evening encounter: this will give Don Pasquale the motive for divorce and put an end to this impossible state of affairs once and for all.
In the garden, Ernesto sings a serenade to draw the attention of Norina. She appears and the two declare their love. Don Pasquale and the doctor make their surprise entrance however Ernesto has just enough time to slip away without being recognised. Norina must deal with the matter. In the next scene, Malatesta manages to convince Don Pasquale that the only way to get rid of the bothersome presence of Sofronia is for Ernesto to marry his beloved Norina. That way there will be another woman in the house. The old man is prepared to do whatever it takes to be freed of his wife. He accepts the marriage and will assign an annual stipend. Ernesto comes in, Norina reveals her real identity, and Malatesta explains the hoax. The story ends happily as Don Pasquale forgives everyone and gives his blessing to the young couple.
12, 15, 17, 19 October, 2019
PRICE LIST A: Friday, Saturday
PRICE LIST B: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday (except before public holidays)
PRICES: PRICE LIST A / PRICE LIST B
Stalls (Patio) 130€ / 120€
Balcony (1ª Balcón) 125€ / 115€
Balcony (2ª Balcón) 112€ / 104€
Terrace (1ª Terraza) 100€ / 93€
Terrace (2ª Terraza) 87€ / 80€
Slips (1ª Paraíso) 80€ / 74€
Slips (2ª Paraíso) 70€ / 62€
Slips (3ª Paraíso) 60€ / 49€
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