Don Pasquale - Bucharest Opera House - 30.05.2009

......Don Pasquale is an opera buffa, or comic opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The composer Giovanni Ruffini wrote the Italian libretto after Angelo Anelli's libretto for Stefano Pavesi's Ser Marcantonio (1810).
......At the time of its composition, Donizetti had just been appointed music director and composer for the imperial court of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria, and Don Pasquale was the 64th of an eventual 66 operas he composed.
......The opera, in the tradition of opera buffa, harks back to the stock characters of the commedia dell'arte. Pasquale is recognizable as the blustery Pantalone, Ernesto as the lovesick Pierrot, Malatesta as the scheming Scapino, and Norina as a wily Columbina. The false Notary echos a long line of false officials as operatic devices.

......Don Pasquale was first produced on 3 January 1843 at the Théâtre Italien in Paris.

And the premiere at the Bucharest Opera House took place on May 30th.
The Cast
Irina Iordachestu (Norina)
Sorin Draniceanu (Don Pasquale)
Florin Simionica (Malatesta)
Ernesto (Valentin Racoveanu)
......Mrs Iordachescu was perfect for this part. Almost everybody did a good job. With one exception, the tenor. But let's say it wasn't his best evening.
......An A+ for the young director, Mr Rareş Zaharia. I don't know what he did and how he did it, but all the "dust" on the stage, singers and choire was gone. Everything was new, fresh... just like it is supposed to be. Well done!
And some pictures I took during the second and third act. All the pictures are taken from the blacony, row 22, seat 24.
Place: Rome
All the events of the opera take place in a single day. The young man Ernesto is in love with the lovely but penniless Norina and has refused to marry a "more suitable" woman chosen for him by his rich uncle Don Pasquale. The old man accordingly plans to wed and produce his own heirs, cutting Ernesto off from his inheritance. Pasquale's physician, Dr. Malatesta, suggests his sister, Sofronia, a convent girl, as the bride, all the while scheming to dupe the old man into allowing Ernesto's marriage to Norina. The Don happily accepts the proposal. Malatesta has Norina disguise herself as Sofronia and sign a fake marriage contract before a false notary. At this point Norina transforms from the shy convent girl into a complete shrew, turning Pasquale's life upside down, hiring hordes of new servants and spending money left and right. She makes life so miserable for the old man that he is actually relieved when he discovers that he has been duped, and that he has not really married Norina. He repudiates his desire for marriage and consents to the union of his nephew with Norina.

Act 2
Sorin Draniceanu as Don Pasquale
Malatesta and Norina (Simionica&Iordachescu) Don Pasquale and Malatesta (Draniceanu&Simionica)

Act 3

I'll go see it again in the fall. And look for Bogdan Mihai in the cast.

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