The Royal Opera presents a new production of Donizetti’s comedy of domestic drama across two generations, exploring themes of love, intrigue and money. The witty story of a middle-aged man whose supposed young wife runs rings around him – with her own ulterior romantic purpose in mind – has long delighted and surprised audiences, not least through the sparkle of Donizetti’s music and the virtuoso skill of the vocal writing. Damiano Michieletto’s exhilarating production shows how contemporary Donizetti’s characters still appear, and how immediate and relevant the story remains. Set designs are by Paolo Fantin, costume designs by Agostino Cavalca and lighting design by Alessandro Carletti. The video designers are rocafilm (Roland Horvath and Carmen Zimmermann).
Don Pasquale, a wealthy old bachelor, is outraged when he hears his nephew Ernesto intends to marry the impoverished widow Norina. He determines to get married himself, and disinherit Ernesto in the process. Ernesto and Norina despair, but their friend Doctor Malatesta promises to help them – and to teach Pasquale a lesson. Malatesta persuades Norina to disguise herself as his sister, then presents her to Don Pasquale as a potential bride. Pasquale is so delighted with the young woman’s docile behaviour that he demands they marry at once. After a fake marriage with Don Pasquale, Norina torments him with her capricious behaviour. Things come to a head when Don Pasquale believes his young wife has been unfaithful – but what will he do next? And will he ever forgive Ernesto and Norina when he learns about their plot to trick him?
In this co-production between The Royal Opera, Opéra National de Paris and Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Welsh bass-baritone and Royal Opera favourite Bryn Terfel makes his role debut as the rich old bachelor Don Pasquale. His many roles for The Royal Opera have included Méphistophélès (Faust), Wotan/Wanderer (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Baron Scarpia (Tosca), Gianni Schicchi, the Dutchman (Der fliegende Holländer), Dulcamara (L’elisir d’amore), Boris Godunov and Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg). He returns later in the Season to sing Baron Scarpia. Award-winning Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko makes her Royal Opera debut as the object of his affections, Norina, with Romanian tenor Ioan Hotea (who made a last-minute debut with The Royal Opera in 2017 as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore) singing Norina’s young lover Ernesto. The singer of Doctor Malatesta will be announced shortly. Italian conductor Evelino Pidò conducts all performances.
Don Pasquale was last seen at the Royal Opera House in 2010 in a production by Jonathan Miller.
Don Pasquale opens on 14 October 2019, with subsequent performances on 18, 21, 24 and 30 October 2019 and 2 November at 7.45pm, and on 26 October at 12 noon
Don Pasquale will be broadcast live to cinemas throughout the UK and further afield on Thursday 24 October at 7.45pm, with an encore screening on Sunday 27 October at 2pm.
The opera will be sung in Italian with English surtitles. #ROHpasquale.