Saturday, March 5, 2011


Radio New Zealand Concert network
Sunday 10th of April 2016 at 6 - 9 pm

Sunday 20th of July 2014 at 6 - 8.35 pm
Sunday 6th of March 2011 at 3 - 6 pm 

DONIZETTI: Don Pasquale, a comic opera in three acts
Don Pasquale............... Ambrogio Maestri
Norina.......................... Eleonora Buratto
Ernesto......................... Javier Camarena
Dr Malatesta................ Levente Molnár
Carlino......................... Bernard Fitch
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orch/Maurizio Benini

LIBRETTO (Italian)
RAVE (a website devoted to Anna Netrebko)

DONIZETTI: Don Pasquale, an opera in three acts
Pompous old Don Pasquale is furious at his nephew and heir Ernesto. Don Pasquale found Ernesto a wealthy bride, but Ernesto is in love with beautiful Norina, and will not look at another woman. Don Pasquale thinks Norina isn't rich enough for Ernesto. He's ordered his nephew to leave her, or lose his inheritance forever. This is the setting for a comic masterpiece that is economical, well-crafted, and hilarious, striking just the right balance between satire and compassion

Anna Netrebko  appeared in the performance shown in cinemas, and as usual she was a delight to watch. She is pictured in the still photographs from 2010 in RAVE, and seen in a moving picture here (Metropera YouTube). Anna at the Vienna Opera Ball with her husband, Erwin Schrott by name, and step-daughter, but not the baby, here)

This was the 64th (63rd?) opera of Gaetano Donizetti.

"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." (Wikipedia)

Do you remember it touring, in New Zealand, in miniature, in 2006?  Conal Coad was the old man.

   Act 1   Pasquale is an old bachelor (and a bass), who is very careful with his money, and should not be described as crusty or miserly, in my personal heartfelt opinion. He is thinking of getting married, siring a son (or six), and thereby disinheriting his nephew, Ernesto (the tenor), who has aroused his disapproval by desiring to marry a young widow named Norina (the soprano), for love and not money. His physician and friend, Doctor Malatesta ("bad head", the baritone), finds a wife for him, conspiratorily (but initially it seems to be a conspiracy of one). It is to be that same Norina, under a pseudonymous soubrettish soubriquet, Sofronia, posing as Malatesta's sister, supposedly fresh out of convent school, very meek, mild, and modest.
   When Ernesto hears about his disinheritance, he feels he is in no position to marry Norina now, and sends her a letter of farewell.
   Norina receives that distressing missive immediately after boasting to us and to her maids that she is such a sexy minx she can have any man she wants. Malatesta bursts in to disclose the plot, which I will refrain from telling you just yet. (The trouble with the plot [in the other sense] is that we are not left guessing what is going on, and so we have [unintended] sympathy for Pasquale as we watch him being duped.) They practise their parts for a mock marriage, soon to take place in the presence of a crooked notary, who draws up a marriage contract that is exceedingly favourable to the wife.
    Act 2  The blushing bashful bride is brought in, but veiled, and feigning reluctance. Ernesto arrives, is disconcerted, and shows his displeasure, but after being let into the secret he agrees to act as a witness to the counterfeited contract. The knot is tied (not a solid safe reef knot, but a granny's, which can easily be undone). The demure bride straightaway turns into an untamed shrew, demanding elaborate alterations to the house and starting out on a spending spree. All this is presumably in lieu of the requisite "mad scene".
   Act 3  Don Pasquale is telling Sofronia, all dressed up for an excursion, that she is not allowed to go out to the theatre. She smites him brutally on the face, causing him to contemplate divorce ("Divorzio", he murmurs sadly). She softens somewhat, but orders him to bed, alone. As she departs, she deliberately drops a note that will apprise him of an assignation in the shrubbery, between herself and Ernesto. He summons Dottore Malatesta, and they set off to catch the couple in flagrant deliction, or fragrant dereliction, or whatever (actually feinted fainting and simulated swooning, but not entirely a pretence of lovemaking).
   Ernesto sings his serenade in the garden. If you do not know it already, you will have heard it in the overture (I always confuse it with "O sole mio"); then we are treated to a love-duet.
   Aha! Caught in the act (3, scene 2). But Malatesta intervenes and suggests that Ernesto should be restored to favour and be allowed to marry Norina. Note that this will be her second marriage, not her third, as her second marriage was actually annulled (null and void) before it was enacted, and we may safely assume from Norina's behaviour that this one was not consummated.
   Don Pasquale takes it in good part (Ooh, I say, I have been a fool!). But will Norina revert to her Sofronia personality in future, we would like to know, before we declare this to be a jolly good happy ending.

 Sunday 6th of March 2011 at 3 - 6 pm
Don Pasquale................ John Del Carlo
Dr Malatesta................. Mariusz Kwiecien
Ernesto......................... Matthew Polenzani
Norina.......................... Rachelle Durkin
Notary.......................... Bernard Fitch
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orch/James Levine

STORYLINE (with pictures and sound)

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