'This Don Pasquale is the complete package.'

Mark Valencia , What's on Stage October 14, 2015

‘Deft and absorbing’

Edward Bhesania , The Stage October 12, 2015
  • Details

    A critically acclaimed revival directed by Mariame Clément, this opulent period staging catches the sparkling essence of Donizetti’s tuneful tale of an old bachelor’s romantic delusions and the young lovers who outwit him.

    Pasquale, a man no longer in the first flush of youth, hopes to marry and produce an heir, being dissatisfied with the current holder of that position, his nephew Ernesto, who has had the audacity to fall in love with Norina, an impoverished widow. The plot thickens, twists and turns as Pasquale’s supposed friend Dr Malatesta assists Ernesto and Norina in complex and increasingly vindictive deception.

    Don Pasquale’s witty musical score combines graceful lyricism with rollicking comedy, all fuelled by the seductive rhythm of the waltz.

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  • Dates & times
  • Cast and creative team

    Creative team

    Conductor Duncan Ward / Gareth Hancock (24, 26 Nov)
    Director Mariame Clément
    Revival director Paul Higgins
    Designer Julia Hansen
    Lighting designer Bernd Purkrabek
    Revival lighting designer Andrew May
    Assistant conductor Gareth Hancock
    Music preparation Nicholas Bosworth, Steven Maughan, Duncan Williams
    Language coach Barbara Diana
    Supertitles Ian Julier
    Staff director Rachael Hewer
    Costume supervisor Kate Vaughan
    Wig supervisor Sheila Slaymaker
    Head of Make-up Sarah Piper

    Cast includes

    Don Pasquale José Fardilha
    Dr Malatesta John Brancy
    Ernesto Tuomas Katajala
    Norina Eliana Pretorian
    A Notary Timothy Nelson (Jerwood Young Artist 2015, member of the Glyndebourne Chorus)
    Servant Anna Marie Sullivan

    Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra
    Leader Richard Milone

    The Glyndebourne Chorus
    Chorus master Jeremy Bines

  • Synopsis

    Act I

    The elderly bachelor Don Pasquale, at his house in Rome, awaits his friend Dr Malatesta, who has arranged a marriage for him. The bride, Malatesta tells him, is beautiful and innocent, and happens to be Malatesta’s sister.

    Don Pasquale reminds his nephew Ernesto that he has offered to wed him to a wealthy lady on pain of disinheritance if he refuses. Ernesto refuses again; he intends to marry the impoverished Norina.

    At home, Norina scoffs at a romantic novel. Malatesta arrives and tells her of the scheme he has hatched to help her and Ernesto marry. Norina will be introduced to Pasquale as Malatesta’s sister Sofronia, fresh from the convent. After they are ‘married’ by a false notary, Pasquale will be at their mercy.

    Act II

    Disowned by Pasquale, Ernesto feels he cannot ask Norina to share his poverty.

    Malatesta arrives at Pasquale’s house with ‘Sofronia’, apparently shy and afraid of men. Pasquale proposes and she accepts. Malatesta’s false notary draws up the contract, making Sofronia mistress of the house and owner of half of Pasquale’s goods. The ceremony done, Sofronia instantly transforms into a domineering, spendthrift shrew and appoints Ernesto her escort.

    Act III

    Don Pasquale, his home completely revamped by Norina/Sofronia, examines the bills with horror. Norina enters, dressed up to go to the theatre. Pasquale tries to stop her, but ‘Sofronia’ treats him harshly. As she leaves, she deliberately drops a piece of paper. Pasquale discovers that it is a note from Sofronia’s lover arranging a tryst in the garden that evening. Pasquale sends for Malatesta and shows him the note. They agree to confront the lovers in the garden that night.

    Later, in the garden, Ernesto serenades Norina, and they sing of their love. Pasquale and Malatesta spy on them and then ambush them, but Ernesto escapes unrecognised. ‘Sofronia’ denies her guilt and refuses to leave, but Malatesta persuades her that she cannot stay, as Norina is to arrive tomorrow as Ernesto’s bride. Pasquale is thus forced to accept Ernesto’s chosen wife in order to get rid of his own. When the truth is finally revealed, Pasquale forgives the youngsters and all are reconciled.