‘with a sweet, fast vibrato, trills as neat as pinking shears and a prodigious appetite for the texture and flavour of the Italian language, Oropesa holds the performance.’

The Times

‘an evening of brilliant entertainment’

The Stage
  • Details

    The plot thickens as an old bachelor’s romantic delusions are dashed in a complex deception. This fast and funny comedy is a wonderfully accessible piece, perfect for a family outing.

    Best availability in late August.

    A story of deception, vanity and folly

    The old bachelor Don Pasquale decides to marry and produce an heir just to spite his disobedient nephew Ernesto, who insists on marrying for love rather than money.

    Pasquale’s friend Dr Malatesta provides the perfect bride. But Malatesta is a double agent, and nothing and nobody are quite what they seem. Chaos ensues, but love wins the day.

    Donizetti’s bel canto gem

    The perfect entertainment for a summer night, Don Pasquale is as effervescent and quintessentially Italian as a glass of Prosecco.

    Its irresistibly lilting score bursts with the feel-good tunes, long lyrical lines, daredevil florid singing and sheer vocal beauty that define the bel canto style.

    Mariame Clément’s colourful production, inspired by Les liaisons dangereuses, is set in the opera’s original 18th-century milieu, echoing the elegance of Donizetti’s music.

    Its period forms and contours are filled out with modern details that match the score’s playfulness.

    Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

    Enhance your experience

    Insider talk
    Defining a look – make-up and wigs in Don Pasquale, Monday 14 August

    Pre-performance talk
    Join us for a bite-sized overview of the opera on Wednesday 9 August

    Don Pasquale is generously supported by the Dunard Fund

  • Cast and creative team

    Creative team

    Conductor Giacomo Sagripanti
    Director Mariame Clément
    Designer Julia Hansen
    Lighting designer Bernd Purkrabek
    Revival lighting designer Andrew May

    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Leader Pieter Schoeman

    The Glyndebourne Chorus
    Chorus Master Jeremy Bines


    Don Pasquale Renato Girolami
    Dr Malatesta Andrey Zhilikhovsky
    Ernesto Andrew Stenson
    Norina Lisette Oropesa
    A Notary James Newby*+
    Servant Anna-Marie Sullivan

    *Soloist from The Glyndebourne Chorus
    + Jerwood Young Artist 2017

    Gaetano Donizetti – Don Pasquale (Critical Edition by P. Rattolino)
    Property of Casa Ricordi, Milan (Universal Music Publishing Group)
    By arrangement with G. Ricordi & Co. (London) Ltd.

  • Dates and times


    Date Start Long interval Finish Price band
    Thu 13 July 5.50pm 7.25pm 9.40pm 2
    Sat 15 July 5.50pm 7.25pm 9.40pm 2
    Tue 18 July 4.50pm 6.25pm 8.40pm 2
    Sat 22 July 4.50pm 6.25pm 8.40pm 2
    Tue 25 July 4.50pm 6.25pm 8.40pm 3
    Fri 28 July 5.50pm 7.35pm 9.40pm 2
    Sun 30 July 4.35pm 6.10pm 8.25pm 2


    Date Start Long interval Finish Price band
    Wed 2 August 4.50pm 6.25pm 8.40pm 3
    Sat 5 August 4.50pm 6.25pm 8.40pm 2
    Wed 9 August 4.50pm 6.25pm 8.40pm 3
    Mon 14 August 4.50pm 6.25pm 8.40pm 3
    Thu 17 August 4.50pm 6.25pm 8.40pm 3
    Sun 20 August 4.35pm 6.10pm 8.25pm 2
    Wed 23 August 4.50pm 6.25pm 8.40pm 3

  • 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.

    Words: George Hall