Opera Scotland

Don Pasquale

Tours by decade

1840s - 1 tour

1849 - Italian Operatic Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1850s - 1 tour

1856 - Mr Beale's Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1860s - 1 tour

1860 - Mr Wood's Edinburgh Italian Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1920s - 1 tour

1927 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1960s - 5 tours

1963 - Teatro San Carlo, Naples
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1963 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1967 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1968 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
1969 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment

1970s - 5 tours

1970 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
1972 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1973 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1976 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1977 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1990s - 1 tour

1999 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment

2010s - 5 tours

2010 - English Touring Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2013 - Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Cinema Screening
2014 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2014 - Scottish Opera
Opera Unwrapped
2014 - Scottish Opera
Pre-show Talk

Tours by location

Scotland, UK - 65 entries

1849 - Italian Operatic Company
Glasgow
1856 - Mr Beale's Italian Opera Company
Edinburgh
1860 - Mr Wood's Edinburgh Italian Opera
Dundee
1927 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1927 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1963 - Teatro San Carlo, Naples
Edinburgh
1963 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1963 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Aberdeen
1963 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1967 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1967 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1968 - Scottish Opera
Rothesay, Isle of Bute
1968 - Scottish Opera
Glenalmond, Perth
1969 - Scottish Opera
Perth
1969 - Scottish Opera
Dollar
1969 - Scottish Opera
Crieff
1970 - Scottish Opera
Dundee
1972 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1972 - Scottish Opera
Stirling
1972 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1972 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1973 - Scottish Opera
Stirling
1973 - Scottish Opera
Perth
1973 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1973 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1976 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1977 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1977 - Scottish Opera
Perth
1977 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1999 - Scottish Opera
Dundee
1999 - Scottish Opera
Elgin, Moray
1999 - Scottish Opera
Cromarty
1999 - Scottish Opera
Thurso, Caithness
1999 - Scottish Opera
Kirkwall, Orkney
1999 - Scottish Opera
Poolewe
1999 - Scottish Opera
Ballachulish, Argyll
1999 - Scottish Opera
Galashiels
1999 - Scottish Opera
Arran
1999 - Scottish Opera
Dumfries
1999 - Scottish Opera
Stranraer, Wigtownshire
1999 - Scottish Opera
Helensburgh
1999 - Scottish Opera
Perth
1999 - Scottish Opera
Ayr
1999 - Scottish Opera
Linlithgow
1999 - Scottish Opera
Airdrie
1999 - Scottish Opera
Loch Ailort
1999 - Scottish Opera
Comrie
1999 - Scottish Opera
Banchory, Kincardineshire
1999 - Scottish Opera
Ellon, Aberdeenshire
1999 - Scottish Opera
Oban, Argyll
1969 - Scottish Opera
Linlithgow
2010 - English Touring Opera
Perth
2013 - Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Dundee
2013 - Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Banchory, Kincardineshire
2013 - Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Inverness
2013 - Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Perth
2013 - Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Aberfeldy
2013 - Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Edinburgh
2013 - Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Aberdeen
2014 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2014 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2014 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2014 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2014 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2014 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh

England, UK - 12 entries

1969 - Scottish Opera
Blandford Forum, Dorset
1970 - Scottish Opera
Clitheroe, Lancashire
1970 - Scottish Opera
Chester
1970 - Scottish Opera
Malvern, Worcestershire
1970 - Scottish Opera
Oundle, Peterborough
1972 - Scottish Opera
Leeds
1972 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1973 - Scottish Opera
Sunderland
1973 - Scottish Opera
Liverpool
1973 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1977 - Scottish Opera
York
1977 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Music
Gaetano Donizetti (born Bergamo, 29 November 1797; died Bergamo, 8 April 1848)

Text
Giovanni Ruffini and the composer.

Source
Libretto Ser Marc’ Antonio (1810) by Angelo Anelli for Pavesi's opera, not in itself an original idea.

Premières
First performance: Paris (Théâtre-Italien), 3 January 1843.
First UK performance: London (Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket), 1 June 1843.
First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Theatre Royal), 8 February 1856.
Scottish Opera première: Glasgow (King’s Theatre), 12 September 1972.

Background
Donizetti came from a poor background but his musical talent was recognised early. While Rossini was still active, until 1829, Donizetti maintained a busy career touring Italy as a jobbing opera composer. His first international success came in 1830 with Anna Bolena, by which time he had composed nearly half his output of around seventy works. His operas were mostly romantic tragedies, but he had great success with a small number of comic pieces. Don Pasquale is the last of these, composed after his conquest of Paris, and only a few months before a serious mental breakdown forced him to stop working. The original cast was a fabulous one of Grisi (Norina), Mario (Ernesto), Tamburini (Malatesta) and Lablache (Pasquale).

The opera is brilliantly composed throughout, starting with, for Donizetti, an unusually elaborate and delightful overture. The subject is a traditional plot, with an elderly bachelor being tricked into allowing his heir to marry the girl of his choice. A previous example might be Ben Jonson’s play Epicoene, or the Silent Woman (1609), used later by Richard Strauss for an opera, Die schweigsame Frau. Donizetti’s genius ensures that all four principal characters are rounded, three-dimensional humans who never quite forfeit the audience’s sympathy even when their behaviour seems quite unattractive.

Characters
Don Pasquale, a wealthy, elderly bachelor (bass)
Malatesta, his medical adviser (baritone)
Ernesto, Pasquale’s nephew and heir (tenor)
Norina, a young widow, Malatesta’s cousin (soprano)
A Notary (bass)

Plot Summary
Pasquale is angry with his nephew because of Ernesto’s refusal to marry the bride chosen for him and his wish to marry Norina, who is considered to be unsuitable. He decides to marry and disinherit the nephew. Malatesta recommends his own sister, straight from the convent. This turns out to be Norina, who is Malatesta’s cousin. A false marriage is performed by another of Malatesta’s relations in disguise, and Norina is instantly transformed into a viper who orders her new husband about, spends his money freely, and makes him thoroughly miserable. When the conspiracy is finally revealed he quickly agrees to reinstate Ernesto and let him marry as he chooses.

RECORDINGS

EMI (2 CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1987

Conductor: Riccardo Muti
Philharmonia Orchestra
Mirella Freni (Norina), Gösta Winbergh (Ernesto),
Leo Nucci (Malatesta), Sesto Bruscantini (Pasquale).

Riccardo Muti’s career has rarely taken him in the direction of opera buffa of the bel canto period. His explorations in that area have tended more towards the serious side of that art. However Don Pasquale was the opera of his Salzburg debut, when he was very young, and it is clearly a piece for which he has some affection. Right from the start of the wonderful overture he seems to be conducting with a permanent smile. The cast is nearly ideal. Leo Nucci is a bit dry-voiced and stiff as Malatesta, and perhaps it is a shame that Freni did not record Norina earlier. But Sesto Bruscantini is a natural at this kind of role, and at the end of his career he puts a world of experience into his interpretation. Anyone who knows of the tragically short-lived Swedish tenor Gösta Winbergh only from the heavier roles (such as Florestan in Fidelio and Walther in Meistersinger) which he sang later on will be astonished at the ease with which he sings such a light role as Ernesto.

RCA (2 CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1993

Conductor: Roberto Abbado
Munich Radio Orchestra
Eva Mei (Norina), Frank Lopardo (Ernesto), Thomas Allen (Malatesta), Renato Bruson (Pasquale).

Roberto Abbado has gradually built up a successful career as an opera conductor and gives a thoroughly stylish performance of Donizetti’s late masterpiece. The cast is well balanced, with Thomas Allen superb as Malatesta, and Renato Bruson showing an unexpected talent for comedy. The others give thoroughly enjoyable performances.

EMI and others (2 CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1932

Conductor: Carlo Sabajno
Orchestra of La Scala Milan
Adelaide Saraceni (Norina), Tito Schipa (Ernesto), Afro Poli (Malatesta), Carlo Badini (Pasquale).

Can it possibly be that an opera recording made eighty years ago can still be competitive? Of course the recording quality is not up to the standard we now expect. But that is not the point. The reason why this set remains fascinating, and probably the reason why it was made in the first place, is the great Tito Schipa. His performance really does repay the effort involved in searching out a copy of this. Saraceni is, of course, slightly shrill, but that is probably the effect of the recording. The others are fine, and Carlo Sabajno shows why he was so highly regarded between the wars.

The Cast

Carlo
 Malatesta's cousin, disguised as a Notary
Don Pasquale
 a wealthy, elderly bachelor
Ernesto
 Pasquale's nephew
Malatesta
 Pasquale's doctor and friend
Norina
 a young widow
Servant
 

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