Don Pasquale (Opera by Gaetano Donizetti)
Don Pasquale (Opera by Gaetano Donizetti)
Opera in three acts
Libretto by Giovanni Ruffini based on Angelo Anelli"s libretto "Ser Marcantonio"
Music Director: Michal Klauza
Stage Director: Timofey Kulyabin
Set Designer: Oleg Golovko
Costume Designer: Galya Solodovnikova
Lighting Designer: Denis Solntsev
Chief Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
Dramaturge: Ilya Kukharenko
Premiered on April 19, 2016.
St. Jerome University, Rome, present day.
Scene One. The University
Don Pasquale, a renowned scholar and a confirmed bachelor, makes a decision to marry on the brink of his 70th birthday.
He receives Dr Malatesta, who offers him his sister Sofronia as a bride-to-be. The girl was raised in a convent and is full of virtue. Inflamed Pasquale sends Malatesta to fetch her.
The bridegroom is anxious to share the happy news with his subordinates and his nephew Ernesto. The uncle and the nephew have been in conflict for a long time. Don Pasquale threatens to cut Ernesto off and even disinherit him by marrying, if Ernesto keeps resisting the good match arranged by his uncle, but the young man remains true to his love for the penniless young widow Norina.
Knowing now that Don Pasquale"s marriage is no blind threat, Ernesto is in turmoil. In addition he learns from his uncle that his friend Malatesta betrayed him by arranging Don Pasquale"s betrothal.
Insulted by his nephew"s obstinacy and derision, Don Pasquale cuts him off and kicks him out.
Scene Two. Norina"s flat
Norina spends her morning reading romantic novels and imagining herself as a heroine, when she is delivered a message from Ernesto. He bids his farewell as he is going to leave the country. The woman"s plans to marry him are ruined.
Malatesta arrives and comforts Norina"s distress: his new plan is to wed Norina to Don Pasquale by disguising her as a meek and virtuous Sofronia. Malatesta"s cousin Carlotto is to impersonate a notary. Once the fake marriage contract is signed, Norina is to make the old man"s life insufferable, so that he comes to his senses and agrees to his nephew"s marriage with Norina.
Malatesta and Norina rehearse the behaviour of the simple and naive girl Sofronia and discuss the details of their plot.
Ernesto says goodbye to his alma mater where he spent his adolescence, and composes another farewell letter to his beloved.
Don Pasquale prepares to meet his bride. Malatesta introduces Norina as the shy Sofronia. Don Pasquale is enchanted and implores Malatesta to fetch a notary without delay and conclude the marriage contract.
Carlotto arrives disguised as a notary. Rejoicing, Don Pasquale assigns half of his property to his new wife and bequeaths all his estate to be administrated by her.
As they proceed to sign the contract, Ernesto rushes in to say goodbye to his uncle. He is shocked to find out that Norina is the bride: Malatesta did not warn him beforehand thinking he was already away. Now Malatesta has to drag Ernesto in off the cuff. Eventually Malatesta makes Ernesto sign the marriage contract as the final witness.
After the formal part is completed, Norina stops pretending docile, positions herself in charge and confronts Don Pasquale, then summons his personnel and gives them absurd orders. Puzzled, the University staff has to obey. Don Pasquale is dismayed at his bride"s transformation and feels that he was betrayed, but the contract is already concluded.
Scene One. The University
Norina and Malatesta have changed the plan of the upcoming celebration of Don Pasquale"s birthday and are now preparing a new programme for the event. The whole University watches the preparations in astonishment. Don Pasquale has to pay countless bills.
He spots Sofronia/Norina leave the building dressed in an evening frock. Despite all the quarrels Don Pasquale still hopes to set things right with his young wife on their wedding night. He tries to stop her, but she mocks him and slaps him in the face. He is in despair. Sofronia/Norina goes away but secretly leaves behind a fake note from a lover about a date that night. Don Pasquale is mad with jealousy.
Don Pasquale"s employees discuss the new establishment and constant fighting between the spouses.
Malatesta sends Ernesto to the garden to impersonate Sofronia"s lover. Don Pasquale arrives. He is broken and devastated. He complains to Malatesta about Sofronia"s severity and harshness and accuses his wife of adultery. He wants to catch her in flagrante and call the police.
Malatesta consoles Don Pasquale and persuades him to keep the matter silent: if Sofronia is caught, she might quietly concede to divorce. Don Pasquale agrees with this plan and aspires for revenge and redemption.
Scene Two. The "garden"
Ernesto sings a serenade to Sofronia pretending to be her lover. Then he and Norina sing a love duet to attract Don Pasquale"s attention, and Ernesto hides away.
Don Pasquale"s hopes to catch both Sofronia/Norina and her lover are ruined as he finds her alone. She is outraged and denies all his accusations, as well as his claims for divorce. Don Pasquale is desperate to break the marriage bonds. Malatesta offers his help, provided that he is given a free hand.
In Don Pasquale"s presence Malatesta tells Sofronia that soon she will have to share her authority as a mistress with Norina, Ernesto"s future wife. Sofronia takes this ill. It is she who demands a divorce now. Pasquale is anxious to secure it by arranging his nephew"s wedding right away and even providing the couple with a substantial sum of money. He summons Ernesto to wed him to Norina at once.
Ernesto arrives. He, Norina and Malatesta confess their fraud. Don Pasquale is relieved to learn that his marriage was fake and that Sofronia is in fact Norina. He pardons everyone and gives his blessing to the loving couple.
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