Comic opera by Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Giovanni Ruffini
Premiere at the Estonian National Opera on September 25, 2020
Don Pasquale, a wealthy old bachelor, is outraged when he hears his nephew Ernesto intends to marry the impoverished widow Norina. He determines to marry himself and disinherit Ernesto. Ernesto and Norina despair, but their friend Doctor Malatesta comes to aid in order to teach Pasquale a lesson. They plot an intricate plan: Malatesta persuades Norina to disguise herself as his sister, then presents her to Don Pasquale as a humble and obedient bride to be. Pasquale is delighted! They are immediately married by a fake notary, after which she turns into a she-devil making Don Pasquale bitterly regret his decision … How it all ends is a mystery even to the characters themselves!
Since its premiere, “Don Pasquale” has delighted audiences worldwide. At the time when opera buffa was on the wane, with its stock characters drawing largely on Pantalone, Harlequin, Pierrot, etc Donizetti created a thoroughly comic situational comedy with psychologically differentiated, highly contradictory individuals packed with emotional vulnerability. Giorgio Bongiovanni’s exhilarating production shows how contemporary the characters still are and how immediate and touching the story remains.