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    Don Pasquale

    Santa Fe Opera


    "...embellished with wordly wit [and] melodic genius."
    –The Santa Fe Reporter

    Norina and Ernesto are young and very much in love, but Don Pasquale, Ernesto’s aging uncle, stands in their way. The road to matrimonial bliss is filled with outlandish pranks and beguiling melodies in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, one of the greatest of all Italian comic operas – a romantic romp with heart. In this ideally cast new production staged by the imaginative Laurent Pelly, the handsome young tenor Alek Shrader, who enchanted Santa Fe audiences in Albert Herring, portrays Ernesto; Brenda Rae, who made her Santa Fe Opera debut last year as Violetta in La Traviata, and Shelley Jackson, our 2nd year apprentice, are sharing the role of Norina. The eminent British baritone Andrew Shore, a great singer with comic flair who is remembered for his 2001 Santa Fe Falstaff, sings the title role. Corrado Rovaris, who led Donizetti’s very popular Elixir of Love in 2009, returns to conduct.

    8:30 pm June 28; July 4, 9,
    8:00 pm July 29; August 4, 9, 13, 19, 22


    Composer Gaetano Donizetti
    Librettists Gaetano Donizetti and Giovanni Ruffini

    Sung in Italian

    ACT I
    Don Pasquale, an aging bachelor, is frustrated with his nephew, Ernesto, for refusing to marry a wealthy spinster whom Pasquale had chosen for him to marry. Instead Ernesto loves Norina, a young widow. Don Pasquale decides to spite his nephew by marrying, disinheriting Ernesto and leaving him penniless. Don Pasquale’s friend Dr. Malatesta arrives, suggesting his younger sister as a bride. He boasts that she is angelic and just out of convent. Ernesto arrives, again refusing the spinster in favor of Norina. Pasquale says that Ernesto must leave his house after gloating to him of his own plans for marriage.

    While reading a romance novel on her terrace, Norina receives a letter from Ernesto about his troubles with Don Pasquale. She then receives a letter from Ernesto about his troubles. Malatesta arrives, plotting on the young lovers’ behalf. He suggests that Norina impersonate his sister. She shall marry Pasquale and drive him to desperation. Norina agrees.

    ACT II
    In Pasquale’ s house, Ernesto laments his loss of Norina, clueless to Malatesta’s scheme. As Ernesto leaves, Pasquale enters, preparing himself to meet his bride-to-be. Malatesta enters with “Sofronia,” who is really the disguised Norina. The couple signs the marriage contract, with Pasquale granting the disguised Norina half of his estate. Ernesto enters and is disturbed to find Norina marrying his uncle. Malatesta quickly explains the scheme, and Ernesto agrees to stand in as the best man. As the wedding contract is signed, Norina’s tone completely changes and she becomes difficult to handle.

    Pasquale is now burdened with his new wife’s spending habits. As she prepares to leave for the theater and he attempts to confront her, he receives a resounding slap for his efforts. As she leaves, she drops a letter from a suitor and a rendezvous that evening. Pasquale confides in Malatesta the troubles of his marriage. The Doctor advises Pasquale to surprise the lovers, and he agrees to leave all to Malatesta.

    In the garden, Ernesto serenades Norina, but they are found by Pasquale and Malatesta, just as Ernesto slips away. Norina acts innocent and refuses to leave at Pasquale’s demand. Malatesta suggests that the only way to make her leave would be for her to marry Ernesto, whom Sofronia hates. Ernesto emerges from Pasquale’s house, and Malatesta reveals that Sofronia is in fact Norina. Pasquale is happy to be freed of the imposter and he blesses the marriage of the young couple.


    • Don Pasquale - Gunter von Kannen
    • Dr. Malatesta - Dale Duesing
    • Dr. Malatesta - Thomas Hampson
    • Ernesto - Robert Gambill
    • A Notary - Nico Castel
    • Conductor - Raymond Leppard
    • Director - Anthony Besch
    • Scenic Designer - Steven Rubin
    • Costume Designer - John David Ridge
    • Lighting Designer - Craig Miller