Gaetano Donizetti • April 27, 30 and May 3, 5, 2019
Donizetti’s comic opera Don Pasquale has been entertaining and delighting audiences worldwide since the mid-1800s. The story concerns old and wealthy bachelor Don Pasquale, who has been the caretaker of his nephew, Ernesto, for some time.
Pasquale attempts to secure Ernesto’s future by arranging a marriage between Ernesto and a “proper” girl. However, Ernesto is in love with the young widow Norina, and refuses to marry Pasquale’s suggested bride. With the help of their friend Dr. Malatesta, Ernesto and Norina set out to trick Don Pasquale into letting them marry after all.
Dr. Malatesta has Norina impersonate his sweet, innocent sister and marry Pasquale in a fake wedding. She then drives Pasquale up the wall with a series of outrageous antics until he is at her mercy and will agree to anything to get rid of her.
Pittsburgh Opera will give audiences a fresh take on this classic comedy, with a production set in 1950s Hollywood that has never before been performed in Pittsburgh.
Gary Thor Wedow conducts. Chuck Hudson directs.
Javier Abreu**: Ernesto
Joshua Hopkins+: Dr. Malatesta
Tyler Zimmerman*: Notary
The Artistic Team
Conductor - Gary Thor Wedow
Stage Director - Chuck Hudson+
Scenic Designer - Peter Nolle +
Costume Designer - Kathleen Trott+
Projection Desiginer - Doug Provost+
Lighting Designer - Thomas Hase+
Wig and Make-up Designer - James Geier
Stage Manager - Cindy Knight
Asst Stage Director - *Matthew Haney
Asst Lighting Designer - Todd Nonn
Asst Stage Manager - Alex W. Seidel
Asst Stage Manager - Nick Garcia
Asst Wig and Make-up Designer - Nicole Pagano
Asst Conductor - Glenn Lewis
Chorus Master - Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist - James Lesniak
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumnus
Hollywood, CA: the 1950s
Act I, Scene 1: A room in Don Pasquale's mansion
Don Pasquale is an old film star from the Silent Movie era as famous as the great Nora Desmond. He lives in an old mansion on Sunset Boulevard that is as devoid of color as his old black-and-white films. His ward and nephew, Ernesto, has refused an arranged marriage, proclaiming his love for Norina, a popular Hollywood starlet. Don Pasquale, outraged, decides to disinherit the boy and beget his own heirs. To do this he needs a wife, and he has called on a family friend, Dr. Malatesta, to help him find one. Malatesta, siding with Ernesto and Norina, makes a plan to teach the headstrong Pasquale a lesson. He
glowingly describes to him his beautiful and completely imaginary sister and tells him that the girl is in love with him. Before long, the old bachelor is convinced he loves the girl and expresses his desire to marry her with Technicolor enthusiasm. Furthermore, he is prepared to cut Ernesto out of his will. Unaware that Dr. Malatesta has a plot afoot; Ernesto grows bitter at the apparent betrayal by his good friend, Malatesta.
Act I, Scene 2: A Hollywood Soundstage
Shooting a scene from her next Hollywood movie, Norina’s screen persona boasts about knowing all the tricks to win a man's love. Malatesta arrives and reveals to Norina his plans for fooling Don Pasquale: Norina is to enact the role of Malatesta's sister, wed the old bachelor in a fake ceremony and then drive him so crazy with her whims and demands that he will be eager to find a way out of the unpleasant staged marriage. Malatesta hires local stage hands to help out, but there is no time to tell Ernesto.
Act II: Don Pasquale's mansion
Realizing that he will never be able to marry Norina without his inheritance, Ernesto laments his situation as passionately as any of his uncle’s Silent Films. When he leaves, Malatesta arrives with Don Pasquale's "bride" and introduces her to Pasquale, who is outlandishly dressed in an old costume worthy of Rudolph Valentino. Without further delay, a ceremony takes place, during which Ernesto returns and is forced to witness the contract, and he is finally told what is afoot. As soon as the mock ceremony ends, Norina turns into a fiery shrew who torments Don Pasquale with her nasty short temper and extravagant ways.
Act III, Scene 1: Don Pasquale's mansion
Having turned Don Pasquale’s mansion into a kind of Hearst Castle, Norina invites the elite of the Hollywood film world to cavort at Don Pasquale’s expense. Exquisitely gowned, Norina brazenly leaves the house to attend a late-night concert, and as part of the plan, she drops a letter where Don Pasquale must find it. It is a love letter from Ernesto, inviting her to a rendezvous in the garden of the Hollywood Bowl. Don Pasquale realizes that he cannot endure the situation any longer. Furious, he calls Malatesta, who promises to fix everything.
Act III, Scene 2: The garden of the Hollywood Bowl
Disguised as a Hollywood crooner, Ernesto sings a love song to Norina, who responds fervently for Don Pasquale’s eaves-dropping ears. Don Pasquale springs upon the conspirators, who then happily reveal their plot. Immensely relieved to discover that his marriage has been like scenes from a popular Hollywood sex comedy, Don Pasquale forgives everyone involved and happily gives Norina to Ernesto.
- Courtesy of Chuck Hudson, stage director
- Broadway World - Pittsburgh Opera Presents Fresh Take on Donizetti's Don Pasquale
- Opera Wire - Pittsburgh Opera to Present Donizetti's 'Don Pasquale'
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - The 5 best classical concerts in April
- Pittsburgh Magazine - April 2019: Best of Culture in Pittsburgh
- Broadway World - Photo Flash: Inside Pittsburgh Opera's Don Pasquale
- The Incline - What to do this week in Pittsburgh: April 22-28, 2019
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Behind The Curtain, April 24
- Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh Opera gives classic 'Don Pasquale' a fresh take
- WPXI TV - 11 things to do in Pittsburgh this weekend (4/26-4/28)
- Pittsburgh in the Round - Pittsburgh Opera to Wrap 80th Season with a Hollywood Take on 'Don Pasquale'
- Hoodline - Performing and visual arts events in Pittsburgh this week
- Mt. Lebanon Magazine - Opera Lookalikes
- Entertainment Central Pittsburgh - May Theater Guide
- WQED-FM Voice of the Arts Podcast Interviews:
- Made in PGH - Don Pasquale Offers Laughs at Pittsburgh Opera
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Review: Pittsburgh Opera revisits silent Hollywood in waggish season finale production
- Pittsburgh in the Round - Review: Pittsburgh Opera’s “Don Pasquale” a Clever, Campy, Comic Delight
- Broadway World - Photo Flash: Inside Dress Rehearsal For Pittsburgh Opera's DON PASQUALE
- Opera Wire - Top 5 Operas To See This Weekend in North America (5/3-5)
- NEXT pittsburgh - Top events in Pittsburgh this week
- OperaGene - Pittsburgh Opera's Don Pasquale: One Part Donizetti, One Part Oropesa...Stir
- Entertainment Central Pittsburgh - Cool Picks
- Made in Pittsburgh: Don Pasquale Offers Laughs at Pittsburgh Opera
- Empty Nest Blog - Day 390 -Pittsburgh Opera- Don Pasquale-Season Ends with a Party
- Pittsburgh Magazine - A Trip to Old Hollywood (And Some Great Voices) in Don Pasquale
Don Pasquale (Kevin Glavin) tells his servants that "un foco insolito" (an uncommon fire) burns in his heart for his bride-to-be.
Norina (Lisette Oropesa) rehearses her lines for her next movie, singing of "Quel guardo il cavaliere", the glance that conquered the heart of a knight.
Norina (Lisette Oropesa) and Dr. Malatesta (Joshua Hopkins) agree on how Norina should behave when she meets Don Pasquale.
The Notary (Tyler Zimmerman) has trouble writing all Don Pasquale's stipulations in his marriage contract.
"Sofronia", aka Norina (Lisette Oropesa) shows her newly-wed husband Don Pasquale (Kevin Glavin) who's in charge in their household.
1950's Hollywood A-listers and other celebs party at Don Pasquale's house as Norina's guests.
Ernesto (Javier Abreu) and Norina (Lisette Oropesa) reunite and sing a tender love duet in the garden.
Norina (Lisette Oropesa) opines that "he who would marry when he gets old" is only "headed for trouble."
Listen to Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn give a brief synopsis of Don Pasquale featuring excerpts from this 1984 EMI Records recording with Riccardo Muti conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra:
Click play below or download these excerpts for an offline treat!
- Overture- performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra
- “Son Non’Ore" - sung by Sesto Bruscantini as Don Pasquale
- “Bella Siccome Un Angelo”- sung by Leo Nucci as Doctor Malatesta
- “Ah! Un foco insolito”- Sesto Bruscantini as Don Pasquale
- “Prender Moglie?”- sung by Gosta Winbergh as Ernesto and Sesto Bruscantini as Don Pasquale
- “So anch'io la virtù magica” - sung by Mirella Freni as Norina
- “Mi violete mesta”- sung by Mirella Freni as Norina and Leo Nucci as Dr. Malatesta
- “Io? Io?”- sung by Mirella Freni as Norina, Leo Nucci as Dr. Malatesta, Gosta Winbergh as Ernesto and Sesto Bruscantini as Don Pasquale
- “Che Interminabile Andirivieni”- sung by the Ambrosian Opera Chorus
- “Com’ È Gentil”- sung by Gosta Winbergh as Ernesto with the Ambrosian Opera Chorus
- “Tornami a dir”- sung by Mirella Freni as Norina and Gosta Winbergh as Ernesto
We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!
- Run time: 2 hours and 30 minutes including one intermission
- Act I & II – 86:30
- Intermission 20:00
- Act III – 44:15
- Understand Every Word: Don Pasquale is sung in Italian, but has English supertitles projected above the stage at all performances
- Be sure to download our official Study Guide for the production
- View or download our Program Book
- Parking Downtown: get real-time parking availability
- Pre-Opera Talks before each performance
- Audio Description available at The Benedum Center
- Braille Programs available at The Benedum Center
- Large-Print Programs available at The Benedum Center
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has implemented new security and bag policies, effective starting October 1, 2016, at the Benedum Center and their other venues.