DONIZETTI’S COMIC OPERA DON PASQUALE
IN PERFORMANCE AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA
LESSON LEARNED: IF YOU WANT TO HAPPY FOR
THE REST OF YOUR LIFE…
NEVER MAKE A PRETTY WOMAN YOUR WIFE
If Don Pasquale had been living in another era he’d have the catchy lyrics to a 60s pop hit “If You Want To Happy for the Rest of Your Life Never Make A Pretty Woman Your Wife ” playing over and again in his head and he’d never have been conned into marrying a lovely young “virgin” who turns into a vixen the moment rings are exchanged. Such is the moral of Don Pasquale, you may never be too old to fall in love but be careful what you wish for…a sweet innocent marrying a sugar daddy? I think we all know what typically happens. But the magic and the beauty of Donizetti’s comic opera presently at The Met is that the elaborate con that entraps the Don has a happy ending after all…not to mention enchanting music and voices so crystalline their singing sweeps more than the lovers on stage off their feet.
The plot involves the elderly Don Pasquale, lumbering in his dotage hinting at glamour and grace gone by (Ambrogio Maestri giving a rich and weighty performance) convinced his good buddy Dr. Malatesta (cunningly sung by baritone Levente Molnár) that a wife is just what the Doctor orders! So voila! A shy virgin is produced…little does the Don know that this delicious creature is actually the beloved of his nephew whom is he is threatening to disinherit.
We meet this saucy and sexy darling (so beautifully sung by debuting soprano Eleonora Buratto with brilliant comic timing) lounging on her patio amid the rooftops of sun-washed Rome, vociferously enjoying a romance novel. We’re in on the joke before she’s transformed into the betrothed virgin.
Pasquale’s nephew (the magnificently voiced Mexican tenor Javier Camarena who leaves the audience craving more, more, more) though initially surprised by this turn of events catches on fast and joins forces with the good Doctor to perpetuate the scam. Finding his virgin to be a spendthrift vixen, Don Pasquale is ready for divorce before the honeymoon is over. When his nephew steps in to take the discarded wife as his own and her true identity is revealed, the Don learns he’s been duped but surprisingly he’s good natured and realizes like the song says, “never make a pretty woman your wife…” The two lovers live happily ever after with wealth and wit to share…not to mention the most exquisitely paired voices at The Met this season.
Tickets to Donizetti’s Don Pasquale available at www.metopera.org
Do make every effort to catch the last two performances on Tuesday, March 15 and Saturday, March 18.
Photos by Marty Sohl