I started the Make it or Break it series to highlight the operatic repertoire in a realistic way in a 20-minute podcast. In this episode I introduce three moments in Donizetti’s DON PASQUALE that must be treated sensitively in order for you to be reeled-in to the drama. Drama that is inherent to the inspired writing of the composer.
That being said, the plots of these bel canto operas share a common characteristic with the operettas of the time- they don’t really matter! Its about the mayhem along the way that matters. And in the case of the bel canto period operas- all about the human singing voice to take us through the drama!
The plot of DON PASQUALE is obvious and simple. It requires several leaps of logic- a Clark Kent/Superman secret identity twist, blind faith from those swept into the zaniness, and a resolution to two hours of drama in about 20 seconds. Is there anything more engaging than enemies becoming friends in a matter of seconds because we’ve run out of plot twists...? But if the performance is inspired, you couldn’t care less.
All of the excerpts I use in this podcast are from a recording headlined by the incomparable Alessandro Corbelli. Every time I work with him I marvel at his compelling singing and perfect comedic timing. CLICK HERE TO FIND THE RECORDING ON ITUNES!
There is no question that opera starts with great text set to great music, but to truly take in a comedy with this many opportunities for mugging, I strongly recommend WATCHING in addition to LISTENING to DON PASQUALE. Here is a link to a Youtube video that offers a wonderful return for your investment of time. It’s from Zurich, a traditional production, and features a SUPERB cast. CHECK IT OUT!