Thursday, September 29, 2016

Don Pasquale

Dr. Malatesta, Norina, Don Pasquale, Ernesto

Conductor: Giuseppe Finzi
Director: Laurent Pelly

Don Pasquale: Maurizio Muraro
Norina: Heidi Stober
Ernesto: Lawrence Brownlee*
Dr. Malatesta:  Lucas Meachem

I knew there was something that looked familiar about this production of Donizetti's Don Pasquale.  It is shared with the Santa Fe Opera.  In Santa Fe there are no overhead flies and things often slide out from the sides.  Well that's what this does.  The colors are drab in the extreme and only brighten up later through the introduction of colored chairs and flowers.  I thought it was functional but drab.  Drab in a comedy doesn't make much sense to me.  Laurent Pelly retained his credit but did not come out to bow.  I suspect this is not actually his production.

The highlight of this performance was the company debut of Lawrence Brownlee as Ernesto.  He had the most slapstick comedy and performed it expertly.  Besides being a fabulous singer.  We loved him.  He was well matched to Heidi Stober, by now a company favorite.  Larry, please come back.

It was in fact a fabulous cast.  Everyone met and exceeded expectations.  This is my list of where I have seen these people.

  • Maurizio Muraro SFO live (Don Pasquale, Barber of Seville) London (Manon Lescaut, I due Foscari) Met (Cosi fan tutte)
  • Heidi Stober SFO live (Don Pasquale, Show Boat, Xerxes, Falstaff, Un Ballo in Maschera, Sweeney Todd) at Santa Fe live (Platée, Arabella, La Boheme) Berlin live (vocal recital)
  • Lawrence Brownlee* SFO live (Don Pasquale)  Met (La Cenerentola, Armida, Barber of Seville)
  • Lucas Meachem  SFO live (Die Tote Stadt, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Pasquale, I Pagliacci, Barber of Seville) Santa Fe live (Don Giovanni)
For me the fabulous singing actors saved this.  But then don't they always?  The intermission was extended by about 20 minutes without explanation.

Footnote:  the program cover showed a picture of Gina Lollobrigida.

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