Small picture of Donizetti




Donizetti's Don Pasquale

Theatre Royal, Glasgow, January 24-29  

and the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, February 18 - 24, 2014

Photographs by K.K. Dundas, courtesy of Scottish Opera


A new production for Scottish Opera by the Doucet/Barbé team that did such a scintillating Die Feen for Leipzig. This production perhaps did not make quite the same impact but it was generally well received. They moved the action to Rome in the 1960's where Pasquale owns an hotel with Ernesto as the desk clerk. John Allison (Daily Telegraph, January 29, 2014)  liked the production while having slight reservations about some of the singing and conducting "but never enough to spoil the show". He particularly liked the Norina of Ruth Jenkins-Róbertsson who managed "the kitten-turned-tigress transformation with ease, and she has the right mix of silver and steel in her soprano".  Ken Walton (The Scotsman, January 25, 2014) was warm in his praise for the Doucet/Barbé concept in which "every aspect of a character’s movement or expression mirrors, at every turn, the musical clues. In that sense, they have created a form of 'Gesamkunstwerk' – a holistic tour de force that is both spectacular and, behind the comedy, genuinely moving". Again he found pluses and minuses in the singing and playing.  The Herald (January 26, 2014) summed it up as "Strong performances, individual and ensemble, and neat comic touches ... add deliciously to a beautifully sung production's over-arching sense of fun".

Russell Burdekin saw the production on February 20 and has provided the following report:-

Given the financial constraints of Scottish Opera, the Doucet/Barbé team did a fine job in their imaginative use of a single set with the raising and lowering of a great wall of washing to break up the scenes. Setting it in a 1960's Italian hotel, owned by Pasquale with Ernesto as his desk clerk, also worked well. Perhaps overall, they erred too much towards farce and innumerable jokes rather than remembering that it is a comedy that benefits from a little respite and reflection.  Thus Ernesto singing "Com`è gentil", while wheeling in his bike with a gramophone on the back to accompany himself, was quite a funny idea but took the focus away from the aria.

Musically, the performance also left something to be desired.  Alfonso Antoniozzi as Don Pasquale acted his role superbly but his voice sometimes failed to carry, particularly in the first half, while the Malatesta of Nicholas Lester was nicely sung but seemed oddly anonymous and hardly the lynchpin of the plot. Ernesto was played as a sort of hammy Italian, which meant that Aldo Di Toro was at a disadvantage in supplying the pathos, which is an important counter balance to the comedy and its slightly unpleasant undertones. Luckily the Norina of Ruth Jenkins-Róbertsson was an unqualified success in every way and lit up the production.  The accompaniment was a mite unsubtle and sometimes drowned the singers.   Certainly worth reviving after a few judicious changes.    


The Team

Don Pasquale - Alfonso Antoniozzi

Dr Malatesta - Nicholas Lester

Ernesto - Aldo Di Toro

Norina - Ruth Jenkins-Róbertsson

A Notary - Andrew McTaggart


Conductor - Francesco Corti

Director - Renaud Doucet

Designer - André Barbe

Lighting - Guy Simard


Scottish Opera Orchestra and Chorus


Don Pasquale


Dr Malatesta and Don Pasquale



Pasquale meets "Sofronia"


 Don Pasquale


Don Pasquale




The Chorus