Do conniving old bachelors like Don Pasquale deserve love?
Opera scholars seem unaware that the scurrilous old suitor ever visited Sin City, but that hasn’t stopped Opera Las Vegas from cooking up a whole new localized scenario for a hilarious version of this world-famous romantic lyric comedy.
When it comes to combining beautiful melodies and vocal pyrotechnics with laugh-out-loud farce, no one matches bel canto master Gaetano Donizetti, the composer of The Elixir of Love, Lucia di Lammermoor, and many other blockbuster opera house hits. Conductor Joshua Horsch and director Audrey Chait are well remembered for OLV’s delightful 2018 production of Rossini’s Cinderella. The dynamic duo is back at the helm for Don Pasquale, with an exciting cast of the nation’s fastest rising stars, promising a 90-minute delight that is as funny as it is tuneful.
General Director Jim Sohre noted that “Opera Las Vegas is elated to be back in front of live audiences with such a charming opera and such a great team of collaborators. As Nevada’s professional company member in Opera America, we are once again striving to present a top quality show.”
The story is full of humorous complications: The old bachelor Don Pasquale plans to marry the young widow Norina, in part to punish his headstrong nephew Ernest, who is head over heels in love with Norina. Unbeknownst to Pasquale, his “trusted” colleague Dr. Malatesta is conspiring with Norina to teach the old man a lesson. Norina will impersonate Malatesta’s non-existent sister “Sofronia” and marry Pasquale in a mock ceremony. Once Pasquale signs over all his wealth to the imposter “Sofronia,” all hell breaks loose, but calms down just in time for the requisite happy ending.
Bass-baritone Adelmo Guidarelli is “excited to return to Opera Las Vegas for the third time to revisit the role of Don Pasquale. Rossini once joked ‘How wonderful opera would be if there were no singers.’ The pandemic stripped the stage of singers (so) this will be my first production back and I am so grateful to Opera Las Vegas for the opportunity to feel my feet on the stage again and create opera with an amazing company and amazing colleagues."
The conspiratorial young woman Norina will be taken by another favorite OLV artist, soprano Adelaide Boedecker, who is eager to return: “I am so excited to make my role debut as Norina! She is a strong, intelligent woman, who is willing to do anything for her love, and I am thrilled to take on the role.”
Another Opera Las Vegas veteran returns in the person of tenor Christopher Bozeka, well remembered for his show-stopping performance as Nemorino in OLV’s 2019 production of The Elixir of Love. He looks forward to re-visiting the role of Ernesto and effuses: “Don Pasquale is, in my opinion, simultaneously Donizetti’s most elegant and funny score.”
Rounding out the quartet of solo singers, acclaimed international baritone Robert Mellon will make his local debut as Dr. Malatesta. He comments, “If I had to give my character, Doctor Malatesta, a home, I would say Las Vegas could be it. The smooth talking, quick witted “gambler” that he is makes Las Vegas the perfect spot for him to thrive.”
Conductor Joshua Horsch, who was recently appointed OLV’s first Music Director, is anticipating lots of merry hijinks with Don Pasquale’s ebullient score.
Director Audrey Chait has more than a few comic tricks up her sleeve, noting: “The story of Don Pasquale deals with the themes of money, youth, and power - what better setting for such a story than Las Vegas? By realizing this piece in our audience's own backyard, we hope to seamlessly bring everyone into the world of the opera.” She also spoke of the special artistic climate: “Many of us, both the cast and creative team, know each other from previous OLV productions - this company has created a wonderful family of collaborators.”
In deference to the limitations that the pandemic has mandated, the usual chorus will be embodied by an industrious quintet of singers (Tyler Urbano, Giada Barney, Nathan Sink, Matthew Sink and Chase Gutierrez) under the direction of Chorus Master Joseph Svendsen.
Please note that the conduct of rehearsals and performances of Don Pasquale will follow all applicable COVID protocols, including masking and distancing for audience members, and will adhere strictly to the latest CDC and State of Nevada guidelines.