The second opera in the season here commenced on Friday night and I caught
today's matinee. It will run for another 2 weeks, so this might be something to
consider if you like Donizetti and great young quality singers. The Opera
Company of Philadelphia deserves many bravos for casting these great young singers
Don Pasquale-Kevin Glavin
Sets & Costumes-Allen Moyer
This wonderful production came from Glimmerglass and NYC Opera, where I first
saw it several years back. What is hardest to believe here is that the same
production team created the confusing Faust last night! The stage has about 30
flickering candles across the front edge for the entire show, and a stage
curtain that looks like a triptych of a door and niches in a kind of Tuscan
faux-fresco style. The curtain rises to reveal a heavily curtained four poster bed
from which Pasquale emerges in a nightshirt. Malatesta is dressed in a black
Elizabethan-like garb as are the servants. Speaking of Malatesta, Mr. Patriarco
never ceases to amaze me. At the Met this year, I saw his Taddeo, then he
proceeded to a superb Rance at Glimmerglass, and now Malatesta; this superb
baritone should go far for his versatility alone.
Ernesto sported maroon fancy clothes in a VanDyke looking wig. The comedy got
started very fast with "Io Pasquale di Corneto" where the Don strips down and
takes a foot bath, then dresses in the most foppish of outfits including red
stockings with ribboned garters. There were lots of laughs. Mr. Garcia's
"Sogno soave" nicely balanced the comic side as his uncle got corseted and primped.
This production makes Norina a true actress in that the second scene takes
place in a theater where she works and she starts her aria as a break in
rehearsal, reading for the other actors. Ms. Gruber is another heroine this weekend
that LOOKED right for the part and sang like a dream, making this production so
much the better. Her opening aria was nice, but the ensuing "Pronto io son,"
had her in high gear for this superb finale duet.
Act II used the same scene as Act I scene i with just some chairs and a
table, The servants carried out Ernesto's trunk with him, and then he returned to
sing his aria of rejection. Pasquale trying on different wigs ended up with one
in his hand when Malatesta and "Sofronia" enter. This wig stuck, so to speak,
with the action throughout the act. The fast quartet ending the act was done
at defying speed with great agility from the singers and orchestra, a great
credit to all!
Act III brought lots of crates and ladders for the house makeover, with
Pasquale looking a bit like a moping Ben Franklin in the corner. The slap from
Norina was a stop action that got everyone's attention and actually made it
possible for us to see her remorse (in an aside).
The glorious duet, "Chieti, chieti" for Messers. Glavin and Patriarco was
deftly handled in front of the curtain with the former in an antique wheelchair
with compress on his head. How could this not be a success?
The garden scene was simple with trees and a back hanging and I was moved by
Mr. Garcia's painful tone in the "Com'e gentil." The worst part of the
afternoon came when I had to leave the house mid-aria (at 5PM) in order to catch the
train I am on so I make the 730pm recital by EWA PODLES in Baltimore. That's
ALAN J SAVADA, C.T.C.
on the road with his laptop
[log in to unmask]
"Uns is gegeben, daß wir immer meinen, anderswo wäre das Glück, und so
beneiden wir alle, die anders sind."--Reisebuch aus den Österreichen Alpen by Ernst
It is our lot always to imagine that happiness lies elsewhere, and so we envy
all things that are different.
"The lure of travel set my heart afire"--Erich Korngold from DIE TOTE STADT
"If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you I came to
live out loud"--Emile Zola
****************LIFE IS A CABERNET!
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