Gaetano Donizetti

Don Pasquale

opera in three acts

Recommended age 12+


Libretto by Giovanni Ruffini based on Angelo Anelli’s libretto “Ser Marcantonio”
Musical director: Honoured Artist of Ukraine Viktor Ploskina
Director: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Mikhail Pandzhavidze
Designer: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Kostiuchenko
Costume Designer: Ekaterina Shimanovich
Chorus master: People’s Artist of Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Nina Lomanovich
Assistant conductor: winner of international competitions Alexey Frolov

Sung in Italian with Russian surtitles
Running time: 2 hours 35 minutes with two intervals
Premiere: 13 December 2018


Act 1 Scene 1. Don Pasquale’s house Don Pasquale, a rich old bachelor, is waiting for his friend Dr Malatesta. The old man wants to marry his nephew Ernesto to a rich bride, “drive him out” of the house, and marry a young woman, himself. Malatesta enters and informs that he has found the bride. It is his sister. Ernesto arrives. Don Pasquale threatens to cut Ernesto off and even disinherit him by marrying, if Ernesto keeps resisting the good match arranged by his uncle, but the young man remains true to his love for the penniless young widow Norina. Insulted by his nephew’s obstinacy and derision, Don Pasquale cuts him off and kicks him out. Scene 2. Norina’s flat Norina's alone. She reads a letter in which Ernesto talks about his quarrel with the uncle and the imminent departure. Malatesta arrives and tells Norina his new plan. He wants to wed Norina to Don Pasquale by disguising her as a meek and virtuous Sofronia. Malatesta’s cousin Carlotto is to impersonate a notary. Once the fake marriage contract is signed, Norina is to make the old man’s life insufferable, so that he comes to his senses and agrees to his nephew’s marriage with Norina. Malatesta and Norina rehearse the behavior of the simple and naive girl Sofronia and discuss the details of their plot. Act II A room in Don Pasquale’s house Ernesto says goodbye to his alma mater where he spent his adolescence. He's leaving it forever. Don Pasquale is happy that he got rid of his nephew and can turn over a new leaf. Malatesta introduces Norina as the shy Sofronia. Don Pasquale is enchanted and implores Malatesta to fetch a notary without delay and conclude the marriage contract. Carlotto arrives disguised as a notary. They need a witness to get married. Suddenly Ernesto rushes in. Malatesta persuades him to act as an imaginary witness. After the formal part is completed, Norina abandons her pretence of docility. She harshly declares herself the mistress of the house and instantly begins to behave in an arrogant, flirtatious manner. She wants more money and makes Don Pasquale to leave Ernesto at home. Pasquale is horrified at this transformation. Act III Scene 1. Don Pasquale’s house A few days after the marriage, the old bachelor's house is unrecognizable. It's full of servants, clerks from various stores with goods and bills that the old man has to pay. Norina emerges, dressed to go to the theatre. Pasquale tries to stop her, but she mocks him and slaps him in the face. Norina goes away but secretly leaves behind a fake note from a lover about a date that night. The old man is mad with jealousy. The servants, hired by Norina, continue to ruin Don Pasquale's house. Malatesta and Ernesto arrive. Ernesto reminds that trick with the note is part of their plan, then he goes to the garden to impersonate Sofronia’s lover. Don Pasquale enters. He complains to Malatesta about his fate. He sees nothing but abuse and blows from his wife. And to top it off, she makes a date with the lover. He wants to catch her in flagrante and get rid of her by dissolving the marriage. Malatesta agrees. Scene 2. Don Pasquale’s garden Ernesto sings a serenade to Sofronia pretending to be her lover. Then the lovers sing a love duet. Pasquale and Malatesta arrive. Ernesto hides away. Don Pasquale finds Norina alone. The plan to expose his wife had failed. Pasquale's desperate. He wants to divorce Norina. Having the bitter experience, Pasquale is ready to abandon the thought of marriage forever. In Don Pasquale’s presence Malatesta tells Sofronia that soon she will have to share her authority as a mistress with Norina, Ernesto’s future wife. Sofronia takes this ill. It is she who demands a divorce now. Pasquale is anxious to secure it by arranging his nephew’s wedding right away and even providing the couple with a substantial sum of money. He summons Ernesto to wed him to Norina at once. Ernesto arrives. He, Norina and Malatesta confess their fraud. Don Pasquale is relieved to learn that his marriage was fake and that Sofronia is in fact Norina. He pardons everyone and gives his blessing to the loving couple.