But how were they doing, these composers of the time spent? Were they in direct contact with the good God? Belonged to another race (more vivid, more immediate)? The great Italians of the first half of the Nineteenth century had, in fact, a disconcerting ease: they knew how to compose an opera like other mitonnent a cake. It is known that Rossini “replied” his Barber of Seville in two weeks. It seems that Donizetti (who’s 71 operas, in less than thirty years!) has, for its part, concocted Don Pasquale in eleven days…
This would not be a trivial performance if the work had turned out to be one of the purest masterpieces of the genre “fable”, leaving the more lyrical stages of the world since its creation, in Paris, in 1843. It seems also that the conditions of its first performance had been strained, as the orchestra found the music and the relationships were stormy with the composer. Created at the Théâtre Italien (in the lovely salle Ventadour, which has since become the gym of the Bank of France!), the work has won an instant success, which never waned.
It should be said that Don Pasquale is a work of art is quite perfect, in its format and spirit. Based on a libretto very “commedia dell’arte” (a barbon married a young nymphomaniac who is a harpy), Donizetti has composed music turns funny and elegiac, which makes the honey of singers-actors. There must also be a lot of stage presence to fully embody the characters of Don Pasquale.
Delicacy and subtlety
This presence, the interpreters of the delicious production of Damiano Michieletto had, a year ago, at the Palais Garnier. The parisian public will remember the slaughter of the baritone Florian Sempey and charm ravager, Nadine Sierra, which knows how to combine a safety voice and a sex appeal like no other.
For this recovery, their roles will be played by Christian Senn and Pretty Yende. If it does not have the pep yankee Nadine Sierra, a soprano south african should be at his ease in the character of Norina, and she is expected to provide more delicacy and subtlety. Also includes Michele Pertusi in the title role.
Finally, not to be missed directed by Michieletto should insure a good cohesion to the whole. True visual fireworks (which angered some, which bougonnaient in front of effects, which were – in their eyes – not on the work itself), this production is often hilarious, with a (against) the use of the video to a constant humour. After having very well defended The Huguenots, last fall, the young conductor Michele Mariotti goes down in the pit of the opera house for what is, in truth, a work basically of paris.
“Don Pasquale”, Opera Garnier, Place de l’opera (Ninth). Tel.: 08 92 89 90 90. Dates: from 22 march to 16 April 2019 at 19: 30. Seats: 25 to 181 €.