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Dallas Opera's 'Pasquale' a High-Spirited Romp


by Olin Chism 20 Feb 2010

The Dallas Opera is on a roll now — at least, a two-opera roll. On Friday night the company added Donizetti’s Don Pasquale to its winter-spring lineup as a partner to Mozart’s Così fan tutte, which continues. Like Così, Don Pasquale is a winner. The opening performance of Donizetti’s cute comedy was full of high […]

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php3120aDPMThe Dallas Opera is on a roll now — at least, a two-opera roll. On Friday night the company added Donizetti’s Don Pasquale to its winter-spring lineup as a partner to Mozart’s Così fan tutte, which continues. Like Così, Don Pasquale is a winner. The opening performance of Donizetti’s cute comedy was full of high spirits and decent singing. It produced a feel-good evening.

Taking the title role is buffo bass Donato DiStefano (above, left), who combines a fine voice (love that patter singing!) with an exceptional gift for comedy. His Pasquale is a foolish old man but never simply ridiculous; there are touches of pathos here and there.

He has a strong trio of principal collaborators: the vocally nimble and dramatically superb Adriana Kucerova (above, right) as Norina, the smooth-baritoned and dramatically suave Nathan Gunn as Doctor Malatesta and the pleasantly lyrical tenor Norman Shankle as Ernesto.

Conductor Stefano Ranzani led sparkling performances by the Dallas Opera orchestra and chorus.

Candace Evans’ staging is generally on the mark (she brings the chorus beautifully into the action), and the decades-old designs by the long-dead Jean-Pierre Ponnelle should please those who hate Eurotrash.

By the way, there’s more cute Donizetti coming this way. The Elixir of Love (my favorite) will be in the Fort Worth Opera’s upcoming festival in late May and June.

The Dallas Opera’s Così fan tutte will continue through Feb. 28, Don Pasquale through March 7. Performances are in the Winspear Opera House, which is starting to feel like home.

Photo by Karen Almond, Dallas Opera

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