On Second Thought

Modernized Version Of "Don Pasquale" Delightful!

By Henry C. Mayer

It was with some skepticism that I heard at Kentucky Opera's Lunch and Listen" gathering that the KO's fifth presentation of Gaetano Donizetti's Don Pasquale was to have a change of locale and its action was to take place in Arizona in the 1880s

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However, director David Gately was more than up to the task and so was the cast, even as four of the five principals were making their Kentucky Opera debuts. Actually, this version was a co-production of six opera companies: Kentucky Opera, San Diego, Calgary Edmonton, Fort Worth and Arizona. No fewer than four experts in various phases of design contributed their talents to the final product.

The youthful Eduardo Chama was highly believable as the crusty old bachelor Don Pasquale while Alicia Berneche brought both thespian and vocal talents to the role of Norina. Shawn Mathey was charming as the nephew and lover. Christopher Larkin wielded his baton with vim and vigor while Robert Dahey was an attractive Hop Sing. (This was a case of adding a character from another source.) The notary's outfit was more akin to that of a Franciscan friar than a secular official but it was a minor flaw.