Don Pasquale
About the Opera

Anna Netrebko stars as Norina, the irresistible and clever romantic heroine of Donizetti’s comic opera Don Pasquale, premiering in primetime on PBS on Wednesday, January 5 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings).

Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET.ORG, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

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James Levine, in his first-ever performances of this opera, conducts a cast that also features Matthew Polenzani as the lovelorn Ernesto, Mariusz Kwiecien as the duplicitous Dr. Malatesta, and John Del Carlo as the title character. Renowned Austrian director Otto Schenk returns to the Met to direct the first revival of his production, which The New York Times praised as “wonderful” and “insightful” when it premiered in 2006.

Reviewing the production, the Times was unstinting in its praise for Netrebko, who “oozed seductive charm” as she “navigated bel canto hurdles in a performance that was both physically energetic and vocally rich.” Tenor Matthew Polenzani, who is making his Met role debut as Ernesto, is “one of the Met’s treasures” whose “polished performance puts him in the front ranks of a growing list of fine young tenors on the company roster” (Associated Press). Baritone Mariusz Kwiecien first played Dr. Malatesta at the Met in 2006 opposite Netrebko; the Times found him “mesmerizing in the role, his robust voice matched by his robust physique.” Bass-baritone John Del Carlo, whose many past performances at the Met include an acclaimed Dr. Bartolo in The Met: Live in HD broadcast of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, sings the title role.

Don Pasquale features sets and costumes by Rolf Langenfass and lighting design by Duane Schuler.
Great Performances at the Met: Don Pasquale is directed for television by Gary Halvorson and hosted by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Jay David Saks is the music producer. Great Performances at the Met: Don Pasquale is the first production airing during the 2011 season of Great Performances at the Met. The performance is sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Great Performances is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Irene Diamond Fund, Vivian Milstein, public television viewers and PBS. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home-builder®. Major funding for this telecast of Don Pasquale was provided by The Annenberg Foundation.

For the Met, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.

  • Bob

    Very disappointed I can’t watch this on my laptop, as I now listen to WETA-FM live Met broadcasts. What do I do to watch Don Pasquale et al on my computer in real time?

  • jonathan

    I havent watched a play like this in a long time. I loved every second of it!!! it made me laugh and think about things!! great performance from everyone. thank you so much for showing this on my local pbs station.

  • jacquie barnett

    i cherished the excellent tv production but for some reason the sound was down in volume.

  • Fil Hearn

    This “Don Pasquale” was an exemplary performance and a charming production; thank you, Mr. Gelb, for extending the HD performance to television. You see, it is NOT necessary to have a drab, high-concept staging to make the Met lively and delectable.

  • issot noraa

    Transfixed and smiling all through. Soprano and tenor top quality, Don Pasquale and Malatesta first rate! Acting and gesture well thought out, acting? true Met quality.
    Please name the composer next time.
    And scrolling so fast at the end overlooks the staff that puts such operas together.

  • Patrick C. Byrne

    Brilliant production from the Met. Bravo! Everyone sang beautifully. Anna was gorgeous and hilarious. The orchestra was the gold standard, and the chorus tremendous, as usual. This is what opera is all about, not some sicko “concept” by some twisted sister who hasn’t the talent to write an opera but certainly has the nerve to destroy one of the masterpieces in the catalogue.

    Patrick Byrne
    OMBRA Records

  • Katie

    Just finished watching the production on television. Simply fantastic! The acting was great, and the music was fantastic. The voices are AMAZIG! Wish I had that talent. I only caught the second half of the performance, but really hope this version of the production comes on DVD, because I’d love to have a copy to watch over and over again and to share such amazing talent and quality music for my family for years to come. A great way to bring fantastic theatre into the home.

    PLEASE put it on DVD! Thank you and BRAVISSIMO!!! :D

  • Mary Haddad

    The production of Dom Pasquale was fabulous! The voices, music, acting ability was over the top. Please broadcast this performance again and again. I enjoyed every minute of it. Dom Pasquale was tremendous.

  • Mary Haddad

    The production of Don Pasquale was fabulous! The voices, music, acting ability was over the top. Please broadcast this performance again and again. I enjoyed every minute of it. Don Pasquale was tremendous.

  • Patricia

    Name the composer more often during program. It was wonderful but we came in during the last half. Breathtaking, sorry we missed part. But looking for more info poor on this site. How about some historical info? I really prefer the dry information during the intermissions to the uncomfortable interviews.

  • david ernst

    The composer’s name is Gaetano Donizetti (1797 – 1848). For a synopsis of the opera, the Metropolitan Opera has a wonderful archive. Click here for the Don Pasquale synopsis.

    Thank you for your input and perhaps we’ll link to those synopses in the future!

  • Antonio Valentino Salvatore’

    Donizetti’s comic opera Don Pasquale was a great performance.
    My wife and I haven’t laughed this hard in years.
    Thank you for the lovely evening at the opera.
    Everybody was fantastic……………..

  • V S Arnold

    Truly a Great Performance! Brilliant!

  • Vivien Lapa

    Dear Reader,

    At the end with the credits, the jewels that the hostess Ms Graham wore were mentioned but not those by Ms Anna Netrebko when the character in the play/opera was going out to the theatre. For fake jewels, ie necklace and tiara, they were superb but my eye said that they were real and if so, which company gets the credit?

  • Natalia

    Apart from Polenzani, it was utterly grotesque. Thoroughly awful. Otto Schenk should be ashamed of himself, but even more so the Met should be ashamed of itself for foisting such sub-standard performances on the public.

  • Tafi

    It’s a true masterpiece!

  • Janet

    An older friend called today to say that this production was fabulous but he could not read the subtitles. He felt the font was difficult to read.

  • lulu

    This production was fabulous.

    Bringing it to the people, live, on 1/5/11 through PBS was a stroke of genius. . . and to star/cast the best!

    Thank You PBS and all those who donate. . .

    I never could have enjoyed such music, history, beauty and joy, even just for an evening. . . .

    I was entranced.

  • Adrian

    The orchestra was very good. Mr. Levine for the first time looks quite old and ill. It was rumored that he lost weight during his illness and convalescence, but the reverse seems to be true. Ms Netrebko has always had a slender and gorgeous figure. She also has put on a good deal of weight. And her voice reflected that.

    There was a startling dissonance between the sound of the orchestra (bright, clear, close, alive) and the singers (whose sound came from a distance). Is the Met still using those microphones standing at the edge of the stage? Not good at all. It sounded like the Old Texaco Metropolitan Opera of Sat afternoons. I agree that mics should not be used for amplified sound in the theater, but body mics should certainly be used for broadcasting over the airways and getting a clear, clean sound. Although I sat right in front of the tv, the voices sounded like they were coming from the next room – even if I turned up the volume.

  • Irwin Rubin

    Absolutely magnificent. The production, the singers, the orchestra–the sound, the video filming. Absolutely first quality in everything. Thank you Donizetti and the staff of artists who put this together.

  • Burtnor

    WHEN are you going to make this production available for sale on DVD???? It’s a MUST HAVE. Thanks for broadcasting. Now, please sell it.

  • vincent talluto

    the singing, the acting, the music – all fantastic- also where can i get a copy of mats song he sang in the garden? totaly a great performance.

  • Jeff Nunes

    What a pleasure it was to see the Met live up to its potential in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. It was a not only a beautiful production but it was well balanced, well acted and with a cast whose voices made the entire performance a complete success.
    Now this is something I would pay good money to see live, at the Met.

  • A. Varon

    The performance was absolutely brilliant ! — Everyone was supberb; especially the title character: bass-baritone whose name escapes me at the moment – not only a marvelous singer but an excellent actor, Thank you for a wonderful musical experience. Please, PLEASE should you release it on DVD, please let me know — and thank you, again.

  • Isobel Cunningham

    Late on a drab afternoon when my arthritis was acting up, I got lucky and found this wonderful performance. What fun – I laughed aloud alone in my living room curled up under a quilt As others have noted, if the credits could be a little slower, we would be able to appreciate everyone’s efforts without rushing frantically to the computer to figure out who was who. A tiny problem though compared to the hours of joy today. Thanks and a Happy new Year to all. Isobel in Montrreal

  • don warner saklad

    Around the web where are there free online scores?… for
    Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti, especially with Italian and English !

    …besides the French score at
    http://imslp.org/wiki/Don_Pasquale_(Donizetti,_Gaetano)

  • Guy

    Just flipped this on, by accident actually, at 2AM. I am VERY surprised, as it had captioning, hence, my understanding of it. I have to say, after getting some serious laughs out of it, I went to look up information on it, only to find it was written in 1810, and it is BETTER than much of our modern comedy! This Donizetti dude isn’t bad at all! And I am only 111 years too late! (It moved VERY quickly, kept a good pace.) I have to say, I have never watched one of these, ever, on TV or not. If they make ‘em like this, I would more often! It was excellent singing, and the actors put some SERIOUS work into it, and even a layman hack like myself could appreciate the sheer amount of it they put in there. It was…well…..EXCELLENT work.

  • Jon Varga

    I haven’t seen a full-length production of “Don Pasquale” in many years, and since it was never one of my favorite operas, I didn’t have great expectations for this latest MET production. My initial hesitation evaporated as soon as I started watching. It is an absolute joy, from the overture to the final notes.

    The production is delightful, the cast superb, and a sense of freshness and exhuberance prevails. Anna Netrebko is as talented as she is beautiful. Mariusz Kwiecien is infinitely delightful. John Del Carlo and Matthew Polenzani are flawless. James Levine, in my humble opinion, is the greatest conductor on the operatic podium today. Kudos to all!

  • Anne

    I was intrigued with the scenery and then watching the scenes being changed as viewed from above. The scenery had a lovely artistic quality as in a painting. And so fitting. The singing of course was incredibly beautiful. Thank you everyone who made it happen.

  • Safa Jubboori

    Absolutely Magnificent . A pleasure to see the Met live in its Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Thank you very much.

  • Ed

    What happened to the Das Rheingold. Is that not being broadcast?

  • Alberto Machado

    Yes, how about Rheingold? It is not listed on the Great Performances brochure, so I suppose that, likewise, there will not be a broadcast of the new Walkúre after it is theatercast next May. So do we have to wait until the whole cycle is completed in 2013 before it makes it to PBS?

    It would also be of great help to have the broadcast dates for the whole season. It took me quite a lot of Googling to find out that Boris is scheduled for February 13. Why the mystery?

  • Alex in Toronto

    Outstanding I wasn`t planning on watching it but it drew me in once I paid attention to it.

    Could you please make the subtitles bigger as they are small and hard to see from 10 feet away. I saw the WNED broadcast on a 20`analog tv and the font was picayune. I could read it ok from 7`though.

  • JFB

    According to the brochure, along with Die Walkure, they will not be broadcasted
    http://www-tc.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/files/2009/10/GP_Brochure_2010_11.pdf

    I guess that it will go on PBS sometime in the middle of 2012 when they can broadcast the whole cycle (HD of Siegfried & Gotterdamerung will be in October 2011 & January 2012 (I think))

  • Don DeGeorge

    I fully agree and hope that not only a DVD, but also a Blu-ray is made of this. It is a continuing shame that the Met Live in HD events have thus far been made available only on DVD, a decidedly non-HD medium.

  • Phillip

    Why indeed, Alberto. I also have been trying to get information on what (not to mention when) operas will be shown this season on Great Performances at the Met. We know air times will vary somewhat with our local stations. But please, PBS, give us a better idea of what’s coming up. It shouldn’t require Wikileaks to get this information. Thanks.

  • Martin in London, Ontario

    I have two requests – please publish the TV schedule in advance – by digging around I can find what has been shown but not what is going to shown. Mid-afternoon on a weekend needs planning. The CBC in Canada and TVO in Ontario have giving up broadcasting anything cultural so PBS is all that’s left.

    Please publish the day and time. Thanks.

    And, 2 – can’t we have a replay option?

    I really like to watch or listen at other times.

    But enough of the gripes – PBS you are all that’s left. Thank you.

  • Scott Gentry

    I’m sorry for what may appear to be rude, , but where were you when this production was bradcast. Personally, and I’ve been an opera patron for over 40 years, I have yet to witness Don Pasquale so beatifully executed. We certainly have a wide difference of opinion as to what constitutes art. I think Jimmy Levine and his company were awsome. Thanks Metropolitan Opera Company for such a great production.

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