Don Pasquale

Teatro Regio, Tuesday 14 April 2009 - Sunday 26 April 2009


Stage photo with Francesco Meli (Ernesto), Roberto Scandiuzzi (Don Pasquale) and Serena Gamberoni (Norina)

«Here – at the Théâtre Italien in Paris – Linda will be staged next week, and you’ll hear about its innovations. Then I’ll start rehearsals of the new opera buffa, composed while you were travelling, which cost me more than ten days of labour…title: Don Pasquale. It is the old Marcantonio (don’t tell anyone)». So wrote Gaetano Donizetti to his brother-in-law on 12 November 1842, telling him that he had composed his new opera in only ten days: Don Pasquale is based on an earlier libretto by Angelo Anelli, Ser Marcantonio, put to music by Stefano Pavesi in 1808. The author of the libretto of Don Pasquale was Giovanni Ruffini, a Mazzinian exiled in Paris, author of the novels Il dottor Antonio and Lorenzo Benoni.
However, because of the numerous changes Donizetti made to the libretto, Ruffini didn’t want to sign it, and it appeared with the initials “M.A” for Michele Accursi, another of Donizetti’s Mazzinian friends. The opera had its debut on 3 January 1843 at the Théâtre Italien in Paris to great success, and on 17 April 1843 it was already at la Scala. René Leibowitz wrote about it in this way in his History of Opera: «we have said that Don Pasquale is one of the great masterpieces of opera buffa; we can add that it truly represents its highest peak. The opera is in fact a synthesis of all the preceding achievements, assimilated and transformed in new elements, in which it gains the candid spontaneity and pure authentic freshness that we have so admired. After such a success, it was inevitable that opera buffa would suffer a decline: in fact, it  survived only sporadically».

Main data

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Librettist: Giovanni Ruffini and Gaetano Donizetti (by Angelo Anelli)
Year of the first performance: 1843 Théâtre Italien, Parigi

Previous staging:

1912, 1925, 1926, 1933, 1946, 1953, 1959, 1967, 1980, 1988, 1998 (2),