Sunday, August 4, 2013

DON PASQUALE - Gaetano Donizetti

Opera Australia – Sydney Opera House July 18 to August 15th 2013

Performance 18th July 2013 reviewed by Bill Stephens

Ji Min Park (Ernesto), Rachelle Durkin (Norina)
Samuel Dundas (Dr Malesta), Conal Coad (Don Pasquale)
(Photo: Branco Gaica) 

What a little gem is this new production of Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”. Director Roger Hodgman has set the action in sunny Italy in the 1950’s; with plenty of visual references by designer Richard Roberts to the 1953 film “Roman Holiday”. Though “Don Pasquale” has nothing to do with “Roman Holiday”, it works a treat.

Rachel Durkin (Norina)
Conal Coad (Don Pasquale)
Photo; Branco Gaica

Rachelle Durkin is thoroughly delightful as the conniving Norina, wickedly funny and hilariously infuriating as she effortlessly tosses off sparkling cadenzas in all directions. She is given terrific back-up by Ji-Min Park as her petulant lover, Ernesto and Samuel Dundas as the handsome notary Dr Malesta who assists them in their plan to trick Don Pasquale into a sham marriage.


It would be hard to imagine a better Don Pasquale than Conal Coad in excellent voice and despite being the butt of most of the jokes, never misses a laugh. Benjamin Rasheed rounds out the cast with a fine performance as the Notary.
(An edited version of this revue was broadcast in "Dress Circle" by Artsound FM 92.7 on 21.7.13)

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