From Thursday to Saturday last week I had a broad range of musical experiences. From Don Pasquale, to Michael Kieran Harvey and the Flying Dutchman.
Here is Part 1
On Thursday it was OA’s new production of Don Pasquale. I have a particular affection for this this opera. it was the first complete opera production I ever attended. It featured June Bronhill as Norina and was performed at the Elizabethan Theatre in Newtown in the inner west of Sydney. I saw another production of it twenty years later and June Bronhill was in the audience.
The production I saw on Thursday was like singing champagne. Conal Coad – that master of operatic pantomime – was the Don. He is good at the very marcato buffo style of singing. He does not seem to do legato much at all, although as Leporelo a couple years ago he revealed a capacity to do it.
In this he is at his comic best and he and Rachelle Durkin as Norina spark off each other. Not only is she a flawless colortura soprano, she has a profound gift for comedy last displayed in Sydney in Orpheus in the Underworld. Her comedy, however, not only lies in what she does, it is integral to her agile singing. Ji-Min Park is a suitably dreaming and dreamy Ernesto, while emerging bass Samuel Dundas does a good job of the little too suave and scheming Dr Malatesta, Norina’s brother. The conductor Guillaume Tourniaire keeps the orchestra up the Donizetti’s required pace while director Roger Hodgeman locates the action in a very technicolor 1950s Italy.
This is the perfect production to take someone new to the opera. Durkin alone is worth the price of the tickets!