The Welsh National Opera (WNO) summer tour is a modern take on Don Pasquale, Gaetano Donizetti’s opera buffa, or comic opera, of 1843. The classic domestic drama in which the pompous bachelor is taken down a peg or two by his young nephew and the woman he loves is brought into the 21st century in this new production.
This contemporary version is set in downtown Cardiff, in and around Pasquale’s doner kebab van. The eponymous hero is a self-made entrepreneur who came to Cardiff in the 1970s to make his fortune. He invests in a doner kebab van and slowly builds his empire. However, when his poetry-writing wannabe singer/songwriter nephew Ernesto shows up, Pasquale realises he doesn’t want this feckless millennial to inherit his fortune.
The self-important businessman hatches a plan to marry and produce an heir to disinherit the unfortunate Ernesto. This shocks the younger man into action, prompting him, his vegan girlfriend Norina and local geezer Malatesta to conspire to trick Don Pasquale and secure their future.
This witty new perspective on Donizetti’s classic features a brand new English libretto written by award-winning director Daisy Evans. The small cast and on-stage orchestra mean the opera will tour to towns and cities with smaller theatres not able to accommodate the full-scale company, furthering the WNO’s commitment to reach a wide range of audiences.
Director and librettist Daisy Evans commented: “This Don Pasquale is fresh, contemporary and unique. It has been reimagined for a modern audience, and sees current issues driving this classic comedy. Pasquale is proud of his kebab van and the years of service he has provided to late night revellers in Cardiff, but he’s grown mean-minded and scared of modernisation. His nephew Ernesto and his girlfriend Norina stand for the future – calling for less plastic use, eco-conscious dining and stripped back design. The two sides are pitted against each other in a comedy that is bound to have you laughing as well as thinking.”
The cast includes English baritone Andrew Shore as Don Pasquale, Maltese tenor Nico Darmanin as Ernesto, English soprano Harriet Eyley as Norina and Dutch baritone Quirijn de Lang as Malatesta. The production runs until 13 July, touring venues across England and Wales. See our events pages for more details.
Welsh National Opera’s modern take on Don Pasquale is set in and around a kebab van.