wed 13/12/2017

Don Pasquale, Opera Holland Park | reviews, news & interviews

Don Pasquale, Opera Holland Park

Don Pasquale, Opera Holland Park

Sunny tunes and witty staging make for the perfect summer opera

Don Pasquale (Donald Maxwell) and Malatesta (Richard Burkhard): A genuinely comic double actFritz Curzon

Nothing says summer opera quite like the skittish melodies and Neapolitan oom-pah-pah of a Donizetti overture. It doesn’t get much cheekier or more playful than this, the kind of music that makes you long for a pea shooter to pelt opera-goers with a stealthy fire of peanuts, or daub the bald head of the concert-goer in front of you during his Act II siesta. When set against the greenery and obbligato peacocks of Holland Park, a work like Don Pasquale makes sense in a way it scarcely can in the corseted confines of a traditional opera house. Add a witty staging by Stephen Barlow, and Richard Bonynge – the godfather of bel canto – in the pit, and summer sunshine is guaranteed, whatever the weather.

Bonynge offers a characteristically poised account of Donizetti’s score, relishing particularly the touches of mock grandeur and minor key gravitas

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