The University of Georgia Opera Theatre, along with several esteemed guest artists, will be commanding the Fine Arts Theatre stage as they take on the beloved opera Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti. The opera is set to run February 22 and 23 at 7:30 and Sunday, February 24 at 3:00. Don Pasquale epitomizes Italian opera buffa, so audiences should come prepared to have a good laugh.
This production will be unique because it is set in the 1950s and not in the original time setting by Donizetti in the early 19th century. Don Pasquale lends itself well to "time travel" since its story, and cast of characters, is timeless and relevant in any era. The cast includes a smart leading lady who can play multiple roles, her young admirer, a deceptive physician who aids the lovers, and an old buffoon that gets what he deserves in the end.
This opera comes out of the Bel Canto era of music, which focuses on beautiful singing foremost and gives the singers the opportunity to impress audiences with the highest level of vocal skills. Donizetti wrote a number of comedic operas based on life situations often around love triangles along competing relationships and disguised identities. Don Pasquale is all these and the humor evolves from all of the deception.
The audience will have the opportunity to experience the work of several guest artists, including two Don Pasquales. Stefano de Peppo, who recently appeared at the Atlanta Opera in leading roles, will be singing the title role, which he has performed numerous times around the world. As a native-born Italian, he will bring a natural affinity to both the language and the character. The other role of Don Pasquale will be guest stage director Dr. John Stephens who has also performed the title role numerous times in opera companies throughout the USA, and returns to the stage for his fourth opera here at UGA. Returning as guest International conductor will be Maestro Hilary Griffiths from Cologne, Germany. Maestro Griffiths also returns to Athens after his previous performances of Le Nozze de Figaro and Don Giovanni with the UGA Opera Theatre.
Deciding to bring Don Pasquale to the UGA campus fits in with the personal goals of the Wyatt and Margaret Anderson Professorship in the Arts Opera Director, Frederick Burchinal, and Ms. Kathryn Wright, Principal Opera Coach. They want to bring all of the best of the standard operatic repertoire to Athens for the purpose of educating the student singers with repertoire that they would sing for a lifetime. “[I want] to bring to our audiences’ operas that would only be available in major opera houses, and I search every year to find the ideal selection which suits our singers' abilities and will entertain and enlighten,” says Professor Burchinal.
Professor Burchinal remarks that Don Pasquale was one of the first major operas that he had the pleasure of performing. He played the part of the deceptive physician and friend to the young lovers, Dr. Malatesta, under the direction of Gian Carlo Menotti while at the Juilliard American Opera Center. “Don Pasquale has always been a favorite,” he says.
Since the opera will be performed in its original language, Italian, The UGA Opera Theatre will provide a simultaneous translation in English above the stage called Supertitles. The supertitles are generally word for word translations of the sung text so everyone can follow the story line, not miss any of the jokes, and then have the ability to enjoy the beautiful singing. Opera is the ultimate art form combining all aspects of music, scenic art, literature, dance, singing, orchestra, drama and acting, fashion through costumes, and architecture,” says Burchinal. Opera has been enjoyed for hundreds of years worldwide and the UGA Opera Theatre is excited to share this form of entertainment with Athens. Tickets for the production are $20 for adults and $6 for students and children, and can be purchased online at https://pac.uga.edu/event/uga-opera-theatre-2/2019-02-22/ or by phone at 706-542-4400.
Dates: Feb 22 at 7:30 PM, Feb 23 at 7:30 PM and Feb 24 at 3:00 PM