Don Pasquale

Long Story Short

Foolish old man makes the mistake of a lifetime when he marries a pretty young thing.

Who's Who?

Don Pasquale is old, stingy, feeble, slow-witted, and thinks of himself as an attractive and eligible bachelor.

Ernesto is Don Pasquale’s handsome young nephew and heir.

Norina is an attractive young widow and Ernesto’s girlfriend.

Dr. Malatesta Don Pasquale’s best friend, loves to play practical jokes.

Sofronia Malatesta’s sister, stays in her convent during the opera (although Norina will impersonate her).

Carlotto Malatesta’s cousin, is a notary.

Where and When?

Don Pasquale’s villa in Rome, in the 1840s.

What's Going On?

Don Pasquale has demanded that Ernesto break up with Norina, his penniless widow of a girlfriend, and marry a woman Don Pasquale has chosen. But Ernesto refuses, because he and Norina truly love one another. To teach the young rascal who’s the boss, Pasquale decides to disinherit Ernesto and get married himself. Dr. Malatesta, foreseeing disaster, takes matters into his own hands and asks Don Pasquale to let him choose the bride. He explains he has a budding flower of a sister in a convent and means to introduce her to Don Pasquale. The old man is delighted, and so Dr. Malatesta starts to lay his trap.

The doctor tells Norina she must play the part of Sofronia, his sister, and enlists his cousin to help arrange a phony marriage. Norina acts meek and submissive when she meets Don Pasquale, and he “weds” her at once. But no sooner have they signed the (fake) marriage certificate than she changes character: now she makes the old man’s life a living hell by spending a fortune, partying all day and night, bossing Don Pasquale around, and even slapping him when he steps out of line. Just when Don Pasquale thinks he’s about to catch her in flagrante delicto with a paramour, Dr. Malatesta’s plot comes to a head, Don Pasquale learns an important lesson, and young love wins out over age and tyranny.

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Photo Credit

© Seattle Opera photo