Don Pasquale (1955)

TV Movie   |  Comedy, Music

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30 May 2012 | TheLittleSongbird
| An amazing Don Pasquale, especially for Bruscantini
When it comes to Donizetti, my favourite operas of his are Lucia Di Lammermoor and L'Elisir D'Amore, the former because mainly of the Mad Scene and listening to the Sutherland, Pavarotti and Milnes recording over and over, and the latter being my first Donizetti. But Don Pasquale is still a gem, the comedy sparkles and the more touching parts are very heartfelt. And this 1955 performance is just amazing, before my favourite Don Pasquales were the 2007 Simone Alaimo and 1994 Ferruccio Furlanetto performances but after seeing this for Sesto Bruscantini my favourite version is now this one. It is simple and straightforward yet just as funny and heartwarming as it should be. The costumes and sets are lovely to watch, the black and white is clean and the photography never tries to do too much or too little. The sound is good, only the lip-sync is a little disappointing, not always in sync with the singing but not as problematic as other opera performances I've seen. The orchestra, chorus and conducting are excellent, with the orchestral playing warm and vibrant, the conducting showing an understanding for Donizetti's style by not being too broad or too plodding and the chorus are very animated. As are the principal singing, with Aldo Noni's Norina faring least. And that's not because she is bad, she isn't, far from it, she plays innocent and shrewish very convincingly and has excellent diction, but for my tastes her top is a little wiry on occasions. Cesare Valetti is a funny and very earnest Ernesto, but the prime and joy of his performance was his singing, which is beautiful and stylish, singing almost reminiscent of his teacher's(the wonderful Tito Schipa). Italo Tajo is a Pasquale full of character, the comedy comes naturally to him and the pathos is genuinely affecting. His voice is quite noble with some striking tone colour such as warm for Un Foco Insolito and a little gruffer for Prendo Moglie. My favourite was Sesto Bruscantini, simply the funniest and most scheming Malatesta I've ever seen, and his singing is lovely and characterful with beautifully articulated ornamentations and the like. His and Tajo's pattering are done with blistering energy. Overall, amazing. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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