The University of Georgia Opera Theatre, along with esteemed guest artists, take on the beloved opera Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti at the Fine Arts Theatre. The opera is set to run February 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 24 at 3 p.m.
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 Don Pasquale performed by 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. Joining the UGA Opera Theatre as well is guest stage director Dr. John Stephens who has 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.
If you haven't experienced an opera production by our faculty, students and guest artists, you owe it to yourself to come and enjoy this extraordinary production. Our students who train under Burchinal and Wright epitomize the level of first rate vocal and performance talents that go onto careers on stages around the world. Catch them here first.