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Don Pasquale Press Reviews

‘Scottish Opera’s new production of Don Pasquale made me feel like I was riding pillion on a Vespa under scorching Italian skies…What with the cracking pace and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera n fiery form under the baton of Francesco Corti, this comedy opera generated a lot of heat. The singing was truly beautiful with a trio of strong male leads and Ruth Jenkins-Robertsson as Norina coming on all Nigellissima, in her Capri pants, with just a sliver of Sybil Fawlty – a star in the making.’
Daily Record *****
 

‘This is a sure-footed and nimble piece of comic opera. Not only do you get the light lyrical music of Donizetti, perfectly performed, but you also get to see great comic timing in every role. Whilst it might not work out too well for the Don himself, for audiences this is a real slice of la dolce vita.’
TVBomb ***** (5 Bombs)
 

‘If the director-designer duo Renaud Doucet and Andre Barbe were setting out to prove that Donzetti’s Don Pasquale deserves higher status within his operatic output, they have succeeded big time…[they have created] a holistic tour de force that is both spectacular and, behind the comedy, genuinely moving. Despite the squalid old Pasquale we first meet – brilliantly portrayed by a larger than life Alfonso Antoniozzi – we eventually warm to his remorse. Aldo di Toro’s Ernesto has soft, soaring passion. Nicholas Lester is subtly scheming as Malatesta. Ruth Jenkins-Robertsson cuts a convincingly conniving Norina.’
The Scotsman ****

 

‘The veteran Itialian bass Alfonso Antoniozzi has the sort of voice that imposes itself by sheer character alone, and his Pasquale…is a wonderfully rounded curmudgeon, genuinely shattered by Norina’s rejection… All sing well, and young [Ruth] Jenkins-Robertsson in particular is stunning: the tone bright but not strident, the coloratura crystal-clear, and plenty of theatrical verve too. Similar qualities infuse the orchestral playing. Under Francesco Corti’s dapper beat it is light, well-pointed and ideally placed to serve both the fizzing comedy and those brief but beguiling moments when romance rears its incongruous head.’
The Times ****

 

‘There’s no fool like an old fool and so it proves in Scottish Opera’s joyous new production of Donizetti’s comic masterpiece Don Pasquale…Re-set to Rome at the zenith of the Swinging Sixties, the spirit of la dolce vita abounds throughout director Renaud Doucet and designer Andre Barbe’s effervescent production. The curtain opens to murmers of approval from the packed audience and the production does not disappoint throughout, with delightful fine detail ini both direction and staging and a universally fine-voiced cast.’
The Public Reviews ****˟(4 and a half)

 

‘This new production of Donzietti’s sharp satire on inter-generational dysfunction is comic opera with the comedy dial turned up to 11. Some excellent sight gags, lots of well-drilled physical comedy, double-takes and skittering lyrics, all delivered at pace (by operatic standards) with panache in a cleverly compact set, add up to an evening of concentrated pleasure…But there’s also some quite classy art getting made. Donizetti’s ripe score is capable, often when you least expect it, of yielding up moments of great beauty, and both a crisply on-form orchestra and a confident cast wring much joy from those, especially in the duet and ensemble passages.’
Scottish Daily Express ****

 

‘By playing it – convincingly – a little like a sitcom, Scottish Opera’s new production underlines the modern manners of the piece…the fotoromanza screened during the overture, revealing Don Pasquale to be a cat-mad bachelor with an unfortunate feline allergy, adds an amusing twist…[Ruth Jenkins-Robertsson’s Norina]manages the kitten-turned-tigress transformation with ease, and she has the right mix of silver and steel in her soprano.’
Telegraph ****

 

‘Donizetti’s delightfully jaunty score and humorous libretto (co-authored with Giovanni Ruffini) is more than matched by Alfonso Antoniozzi’s wonderfully exasperated Pasquale (who often seems on the verge of pulling out what hair he has left) and Ruth Jenkins-Robertsson’s bold Norina. Strong performances, individual and ensemble, and neat comic touches (such as a shuffling, fag-smoking housemaid heaving an impossibly huge laundry above the terrace) add deliciously to a beautifully sung production’s over-arching sense of fun.’
Sunday Herald

 

‘[Best of all] was the sparkling Norina of Ruth Jenkins-Robertsson, a masterclass in how to sing a bel canto heroine. She had the full range of the role, capped by a gleaming top and rock-solid coloratura, and the soubrettish colour of her voice allowed her to fit right inside the character. She is one to watch.’
SeenAndHeardInternational.com

 

‘Director Renaud Doucet and designer Andre Barbe update their Don Pasquale to Italy in 1963, where the old curmudgeon is keeping a run-down pensione with his nephew Ernesto…The updating is bold and adroitly observed. Alfonso Antoniozzi’s Pasquale is a laughable old man who finds relief in his stash of Catwoman comics. Antoniozzi’s characterisation is as detailed as his brusque, slightly arrogant delivery. Aldo Di Toro’s subservient Ernesto…clearly does not wear the trousers in his burgeoning relationship with Ruth Jenkins-Robertsson’s Norina. She makes that role her own, with a strong substantial voice that still dances lightly through the fast passages and a performance that plays deliciously on the cat theme…this is a real treat.’
The Stage
 

 

Alfonso Antoniozzi plays the grouchy, dirty title role not as the classic fool, but with real compassion and poignancy. Aldo di Toro’s Ernesto is a simple, lovable lad with a sweet, ardent tenor (his Com’e Gentil is a highlight), and Nicholas Lester’s smooth Malatesta completes a strong trio of male leads…Making her debut as Norina is Ruth Jenkins-Robertsson, a 26 year old soprano who is clearly going places.’
The Guardian ***

 

‘Scottish Opera have an entertaining show on their hands…[Aldo Di Toro has]a tenor voice that warms your heart with open and honest expressivity.’
The Herald ***