WORKS: Don Pasquale (in English)
PERFORMER: Andrew Shore, Jason Howard, Barry Banks, Lynne Dawson; Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, LPO/David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3011(2
Here is another in Chandos’s splendid ‘Opera in English’ series. Andrew Shore’s characterisation of the pompous-but-likeable Pasquale has been much admired on the stage, and comes across ebulliently on disc, from his opening scene with Malatesta to the delightful final scene in the garden. Shore’s ripe buffo-baritone is ideally suited to the role. Lynne Dawson is a lively Norina, with an attractive, pure soprano voice and an engaging personality. Jason Howard is a vivid Malatesta, and Barry Banks brings his pleasant lyric tenor to the role of Pasquale’s nephew Ernesto.
One of Donizetti’s most popular comedies, Don Pasquale is an opera which moves at an engagingly brisk pace from beginning to end, with only one or two moments in Acts II and III where tender sentiment is allowed to slow it down. David Parry, who conducts the gloriously melodic score with affection, is rewarded by first-rate playing from the orchestra. Parry is also responsible for the excellent translation which is clearly articulated by the entire cast. This is a thoroughly delightful performance of a deservedly popular work, and is well recorded on two discs. A bonus disc is included, which gives 73 minutes of highlights from several other operas in this highly successful Chandos series. For those who must have their Pasquale in Italian, Renato Bruson leads a superb cast on RCA. Charles Osborne