We are always attracted to comedy, not only because it refreshes the soul, but it also touches our hearts, and it is a wonderful medium to convey serious social or moral messages. Don Pasquale, with all the characteristics of a farce and a situation comedy manages to do all this, but it also has some melancholic characteristics that makes this particular opera interesting to me, and Opera Omaha has given us a wonderful cast and production team to explore this piece.
We will start from this point; all the characters will experience a morality lesson and will change in the course of the story. Don Pasquale is a man during the sunset of his existence, looking for a second lease in life, wanting to feel young again and have a family around him. He doesn’t realize he could have all of that, but his prejudices affect him and those around him. These prejudices blind him from the fact that love is all around him, his nephew Ernesto, could give him the family he yearns for. His nephew’s fault: he is marrying for love and not for security. Don Pasquale is set in his ways at the age of 70, he wants things the way he wants them. It will take a series of plotting and deception to teach him a lesson.
Ernesto also needs to be taught a lesson. He is young, insecure, and has been living out of the support of his uncle, (though that could be the way Don Pasquale shows his love. How many of us have parents who may not show affection the way we want it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love us?) which, I think, he takes for granted and has made him complacent. He is also easy to have fits of jealousy; Norina will take care of that!
Malatesta cares sincerely for his friend Ernesto and wants to help him by devising a deceiving plot against Don Pasquale. His fault lies in the belief that he knows more than a man who has experienced life longer than him. Norina comes to be the catalyst, who at the end of the day will teach all of the men a lesson. She is a feminist, a modern woman for the times in the story, who can really see and analyze the intentions of all the characters. She will also have some learning to do when she takes things too far and experiences remorse.
This journey will transform all the characters and teach each one of them a morality lesson, but as in all comedies, especially the ones where deception is the main tool: nothing may seem what it is! Who is really in control of the whole plot? You will have to wait for the end.
— Octavio Cardenas, Director