Comedy without the clichés: Don Pasquale charms Zurich

A new production of Donizetti’s classic “Don Pasquale” comes with a twist – ditching the usual clichés to focus instead on the complexity of the characters.

The witty comedy at the Zurich Opera House stars Julie Fuchs and Johannes Martin Kränzle in the leading roles.

In a plot full of twists and turns, Don Pasquale’s supposed young wife Norina turns his life upside down.

Stage Director Christof Loy has taken a new look at the old classic.

Kränzle told Musica: “Most versions are very similar, where Don Pasquale is a misery, scuffling around with his hot-water bottle. And we have asked the question, how can we portray him differently.”

When Donizetti composed the piece in 1842, the first signs of his deadly illness were already evident.

Loy says it shows through in the story.

“These feelings of farewell to life, but also the moments of joy that life has to offer, to show them and find a balance was actually what I set out to do when I decided to stage this piece.

“I wanted to show Norina as a woman who discovers through the encounter with Don Pasquale something in her, that is like a moral conscience … and I think it’s beautiful that she is going on such a kind of life journey.”

Soprana Fuchs says: “To play the role of Norina is delightful because she is funny and especially in this staging you can see a lot of subtle humour.

“The moral of this story for me is that love is everywhere.”

The last word goes to Loy.

“With Don Pasquale, you can learn a lot about what it means to fall in love and above all to have an open heart.”

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