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Donizetti's comedy 'Don Pasquale' is the sixty-fourth of his sixty-six operas, and was written only a year before the onset of the syphilis-induced dementia that was eventually to overwhelm him. In the circumstances it is hardly surprising that the diamond-bright wit and brilliance of this opera also has a distinctly dark side.

Pasquale is a man no longer in the first flush of youth who nonetheless hopes to marry and produce an heir, being dissatisfied with the current holder of that position, his nephew Ernesto. He intends to disinherit Ernesto, who has had the temerity to fall in love with Norina, an impoverished widow. The plot thickens, twists and turns from this point, as Pasquale’s supposed friend, Doctor Malatesta, assists Ernesto and Norina in a complex and increasingly vindictive deception.

The return of Mariame Clément’s 2011 touring production, designed by Julia Hansen, stars Italian baritone Alessandro Corbelli in the title role, with Danielle de Niese (Norina). Enrique Mazzola conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra and The Glyndebourne Chorus.

(A revival of the 2011 Tour production, sung in Italian with English supertitles. Broadcast live to cinemas and online on Aug 6 2013.)

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