This February, love conquers all with Wichita Grand Opera’s (WGO) contemporary twist on Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, relocated to modern day Wichita, with English lyrics instead of traditional Italian. This performance takes place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Wichita’s Orpheum Theatre. This production will mark the first time a full-scale opera has ever been performed on the Orpheum’s historic, 90-year-old stage.
For much of his career, Gaetano Donizetti was the absolute top of the operatic world. At one time, one out of every four operas performed in Italy carried the name “G. Donizetti” on the cover. He was such a prolific composer that he wrote Don Pasquale, widely regarded as his greatest comedy, in less than two weeks!
William Powers takes on double-duty in this production, bringing Met Opera credentials to the title role plus serving as stage director of this all-new production. In his modernized concept, “Don” Pasquale is the well-to-do son of Italian immigrants who, as he nears retirement, spends his time running one of Wichita’s most beloved Italian restaurants and caring for his orphaned nephew Ernesto, sung by Dustin Peterson in his return to the local stage. When Ernesto shows no interest in Pasquale’s attempts to set him up with a “nice girl”, Pasquale decides to find a wife for himself instead.
Dr. Malatesta, sung by WGO regular Michael Nansel, hears of Pasquale’s plans and sees an opportunity. He has been enjoying a bit of a fling with a young waitress named Norina, sung bySharin Apostolou in her WGO debut, but needs a way to end the relationship without creating a scandal. If he can overcome Pasquale’s objections to Norina’s low social standing, the Doctor might be able to make a match between Norina and Ernesto, if she will play along. Fortunately, Norina has already been eyeing the handsome young man! The Doctor’s scheme plays itself out with a lot of laughs along the way.
The production will be conducted by Maestro Ken Hakoda, Music Director of the Salina Symphony. Tickets for Wichita Grand Opera’s performance at the Orpheum are available through SelectASeat.com or through the WGO Box Office (316-262-8054).