Don Pasquale in Dijon: let’s love free

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Dijon. auditorium. 10-V-2022. Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848): Don Pasquale, Dramma Buffo in three acts to a libretto by Giovanni Ruffini. Director: Amélie Niermeyer. Sets and costumes: Marie-Alice Bahra. Lights: Tobias Löffler. Choreography: Dusten Klein. With: Laurent Naouri, bass baritone (Don Pasquale); Melody Louledjian, soprano (Norina); André Morsch, baritone (Malatesta); Nico Darmanin, tenor (Ernesto); Jonas Yajure, baritone (the Notary). Choir (choir director: Anass Ismat) and Dijon Bourgogne Orchestra direction: Debora Waldman

The Dijon Opera closes its operatic season with a major production of Donizetti’s opera-bouffe.

Don Pasquale/Pantalone, Malatesta/Scappino, Ernesto/Arlequino, Norina/Colombina: based on the characters of the commedia dell’arte, considered, in the lyrical world, as the ultimate avatar of the genre, the almost antepenelutth of the 71 operas of Gaetano Donizetti offers, in the absence of the constancy of his inspiration, the delectable of his libretto inspired from time to time by Ben Jonson whoseEpicoene, or the Silent Woman in 1609 entertained more than one composer: Pavesi (Ser Marcantonio), Mozart (The Simple Fake), Strauss (The Silent Woman – and no The woman without a shadow, as the room program claims, now only online in Dijon). An omnipotent bluebeard fooled by the young girl (feigned ingenuous then feigned virago) whom he had decided to take as his wife, as well as by the nephew whose sentimental life he believed he could control: a scenario which casually revolves around the idea of ​​good timeless doubt seizing the man in love who wonders if marriage will not transform his beloved into a shrew…

The German director Amelie Niermeyer, rather versed until then in tragedy (Wozzeck, The Mercy of Titus, Cardillac or Otello) navigates very comfortably through the twists and turns of a plot that she uses for libertarian purposes (a very transgender party with an Ernesto in heels in front of a banner free love) and, in the end, openly feminist: her Norina will escape the old Pasquale, but will also flee the arms of the young Ernesto, as if she had heard of the fate of the Rosina on fire from the Barbier became the Frozen Countess of Wedding. A probable probability given that this new production takes up residence in a rich bungalow from the 1970s. on a daily routine regulated like clockwork: guided tour of all the living spaces (even the garbage can wall on the edge of the street where the R5 in which Norina lives is parked) of Don Pasquale’s wealthy home. Pasquale, watched over by a hilarious trio of servants under orders, is a man who takes care of his body. The first image shows, in the early morning, two bare legs already in action beyond the comfortable sofa next to the swimming pool. First surprise that this number of charm which suggested a different owner than the one whose body then appears in full: these legs are not those of Norina but those of Pasquale!


Laurent Naouri, of whom we have not forgotten, in Lyon, the bewildering Mamma of the formidable production by Laurent Pelly of The theatrical inconveniences and inconveniences, another opera-bouffe with an irresistible screenplay by Donizetti, thus embodies, with an imposing craft, an authoritarian Pasquale certainly but above all still attractive: less a role of composition than an amused reflection on the passage of time and age as it go. The role fits him like a glove. Always ready for all sorts of pranks, Laurent Naouri has something to enjoy with the Norina that is sent to his feet: an unleashed Melody Louledjian, as hilarious (when she twists her ankles in restrictive heels) as a insolent self-assurance in the face of a game that offers her a few opportunities to show the vocal slaughter of which she is capable, the moving That look at the knight introductory up to a The moral in all of this swirling and spicy. These two fake lovebirds for a day are nicely manhandled by Nico Darmanin, charming Ernesto whose sunny timbre works wonders during the most memorable passage of the score, this melancholic prelude to I am looking for a distant land, with her trumpet à la Nino Rota at the opening of Act II, as by André Morsch, Malatesta well in place, so tactile with Pasquale, that one begins to suspect the director of wanting to lead the spectator towards a ending that would be quite unprecedented. Yonas Yajure is perfect as a notary that Amélie Niermeyer hilariously pulls out of the stream. From Act III, the show even winks towards the musical when in yellow overalls and orange caps, the choir (an excellent performance by the Chorus of the Dijon Opera) bursts into the residence of the newlyweds to deliver the consumerist follies of the mistress of the house, or at the end, when the very beautiful skies chiselled by the lights of Tobias Löffler leave naturalism to make way for a symbolic whirling of constellations (the planets align) then , as in a television show, to an ironic chromatic burst of motifs based on united hearts.

Debora Waldman proves to be more convincing this evening in Donizetti against an Orchester de Dijon Bourgogne in fine form than recently in Mozart against the Orchester national Avignon-Provence. The introductory orchestral tornado of theOpening that it brings the pit down with drum beating at the same time as the lights go out sets the tone for this luxury production which, although more superficial than that of Mariame Clément for Glyndebourne, Damiano Michieletto for Paris, or even Valentin Schwarz for Montpellier perfectly fulfills the specifications of top-of-the-range entertainment which is still struggling, on this opening night, to fill up the vast auditorium. The fault, not with the marvelous means engaged in Dijon, but, according to us, with a musical inspiration more agreed than that of the opera with the rather similar starting frame and towards which one sighs more than one moment the time of the representation : The Barber of Seville.

Credits photographics : © Mirco Magliocca

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Dijon. auditorium. 10-V-2022. Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848): Don Pasquale, Dramma Buffo in three acts to a libretto by Giovanni Ruffini. Director: Amélie Niermeyer. Sets and costumes: Marie-Alice Bahra. Lights: Tobias Löffler. Choreography: Dusten Klein. With: Laurent Naouri, bass baritone (Don Pasquale); Melody Louledjian, soprano (Norina); André Morsch, baritone (Malatesta); Nico Darmanin, tenor (Ernesto); Jonas Yajure, baritone (the Notary). Choir (choir director: Anass Ismat) and Dijon Bourgogne Orchestra direction: Debora Waldman

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