Louise Welsh recommends... Scottish Opera's Don Pasquale
Donizetti's comic opera has been updated to the generational battles of the 1960s
Let’s play word association; ‘Comic opera?’ ‘Not funny’. The phrase ‘Comic opera’ conjures images of rude noises on the bassoon and fat ladies falling over. Don Pasquale is an old man who determines to find himself a young wife – so far so Donald McGill – but Donizetti’s masterpiece, written year before he was overcome by syphilis induced dementia, is no cheap seaside postcard. It is a complex, brilliantly witty comedy, cut through with darkness.
Scottish Opera have cleverly relocated the action to the 1960s, a period of clashes between the generations. It is time when we suspect that at least part of the older generation’s disapproval, of the young was motivated by the wish that they were enjoying the same sexual freedoms.
Donizetti’s music is sublime and yes, Don Pasquale is funny. Remember, if you are under twenty-six you can get prime seats for only ten pounds.
Don Pasquale, Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 24 Jan–Sat 1 Feb; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 18–Sat 22 Feb. Louise Welsh supports Glasgow Women’s Library’s 21 Revolutions Kickstarter campaign; her upcoming book, A Lovely Way to Burn, will be published by John Murray on Thu 20 Mar.