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Ravishing ”Don Pasquale”!

The premiere of Gaetano Donizetti’s  ”Don Pasquale”, staged by Jerzy Stuhr, was given at the Krakow Opera (2, 3, 4 December 2016). The audience gave the artists a great standing ovation. The audience’s enthusiastic reception of the performance, outbursts of laughter, thunderous applause after arias and duets, the acclaim for the fantastic stage set and costumes made the premiere a great celebration of the Opera.  

Accomplished soloists won the hearts of the audience. We had the opportunity to hear Grzegorz Szostak and Dariusz Machej as Don Pasquale, to admire Mariusz Kwiecień and Mariusz Godlewski as Malatesta, Alexandra Flood  and Anna Wolfinger as Norina, and Andrzej Lampert and Sang-Jun Lee as Ernesto. The appearance of Jerzy Stuhr on stage in the part of Notary was a special treat for the audience. The part was also played by Krzysztof Dekański. Tomasz Tokarczyk was in charge of musical direction. Alicja Kokosińska designed the stage set, whilst Maria Balcerek designed costumes. Jacek Tomasik was in charge of stage movement, Jacek Mentel prepared the chorus. Bogumił Palewicz was the lighting director.

”When first I came to the opera, what I saw was huge professionalism, enthusiasm and energy. The signers greatly inspired me, and brought with them a lot of powerful energy. The artists impressed me not only by their talents, but also their approach to work. Director, what a beautiful team! I also thank the audience for the great atmosphere” - said Jerzy Stuhr at the meeting after the Friday premiere.

The dates of next performances of ”Don Pasquale": 31 March, 1 and 2 April 2017.

Excerpts of reviews:

”In Krakow comic scenes are built by gestures, even looks, and of course, costumes – on the border of exaggeration, but still a display of good taste (to Maria Balcerek’s design). The stage director does not re-create the past; he plays with it and enriches it, for example by a fashion show on stage, led by an 18th-century Lagerfeld. The rest is up to the performers. Mariusz Kwiecień shows his exuberant personality at its best, signing beautiful bel canto, while at the same time  showing how important every word is”. 
Jacek Marczyński, ”Rzeczpospolita”, 5.12.2016

”It was light, funny and charming. (...) Group scenes of the performance are superb. They are visually ravishing with their choreography which organises action and a stage space”.
Łukasz Gazur, ”Dziennik Polski”, 5.12.2016

”»Don Pasquale« at the Krakow Opera is a sheer pleasure to watch. A good fun merges with the air of melancholy and irony; the characters are expressive, the singers cope with the most difficult phrases with great ease, conducting musical conversations. (...) Both casts showed at their best. Not only the brightest star – Mariusz Kwiecień – with bravado impersonating Malatesta -- the spiritus movens of the plot -- lightly and unpretentiously displaying his great vocal skills (because the opera and the staging allows for that). Mariusz Godlewski, another Malatesta, is a bit different character, seems quieter than the other, also showing vocal excellence. Both young and beautiful Norinas (Alexandra Flood and Anna Wolfinger) seduce the audience with their voice and acting talents. Sang-Jun Lee and Andrzej Lampert play the role of Ernesto – both moving and funny. Dariusz Machej and Grzegorz Szostak were excellent in the role of the comical and neurasthenic Don Pasquale. 
Joanna Targoń, ”Gazeta Wyborcza”, 6.12.2016

”Jerzy Stuhr succeeded in making a lively spectacle, without no longueur at all, in which every gesture and every look are well justified, and every singer, including the chorus, knows exactly who and how they should play. I recommend all of you the »Don Pasquale« at the Krakow Opera…”.
Mateusz Borkowski, portal natemat.pl, 6.12.2016

”Jerzy Stuhr created a spectacle in which he focused on highlighting the comical aspects of the text and situations, without interfering with the singers’ vocal tasks; he created a true theatre. (...) The performance was very well prepared and executed musically. (…) Mariusz Kwiecień as Malatesta was sensational in every respect, Andrzej Lampert, a nephew ill-treated by his uncle, sang beautifully”.

Anna Woźniakowska, portal polskamuza.eu, 3.12.2016 

”Outbursts of laughter in the audience, a standing ovation, encores during the performance, Mariusz Kwiecień at his best, and Jerzy Stuhr – an expert in the comedy repertoire, this in his opera debut. (…) The audience often burst with laughter, practically from the very first notes of the opera. Here we should bow low to the Grzegorz Szostak in the role of Don Pasquale. His character is the most expressive and almost the entire weight of the spectacle depends on him. Szostak created the role not only musically flawless. He was authentic and convincing, showing a distance from himself. (…) Mariusz Kwiecień, in the role of Malatesta, was at his best -   his confidence, unfaltering voice and technical perfection were in the top shape. His acting was expressive, soft, subtle and natural. (…) Donizetti’s »Don Pasquale« at the Krakow Opera is a result of the close cooperation between the conductor, Tomasz Tokarczyk, the stage director and the actors who showed the command of the text and acting. As a result we finally received a work based on the word, while at the same time musically up to the highest standards (A big hand for the orchestra, a big hand for the soloists!)”.
Katarzyna Paluch, portal onet.pl, 3.12.2016