Don Pasquale: Fort Worth Opera

Production photo from Don Pasquale: Fort Worth Opera

Composed by Gaetano Donizetti

Stage Director: Chuck Hudson
Conductor: Joe Illick

TheaterJones TOP 10 of 2018! Fort Worth Opera’s 1950s Hollywood-inspired production of ‘Don Pasquale’ was one of Gregory Sullivan Isaacs favorite music and opera events of the year. Congrats to director Chuck Hudson and the entire cast and crew of this riotous romp!

Laughing All the Way The Fort Worth Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale is filled with goofball good times, and great singing.
This is a riotous laugh-a-minute production, originally designed for the Arizona Opera, that is set in the Golden Age of Hollywood but most of the comic bits come straight out of Vaudeville. Chuck Hudson’s rapid-fire direction makes them happen in such a machine-gun manner that the audience supplied a constant laugh track worthy of the silliest 50’s sitcoms. But even the corniest bits worked as though we had never seen them — at least, not recently…this is an excellent and completely entertaining updating…This production and its cornball shenanigans are a lot of fun—with some great singing tossed in for good measure. -Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, TheaterJones

Fabulous singing and full of laughs, Don Pasquale entertains in 50s Hollywood style at Fort Worth Opera.
The comic madness that accompanies Donizetti’s effervescent score in his 1843 premiered Don Pasquale comes with a jolly good 1950s Hollywood update from director Chuck Hudson in a production from Arizona Opera that was first seen in 2014…Hudson’s concept imaginatively incorporates the black and white celluloid world of the silent film era to identify Don Pasquale as “The Sovereign of the Silver Screen”. When the vibrant overture began, Hudson gave his audience black and white movie magic with Don Pasquale starring in the title role of his most celebrated film, “The Sheik of Arabia”, a hoot of a start using old footage and fake superimposed characters. More of those celluloid divertissements popped up later and kept up the fun act. -Paul Selar, The Australian Herald Sun

There’s nothing small about Fort Worth Opera’s silver screen “Don Pasquale”
Fort Worth Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, which opened Saturday night at Bass Performance Hall, channels the 1950 movie classic Sunset Boulevard for an unfailingly intriguing, often hilarious take on this masterpiece of comic opera.
Director Chuck Hudson, known for his innovative approach to opera, created this version for Arizona Opera in 2014…the production neatly enhances and retells this predictable romance for 21st Century audiences.
Soprano Audrey Luna, meanwhile, blazed and bounded through the role of Norina; Donizetti created Norina as a young woman with a bit more knowledge than the typical operatic ingenue, so presenting her as a Hollywood starlet was a superb concept. Luna first appears in a bubble bath (with cameras rolling), delivering the trills, high notes, and other vocal acrobatics of “So anch’io la virtù magica” with impressive skill and ease, all the while performing a reverse strip tease that would have done Gypsy Rose Lee proud. -Wayne Lee Gay, Texas Classical Review

Have you ever been to an opera and walked out humming the concept?…Donizetti wove beauty into his romantic arias and composed duets, trios and quartets with such enjoyable vocal presence that his music is never pushed aside by imaginative staging and concept established by Director, Chuck Hudson. Both ideas seemingly play well with each other, demonstrating that the many disciplines of the fine arts collaborate well with each other, and form a unique puzzle, with each individual piece providing purpose for the entire picture…I found that the overall vision was creative, and appealing. It would certainly be a fantastic introduction to anyone who has a “distaste” for opera. –Genevieve Croft, The Column

Considering the work is opera buffa or commedia in musica and rooted in Italian comedic characters and tradition, I really appreciated the details and style of your update which honored the traditions of comedy. The concept of updating time and place is also characteristic of comedic practice in the 1500’s in Italy, so Bravo from your historically minded friend! -Catherine Turocy, Artistic Director of the New York Baroque Dance Company

Opera buffa lovers are in for an uproarious treat in 2018, as visionary director Chuck Hudson joins forces with maestro Joe Illick for a sparkling, bubbly production of Donizetti’s bel canto romp, Don Pasquale. Audiences will be transported to the golden era of Hollywood in the 1950s, as Pasquale, an aging silent film star — sets off to resurrect his ailing career and find a wife and heir to his fortune…The laughs come fast and furious in Hudson’s ode to cinema, as Dr. Malatesta hatches a plot on behalf of Norina and Pasquale’s nephew Ernesto to bring them together and teach the Don a lesson. This classic 19th century comedy gets a glamorous, glitzy update, with sight gags galore and a riotous parade of pop culture icons, like Carmen Miranda, Jackie Gleason, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley, played to perfection by FWOpera’s brilliant chorus members. -Ft Worth Opera Website

This bubbly farce, helmed by visionary director Chuck Hudson, re-imagines the opera’s miserly aristocrat as an aging silent film star living out his days in Sunset Boulevard seclusion. We promise that you’ll be roaring with laughter, as you watch the rise and fall of a “legend” looking to resurrect his career in a cinematic world gone Technicolor. -Ft Worth Opera PRESS RELEASE

As Fort Worth Opera continues to celebrate 75 years of great operatic moments on the stage here in Fort Worth, we look back at director Chuck Hudson’s dazzling, 1950s Hollywood-inspired ‘Don Pasquale’ from 2018 [that] had audiences rolling in the aisles. – Aug 2020 Facebook Post

See photos and videos of the 2017 Minnesota Opera Production.

See photos and videos of the 2017 Atlanta Opera Production.

See photos and videos of the 2015 Cincinnati Opera production.

See photos and videos of the Original 2014 Arizona Opera production.