Italian opera comes to town

DOUBLE TREAT

Italian opera comes to town

As one entered the much familiar Kamani Auditorium, the niche audience dressed predominantly in black signifies that the performance slated for the evening is not any run of the mill.

A wide space in front of the stage was occupied by musical instruments and wrought iron stands bearing notes for the orchestra. As the violin tunes fell on ear, it felt that the performance had begun, but all of a sudden they stopped and all rose for the conductor.

Such was the opening of the Italian opera, Don Pasquale, which was staged in the City by The Neemrana Music Foundation.

The momentum of musical notes changed from joyous to mellow and then dramatic following the stick of the conductor, Antonio Giovanni Bono, whose music provided just the correct ambience for the theatrics to start. Engrossed in his art, the conductor’s breath and hands swayed in tandem, leading the the to and fro movement of sticks on violins and cellos (big violins) in his troupe.

After a short musical piece, the curtains raised and the theatrics of Don Pasquale that followed, made it a perfect treat - both audibly and visually.

Directed by Gaetano Donizetti, the opera narrated the story of ageing Don Pasquale, who desired to disinherit his nephew Ernesto and get married. So he started looking for a bride for himself. His friend Dr Malatesta made a plan to foil this idea by arranging a wedding between Pasquale and the young Norina, who is actually Ernesto’s beloved.

This led to a series of comic encounters as the greed of the increasingly battered and bewildered Don Pasquale is exposed and his aim to become a groom remains incomplete.
This comic opera was staged in three acts by talented artists who not only master the art of singing opera but also the theatrical ability to deliver meticulous expressions. Giovanni di Mare, who played the protagonist Don Pasquale, was a perfect example of this.

“My master taught me,” shared Giovanni di Mare, with the help of a translator, “The most important thing as a singer is not to sing for yourself but to give the impression to the audience that they are singing. It is only when the energy of the singer is translated to the audience that the music resonates in the auditorium.” So it did, for even those who did not understand Italian music or language.

Even the gimmicks and antics of the cast, especially Giovanni di Mare were par excellence. All of them synchronis- ed their voices and their acting to make the opera a well-crafted play in the presence of live orchestra.

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