The listing was wrong in yesterday's Weekend section for the Opera Theater of Washington's performance of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" at the New Lecture Hall of American University. It is today at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Grand opera stands or falls on the quality of its singers. Opera buffa has other means of support, and it was marvelous acting that made the Opera Theater of Washington's production of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" at American University such a delight last night. Not that there wasn't fine singing here also. Kathryn Evans has a very flexible voice, and she used it accurately and with considerable imagination in the role of the formidable Norina, coquette turned innocent turned shrew. As the scheming Dr. Maletesta, baritone Henry Burroughs brought to bear an impressive arsenal of vocal equipment and managed to clothe some of the evening's funniest lines in the evening's most beautiful singing.
But, in the end, it was splendid acting from these two and from Michael Ryan in the title role; inspired pantomiming by Anne Stovall-Charrier, the maid who never utters a sound but who reflects every nuance of the unlikely story in her bearing; and funny stage business by other silent servants that was the focus of this production. Scott Mattingly was a little too straight as Ernesto and sounded strained all evening.
A simple but effective set made good use of the curtainless stage, and all set changes were accomplished by the staff of maids and butlers that solemnly maintained their dignity and humor while pushing statuary, furniture and walls into place.
Good costumes and a surprisingly effective instrumental ensemble of piano, four winds and guitar under the direction of Doris Mattingly contributed to a fine show.
It runs through June 6 and is worth seeing.