Globe Theatre, 312 Main St, Palmerston North

06/02/2019 - 07/02/2019

4th Wall Theatre, New Plymouth

02/02/2019 - 03/02/2019

Production Details

From the creative team that brought you The Marriage of Figaro comes the sparkling Donizetti comedy, Don Pasquale

A miserly bachelor gets more than he bargained for when he enters into an arranged marriage.

TOUR dates – 2019

Blyth Centre, Iona College, Tuesday 29 January – Buy tickets

MTG Century Theatre, Wednesday 30 January – Buy tickets

4th Wall Theatre, Saturday 2 Feb & Sunday 3 Feb – Buy tickets

Royal Wanganui Opera House, Tuesday 5 Feb – Buy tickets

Globe Theatre, Wednesday 6 Feb & Thursday 7 Feb – Buy tickets

Town Hall, Saturday 9 Feb & Sunday 10 Feb – Buy tickets

Adam Concert Room, Victoria University, Thurs 14 Feb & Fri 15 Feb – Buy tickets

Expressions Whirinaki Arts Centre, Sunday 24 February – Buy tickets

Don Pasquale:  Stuart Coats
Norina:  Georgia Jamieson Emms
Dr. Malatesta:  Craig Beardsworth
Ernesto:  Barbara Paterson 

Costume design:  Sally Gray
Lighting design:  Jennifer Lal 

Theatre , Comic Opera ,

Affectionately crafted effervescence

Review by Richard Mays 07th Feb 2019

Marriage at First Sight is not a new concept. Neither is scamming the elderly. In 1843, Donizetti’s comic opera Don Pasquale made sport with both ideas, and it has been a popular example of the genre ever since. 

This delightfully accomplished, bubbly, pared-back travelling production from Wanderlust Opera, translates it into topical English and moves the fun into the early 20th century.

Pasquale, a frugal and wealthy bachelor, has evicted and disinherited Ernesto, his golf-playing nephew and heir. The fusty old traditionalist is annoyed that Ernesto has refused the bride picked out for him, so decides to marry and produce his own heir.

However, Ernesto is in love with Norina, a forthright, liberated, bicycle-riding suffragist, who conspires with Pasquale’s physician, Doctor Malatesta to have her beau’s status and fortunes restored.

Talk about breaking patient confidentiality. Knowing Pasquale is looking for a bride, Malatesta poses Norina as his younger meek and mild, convent-cloistered sister, Cordelia.

At their first meeting, Pasquale is smitten. Malatesta already has the papers prepared, and presto – instant bride! However, Cordelia is not the wife Pasquale was expecting. ‘Buyers remorse’ sets in soon after the ink has dried as the new and suddenly assertive ‘wife’ races off with the Edwardian equivalent of her husband’s credit card. 

The opportunities for lively vocals, crisp characterisations, irony and slapstick are plenty, and the cast don’t miss a trick during this effervescent period presentation.

Pared-down it may be, but with its animated character combinations laced with humour and light-hearted contemporary and Kiwi references, it captures the opera’s true spirit and essence.

Despite his Donald Trump wig, Stuart Coats’ Pasquale manages to elicit sympathy, as he is out-manoeuvred by his non-consummating, spendthrift, take-no-prisoners ‘spouse’, and her two fellow conspirators. This includes some entertaining by-play with polished onstage accompanist, pianist Bruce Greenfield.

Craig Beardsworth cuts a fine vocal dash as the duplicitous doctor, and his patter song duet with Coats is one of several highlights.  

Unusually, soprano Barbara Paterson takes the tenor’s role as Ernesto, and adopts enough youthful male physicality to make that work. Her voice adds quite another dimension to the traditional lovers’ duets.

As the role-playing, savvy Norina, Georgia Jamieson Emms has all facets of her character under control, expressing her with beautiful tone and clarity.

During the second act, the principals are briefly joined from the audience by members of Palmerston North’s Shed 23 Chorus, directed by Jennifer Moss, for a musical turn around Pasquale’s garden. 

On a set defined by moveable lattice screens and Jennifer Lal’s lighting, the affectionately crafted production’s well-paced combination of voice, character and costume made this Don Pasquale an engaging celebration of operatic style.


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Palpable impact

Review by Taryn Utiger 05th Feb 2019

Wanderlust gives Don Pasquale a refreshing and contemporary revamp, allowing it to entertain a new generation of theatre goers and reach people who would never otherwise go to the opera.  

This intimate and condensed version of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale is endlessly amusing, equally charming and a delight to the ears of both Opera stalwarts, and those new to the art form.

Like the Ugly Shakespeare Company does for the Bard’s work, Wanderlust makes opera relevant. It strips back the elitist stereotype of the genre and offers instead a whimsical and accessible version, while being uncompromising in the quality of the performance.

Directed by Jacqueline Coats with Georgia Jamieson Emms as the librettist and Bruce Greenfield as the musical director, Wanderlust’s version of this classic comic opera is a winner.

Don Pasquale, played adeptly by Stuart Coats, is a miserly bachelor who gets more than he bargains for when he enters into an arranged marriage.

The talented Craig Beardsworth as Dr Malatesta masterminds the storyline and hatches a plan to wed his sister to Don Pasquale. He presents his sister Norina as a shy young woman who has just left the nunnery and would be a docile housewife.

However, Norina is actually a firecracker, push-bike riding feminist who Kate Sheppard would love. She’s also engaged to Ernesto, Don Pasquale’s nephew, and would-be heir.

It’s fair to say the story is pleasantly entertaining, but it’s the voices of Georgia Jamieson Emms as Norina and Barbara Paterson as Ernesto that are the stars of the show. Just wow. They hit you right in the feels.

When in duet, these dynamic two offer both moments of tenderness and hilarity, and can flick between the two in a heartbeat. And when all four on stage sing together, the impact is palpable.

With modern references to everything from cryptocurrency, to A Star is Born, Meryl Streep and Downton Abbey, this passionate cast and crew gently bring this 175-year-old opera into the 21st Century.

Long may Wanderlust continue to bring opera to the masses in such an accessible and joyful way. 


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