• Don Pasquale Educator Guide

What to Expect from Don Pasquale

Some operas stir the soul. Some chill audiences to the bone. Some are bittersweet, and many are tragic. Don Pasquale is pure, unadulterated farce, set to music that’s sparkling, brainy, and jaw-droppingly demanding—and yet it touches on deeper levels of emotion that make it one of the great humane comedies in opera. Gaetano Donizetti’s tale of an old bachelor and the loved ones who trick him into doing the right thing feels as fresh as any recent movie or TV show, though it’s been charming music lovers for nearly 170 years.

  • Classroom Activity

    A full-length activity, designed to support your ongoing curriculum.
  • Musical Highlights

    Three "Musical Highlights" designed to focus on bits of music from Don Pasquale to cultivate familiarity with the work.
  • Performance Activities

    Performance Activities for students to enjoy during the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission.
  • Post-Show Discussion

    A post-transmission activity, integrating the Live in HD experience into students' wider views of the performing arts and humanities.

Don Pasquale at the Met

Russian diva Anna Netrebko, previously seen in the Live in HD transmissions of Gounod’s romantic Roméo et Juliette, Offenbach’s fantastical Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Donizetti’s own tragic Lucia di Lammermoor, now turns to comedy. As the wily Norina, she plays a practical joke on John Del Carlo’s puffed-up Don Pasquale; the plot is masterminded by Mariusz Kwiecien as the devious Malatesta, with help from Matthew Polenzani’s Ernesto. The Met’s Music Director James Levine is on the podium.

The opera’s straightforward story, the exhilarating freshness of its sounds, and the essential comedy of its basic premise all make Don Pasquale highly accessible to a young audience. The main Classroom Activity in this guide takes a look at the opera’s dramatic structure through the lens of the familiar contemporary analogue of the TV sitcom, to spark a discussion about comedy and the use of genre conventions in making art funny. Other activities offer an up-close look at the meticulous artistry with which Donizetti raises Don Pasquale from merely funny to hilarious, humane, and full of genuine feeling. By familiarizing students with the wit and rhythm of Don Pasquale, the guide can prepare students to watch carefully, think critically, and above all, laugh heartily at this Live in HD production.