Students perform opera in PAC

Carlena Bressanelli, Staff writer

If you are looking for something to do at the end of April, come see the student opera “Don Pasquale.”
This opera was composed by Gaetano Donizetti in 1842 and premiered in 1843.
It is now a staple of the operatic canon.
This show will be performed April 26 at 8 p.m. and April 28 at 2 p.m. at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.
Tickets are $15.50 for adults and $12.50 for students/youth.
This production of “Don Pasquale” is set during the Roaring ’20s.
It tells the story of Don Pasquale, an old man who wants to disinherit his nephew, Ernesto.
Ernesto and his fiancee, Norina, with the help of Dr. Malatesta, hatch a scheme to teach Don Pasquale a lesson.
In addition to featuring current Voice students and alumni of the D’Angelo Department of Music, this opera is the second collaboration between the Opera program and the Mercyhurst Civic Orchestra.
Students and community members in the orchestra are working hard to provide the accompaniment for this opera.
It is being conducted by Jonathan Moser.
When asked why she picked this opera, director Louisa Jonason said, “I picked this opera because I had Voice majors who were capable of singing these very difficult roles — vocally and dramatically:”
These students are Patrick Smith, senior Contract major, who plays Don Pasquale, and Lydia Bolin, junior Vocal Performance major, who plays Norina.
Jonason said, “We, of course, didn’t know last year in May, when we cast the opera, that the basketball team and Patrick specifically, would be among the ‘Elite 8’ and not be available to rehearse.”
Because of this, the entire opera was staged without Smith, who is now being “put in” since the basketball season is over.
Jonason says that “Patrick is a quick study and a fine musician, so it is working,” and that the cast “are very happy that the team and Patrick did so well.”
Jonason knew of the opera well because it was her New York debut.
She sang the role of “Norina” when she was a student at Juilliard and a member of the American Opera Center.