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Overture to "Don Pasquale"

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Gaetano Donizetti

Gaetano Donizetti (trans. Pasquale Pulvirenti)

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General Info

Year: 1843 /
Duration: c. 6:20
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: [U.S. Marine Band
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Don Pasquale is an opera buffa, or comic opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti with an Italian libretto completed largely by Giovanni Ruffini as well as the composer.

The opera was first performed on 3 January 1843 by the Théâtre-Italien at the Salle Ventadour in Paris with great success and it is generally regarded as being the high point of the 19th century opera buffa tradition and, in fact, marking its ending.

The old bachelor Don Pasquale plans to marry in order to punish his rebellious nephew, Ernesto, who is in love with the young widow Norina. Pasquale wants an heir so he can cut the young man off without a penny. He consults Dr. Malatesta, who suggests as a bride his own beautiful younger sister.

- Program Note from Wikipedia and the Metropolitan Opera

Donizetti wrote nearly 70 operas in his 25-year career as a composer. Of these few were comedies, the most notable being L 'elisir d'amore and Don Pasquale, which is considered his comic masterpiece. It was premiered January 3, 1843, at the Theatre Italien in Paris, and is in three acts to a text by Giovanni Ruffini and Donizetti after Anello's libretto for Stefano Pavesi's Ser Marc' Antonio. It is recorded that Donizetti rewrote so much of the text that the librettist (presumably Ruffini although the name Salvatore Cammarano has been mentioned in some sources) refused to acknowledge it.

Of the foreign operatic commisions Donizetti completed, Don Pasquale is only one of three which have full length overtures thematically related to the operas they precede. In typical Donizettian style, the overture includes obbligato instruments which embellish a theme (as heard here with the trumpet) and broad melodies such as the aria Com' e genti! (Soft beams the light), a serenade by Ernesto (tenor) to his beloved Norina (soprano) in the garden by moonlight, performed in the band transcription by solo euphonium.

The story of Don Pasquale is as follows: Don Pasquale da Corneto (bass), a rich old bachelor, decides to marry so his nephew Ernesto (tenor) will not Inherit his fortune since he disapproves of Ernesto's choice of a bride, the attractive young widow Norina (soprano). The young couple is aided by Dr. Malatesta (baritone), a mutual friend of theirs and Pasquale's. They arrange for Pasquale to go through a mock marriage with "Sofronia" (Norina in disguise), supposedly Malatesta's sister who just arrived from a convent. As soon as the "wedding'" is over, "Sofronia," reveals herself and does everything possible to make Pasquale's life miserable. Malatesta suggests that the marriage be annulled. Pasquale agrees, admits that he has been fooled, and forgives everyone.

- Program Note from liner notes of Marine Band CD Overtures: Volume Two


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Wind Ensemble (John Climer, conductor) - 24 September 2021
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Ryan J. Nowlin, conductor) – 4 February 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer