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Opera returns to Lincoln Road this month as the Miami Lyric Opera presents Don Pasquale. The opera in three acts will be performed April 22 and 24 and feature all the good stuff – love, marriage, deceit and family drama aplenty. Raffaele Cardone, general and artistic director of the MLO, checks in with some insider thoughts about the production…

Like many great writers and composers, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale represents the traditional Italian  (Napolitan) “Commedia dell’Arte” centerpiece of the comedy that has inspired such characters as Alequin, Pierrot and Scaramouch. Modern artists like Charlie Chaplin and Marcel Marceau have been inspired by Comedy of the Art, better known as the Neapolitan “Commedia dell’ Arte.

The characters of Don Pasquale have a close connection with the “Commedia dell’Arte.” Pasquale himself is the classic Pantalone; Dr. Malatesta takes on the character of Dottore; and Ernesto and Norina represent the young lovers of the Commedia dell’Arte (Arlecchino and Colombina). We can also refer to “I Pagliacci,” the well remembered “verista ” opera by Leoncavallo where the characters of the Commedia dell’Arte uncover a tragic real life drama.

Donizetti far exceeds the tradition, broadening the classical “Opera Buffa” (Italian comic opera) to a character comedy. The old bachelor Don Pasquale turns into a tragic-comical character through self-knowledge and bitter experience. When he sings E finita in the third act, Don Pasquale is no longer the ridiculous old man, but a friend whose pride has been hurt. Like Pantalone he returns to his origins and wins our sympathy.

The Miami Lyric Opera presents Don Pasquale: April 22 and 24; The Colony Theater; 305-674-1040; $30 adults, $25 students with ID; miamilyricopera.org.

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