Don Pasquale in the Depot

Caterina Panti Liberovici’s staging of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale was originally scheduled to open on November 6, 2020, in the Bockenheimer Depot in Frankfurt. Rehearsals had already been going on for several weeks, the stage set and costumes were nearly complete, the dramaturge Deborah Einspieler had already hosted an introductory matinee — but then the second corona-lockdown forced cancellation of this premiere and several others.

More than two years later, this staging of Don Pasquale finally had its premiere, not in Frankfurt but in the Austrian town of Erl, at the Tyrolean Festival. And in September 2023 we finally got to see it here in Frankfurt.

Don Pasquale program booklet

This is the darkest Don Pasquale I have seen (both literally and figuratively), perhaps because it was worked out during the first and worst year of the corona pandemic. There was often a candelabra on stage, as on the cover of the program booklet, and in one scene all seven people on stage were carrying candelabras, five singers and two dancers.

Another effect of the pandemic, which I didn’t even notice until afterwards, was that they left out the choral parts, to reduce the number of people on stage. But I’m happy to say that the opera was as funny and lively as ever, even without the chorus.

I was also reminded of the pandemic because of some of the people involved in this production, particularly the conductor, Simone Di Felice, since he was the last featured guest at my German-language opera appreciation course Opern-Gespräche, before the ax fell in March 2020 because of corona aka covid.

The British bass-baritone Božidar Smiljanić, who sang the title role of Don Pasquale, was our featured guest one evening in 2019 at my English-language course Frankfurt OperaTalk, as was the stage director Caterina Panti Liberovici in 2014. (I gave her the choice between English or German and she immediately chose English, which surprised me since we had always spoken German up to then.)

Earlier, the lighting designer Joachim Klein was our guest at the Opern-Gespräche one evening in 2005 (I had forgotten it was so long ago) and the dramaturge Deborah Einspieler came to one of our meetings in 2002.

Bockenheimer Depot in Frankfurt

My photos in this post are from 2004 and 2023. I wrote the text in 2023.

See also: Don Pasquale in Vienna and Don Pasquale at the Opera Garnier in Paris.
See more posts on the composer Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848).

3 thoughts on “Don Pasquale in the Depot”

  1. It’s a different feeling meeting your acquaintances again. Glad to know that the premiere finally happened in Frankfurt.

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