Don Pasquale

Past Production

In this production from director Chuck Hudson set in the golden era of Hollywood, Don Pasquale is an aging silent film star at the sunset of his career. Our protagonist sets off to find a wife and heir to his fortune. He gets hitched to the devious Norina, a widowed gold digger who conspires with Ernesto, the Don’s nephew. Supported by a chorus of servants dressed as Hollywood film stars, Don Pasquale is an uproarious evening of theater.

This marks the first production of Donizetti’s bel canto jewel in The Atlanta Opera’s history. Bass-baritone Burak Bilgili, last seen in Atlanta in 2016’s Romeo & Juliet, returns in the title role.


All Performances: Pre-show fine dining
$50 for Sat, Tues, Fri dinner
$35 for Sun brunch

Opera’s Night Out

Friday, March 31: Young professionals enjoy a pre-show cocktail hour + ticket to the show
$40 for Under 40

Student Rush Tickets

All Performances: Students with ID may purchase discount tickets two hours in advance at the Cobb Energy Centre
$25 – 35 per seat

Final Dress Rehearsal

Thursday, March 23: Teachers with students may attend the final dress rehearsal for FREE
Apply here

Student Short

Thursday, March 30: Schools groups attend a special performance at the Cobb Energy Centre
Sold Out


All Performances: Save up to 25%
For groups of 10 or more

Get the Feeling

Pre-Opera Talk by Carter Joseph


Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Librettist: Giovanni Ruffini, Gaetano Donizetti
Premiere Date: January 3, 1843

ACT I, Scene 1: A room in Don Pasquale’s house
The elderly, wealthy (and miserly) bachelor, Don Pasquale, wants his nephew, Ernesto, to marry a wealthy woman he has chosen for him, but Ernesto, who is in love with the beautiful but poor widow, Norina, refuses. The scheming Don Pasquale decides to get married himself, and asks Dr. Malatesta to find a suitable bride. The doctor agrees, but as he’s a friend of both Ernesto and Norina, he decides his ‘help’ will still allow the young couple to marry. As the Don paces nervously up and down, Maletatesta announces he has found the perfect bride and proceeds to describe her (Bella siccome un angelo — Beautiful as an angel). She is Maletatesta’s sister, Sofronia, an innocent girl raised in a convent. The enraptured Pasquale demands to meet her at once and sends Malatesta to fetch her.

Left alone, he imagines his future happiness with his wife and half a dozen children (Un foco insolito — An unusual fire). These happy musings are interrupted by Ernesto. His uncle gives him one more chance to marry the wealthy woman he has chosen, but Ernesto is determined to marry Norina. Pasquale then unloads his bombshell; he is getting married himself and Ernesto must find a new place to live! After a time, Ernesto realizes he is serious and urges him to seek the advice of Dr. Malatesta. Ernesto is dumbfounded to learn that Malatesta encouraged the marriage and provided his sister as the bride-to-be.

Act I, Scene 2: Norina’s house
While reading a story of how a woman’s glance captured a knight, Norina boasts that she too knows the magic of such a glance (So anch’io la virtù magica — I also know the magic power). She is waiting for Dr. Malatesta to help plot her marriage to Ernesto. A letter arrives from the oblivious Ernesto. Believing his uncle, he writes that they must give up their love and that he is leaving Rome that very day. Malatesta arrives and explains his idea to Norina. She is to pretend to be his sister, a shy, simple girl (he really does have a sister Sofronia, in a convent). Don Pasquale will fall madly in love with her, and his cousin will perform a fake ceremony (Pronta son io — I am ready). He coaches her on her behavior, and they gleefully anticipate the results of their trick (Vado, corro — I am hurrying).

ACT II: Don Pasquale’s house
Ernesto bemoans his fate and vows go far away. Although that will not erase Norina from his heart, he will be satisfied if she is happy (Cercherò lontana terra — I will seek a distant land). He leaves as Don Pasquale enters, followed by Dr. Malatesta and a heavily veiled “Sofronia”. She pretends to be terrified but constantly utters scornful asides. When her veil is removed, Pasquale is so overwhelmed by her beauty, gentleness and pliability, he immediately demands a wedding. The “notary” arrives and a marriage contract is drawn up in which the besotted Pasquale promises her half of everything he possesses. She will also be the absolute mistress of the house. They are about to sign when Ernesto appears. He still has not been told of the plan and is furious at the scene that greets him. Norina and Malatesta manage to signal him to go along with the charade, and all sign the contract. Immediately the shy, docile Sofronia is gone, replaced by a shrew who prevents her new ‘husband’ from embracing her. She declares Pasquale is too old and too fat to take her out; Ernesto will be a more appropriate escort. She orders more servants (young, good-looking ones), a pair of carriages with horses, furniture, clothing, a dinner party for fifty, etc. Pasquale protests in vain, he is no longer the master of the house, merely a peasant bumpkin and a boor. Furiously, he realizes he has been played for a fool.

Newbie Guide

The Opera Experience

Operas on our mainstage are grand theatrical experiences. You can always expect the unexpected, and for our productions to be presented at the highest quality.


Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will be escorted to the nearest late seating area. At intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions & Parking at Cobb Energy Center

Enhance Your Visit

Pre-Performance Talk

Learn about the history of the opera, the composer, and more from artists and opera aficionados. One hour prior to curtain. Free with your ticket!

Learn More

Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Visit our Study Guides Library

How is an Opera Staged?


Actors first audition for roles up to a year in advance, or for more experienced artists, directors also invite them to play a role.


Most of the rehearsals are held in our rehearsal hall, and not the actual theatre. The conductor begins orchestra rehearsals about a week and half before opening night. They have four rehearsals with the conductor, and then the singers are added into the mix.

Sets & Costumes

The Atlanta Opera Costume Shop alters the costumes to fit our singers. Sometimes they do have to make costumes if there aren’t enough, or if there is nothing that fits, etc. Once the sets are in place, the cast begins rehearsing at the theatre. The Opera production staff works with staff at the theatre to get all of the lighting and technical aspects of the production together.

Sitzprobe & Dress Rehearsal

The orchestra comes together with the singers in a special rehearsal called sitzprobe. There are no costumes during the sitzprobe, this is mainly to hear the voices with the orchestra. There is a piano dress rehearsal, when the singers rehearse in full costume for the first time so they can get used to wearing them. Finally, all of the pieces are put together for two full dress rehearsals leading up to opening night.

Characters & Cast

Don Pasquale

Famous aging silent film star

Burak Bilgili

Burak Bilgili is a Turkish operatic bass-baritone who has sung at the greatest opera houses in the world, including Teatro alla Scala and the Metropolitan Opera.


Devious love interest of Ernesto

Georgia Jarman

Following a series of high-profile debuts throughout the US and Europe, Georgia Jarman continues to explore the lyric and bel canto repertoire as well as building a stunning reputation in more contemporary roles.


Don Pasquale’s nephew

Ji-Min Park

Tenor Ji-Min Park has sung with prominent opera companies across the globe, including Royal Opera House,  the Met, and Opera Australia.


Don Pasquale’s confidante

Alexey Lavrov

Baritone Alexey Lavrov’s recent engagements include his season, the Metropolitan Opera as Schaunard in La Bohème, and debuts at the Opernhaus Zürich as Silvio, and Teatro Real in Madrid in a new production of  The Golden Cockerel as Afron.


Gaetano Donizetti

Gaetano Donizetti was born November 29, 1797 in Bergamo, Italy. He, Bellini and Rossini were the three great masters of the opera style known as bel canto . Bel canto operas had set numbers of separate arias and ensembles that featured particularly florid vocal writing designed to show off the human voice to maximum effect. These works demanded great virtuosity from the singers and served as star vehicles for leading operatic performers. Donizetti dominated the Italian opera scene during the years between Bellini’s death and Verdi’s rise to fame after Nabucco.

Donizetti’s musical talents were apparent at an early age, and he was admitted to the Lezioni Caritatevoli school on full scholarship when he was nine years old. The school was founded by Simon Mayr, who had a significant influence upon Donizetti’s musical development and helped the young composer launch his professional career. Mayr sent Donizetti to Padre Stanislao Mattei, the teacher of Rossini, for further compositional instruction. Mayr also partially paid for the lessons with Mattei and arranged for Bartolomeo Merelli to write the librettos for Donizetti’s early stage works.

Between 1817 and 1821, Donizetti received several commissions from Paolo Zanca. His first staged opera was Enrico di Borgogna in 1818. He wrote several other works during this period, including chamber and church music as well as opera. It was the success of his fourth opera, Zoraide di Grenata, that caught the attention of Domenico Barbaia, the most important theater manager of his time. Barbaia offered Donizetti a contract. The young composer accepted it and moved to Naples, which was Barbaia’s primary business location. For the next eight years Donizetti wrote works for Rome and Milan as well as Naples, with mixed success. It was not until 1830, with the performances of Anna Bolena in Milan, that Donizetti achieved international fame.


Joseph Colaneri

Renowned for his versatility, musical depth, and ability to “inspire musicians”, Joseph Colaneri is recognized as a multifaceted presence on the podium. An international conductor equally adept with operatic, oratorio and symphonic repertoire, Colaneri continues to expand his relationships with orchestras and opera companies both nationally and abroad. Colaneri is currently the Music Director at Glimmerglass Festival. Colaneri first worked with Glimmerglass in 2009 as conductor for La Cenerentola, and recently led productions of Bernstein’s Candide and Verdi’s Macbeth.

In addition to his work with Glimmerglass, Colaneri has served as a member of the Metropolitan conducting roster since 1998. Colaneri served as Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera in Perth from 2012-2014. He also serves as Artistic Director of Opera at Mannes School of Music at The New School in New York City. During the 2015-16 season, Colaneri led productions of Puccini’s Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera during the fall and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in the spring. Colaneri made his conducting debut at the Metropolitan Opera with a performance of La bohème in fall 2000.

Also in demand as an opera conductor abroad, among the distinguished companies with which Colaneri has guested are Den Norske Opera, Portland Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Orlando Opera, UCLA, and the San Francisco Opera Center. Orchestras with which he has guested include the Tokyo Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Chautauqua Symphony.

Stage Director

Chuck Hudson

Based in New York City, Chuck has directed opera productions at major international companies including Cape Town Opera (South Africa), Cincinnati Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Sacramento Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Opera Cleveland, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera Center, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, among others.

In addition to directing professional artists, Chuck continues to focus on his work with artists in training. He was a co-creator of Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program where he directed productions as well as created and instructed specialized classes on Acting and Movement for singers. Chuck has directed productions at San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Artist Program, Florida Grand Opera’s Resident Artist Program, IU Opera Theatre, CCM Opera Theatre, AVA Opera Theater, BU Opera Institute, USC-Thornton Opera, Music Academy of the West, Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, Carnegie-Mellon Opera Theatre, and Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater.

Chuck’s specialty in movement comes from a background in gymnastics as well as being one of three Americans to have received a diploma from the Marcel Marceau International School of Mimedrama in Paris. He is the only American to be appointed to teach at Marceau’s School, and he performed with Marceau on his 1991 European Tour and in Klaus Kinski’s film Paganini. Chuck also studied at the Paris School for Theatrical Fencing and was awarded an Honorary Diploma from the French Academy of Arms.