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The cast is admirable, and Donizetti presents us with such an endless procession of delights one wonders
how fashion could ever have abandoned so prodigal a genius. There is no blaming the Ernesto of Gregory
Kunde, expecting all from a beneficient uncle, when he reacts with dismayed astonishment at the news his
hitherto rational relative Pasquale (Ferruccio Furlanetto) has decided to marry the sister of a mutual
[watch and listen -- chapter 7, 20:57-22:32].
But of course things are not as simple as they seem. A plot is already brewing that will undo the uncle
and allow Ernesto to marry the girl of his choice, whoever disapproves.
Lucio Gallo as Doctor Malatesta. Screenshot © 1994 RAI Trade
Lucio Gallo's Doctor Malatesta has the matter in hand, having convinced Pasquale that he can certainly
sire an heir, while determined that his even closer friend Ernesto shall get the high-spirited young
widow he's after. The scheme is that the Norina of Nuccia Focile, setting down the chivalrous book
she has been reading, shall become Malatesta's supposed sister Sophronia and wreak total havoc in
Pasquale's establishment after a bogus marriage so that he will ultimately cry mercy and plead for
[watch and listen -- chapter 15, 40:30-41:51].
Copyright © 18 November 2007
Robert Anderson, London UK