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Penguin Guide, January 2009

As a more consistently light-hearted version, with delightful La Scala sets and colourful costumes, the 1994 TDK Don Pasquale will also be hard to beat. Visually it is a joy, and with three outstanding principals the performance sparkles from start to finish. By not seeming too old, Ferruccio  Furlanetto’s portrayal of Don Pasquale is the more convincing, but he has no chance against Nuccia Focille’s minx of a Norina and one certainly feels sorry for him at his discomfiture. Gregory Kunde is an appropriately ardent Ernesto; his voice isn’t creamy but the sings passionately and has good comic timing, and Lucio Gallo enters into the spirit of the story as a wily Dottore Malatesta. But once more it is Muti’s direction that keeps the action fizzing and the ensembles sparkling, and ensures that the resolution of the plot takes its natural course. Again excellent sound and camerawork.

Joel Kasow
Fanfare, November 2007

Riccardo Muti almost smiles at one point, and his affection for this minor masterpiece is evident. There is no dawdling, but we are touched by the plight of Don Pasquale. Ferrucio Furlanetto is not the dodgy geezer but a sprightly 70-year-old, as Pasquale himself admits. Lucio Gallo’s Malatesta makes a better job of his coloratura than most other baritones today, while hearing the young Gregory Kunde is a reminder of what he was capable of a dozen years before his unfortunate Roderick in Rossini’s Donna del lago. Nuccia Focile sings up a storm and plays her role(s) to perfection. Muti allows Kunde some true variation in the only “genuine” cabaletta, and probably should have done the same for Norina in the rondo-finale. The Scala forces are at their best for their maestro, and Patrizia Carmine’s filming is unobtrusive, so this can be recommended for those whose tastes are as ringard as mine. © 2007 Fanfare Read complete review

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