|Donizetti and Giovanni Ruffini
|Paris, January 3, 1843
Donizetti's exuberant farce chronicles the illfated attempts of elderly bachelor Don Pasquale to snare a wife while he tries to stop his nephew, Ernesto, from doing the same. Ernesto loves the lively widow Norina, and the couple are persuaded to assist Don Pasquale's friend Malatesta in a plot to ruin the old man's fantasies of marriage. Norina, posing as Don Pasquale's innocent bride-to-be, becomes a shrew after their marriage is finalized, terrorizing her husband and even boxing his ears. As a last straw, Don Pasquale finds a carefully planted love note from Ernesto to Norina that leads him and Malatesta to “discover” the lovers in the garden. The wise Malatesta reconciles everyone, and all ends well.