While I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (HHOT)’s production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and thought that the orchestra and the singers sounded splendid, I do not have the expertise to analyze their artistry in depth. I can merely judge the entertainment value of the piece, which ranked high on my fun-o-meter, in spite of the language barrier.
Earlier this summer I announced the The Who’s Tommy was indeed an opera based on three criteria:
1) Wonderful music
2) Inscrutable plot
3) The need for supertitles to understand the lyrics
Using that litmus test, Don Pasquale is not an opera, because, while it has wonderful music and supertitles (Tommy, which was written and sung in English, did not) it actually has a comprehensible plot, albeit a very silly one, but the songs do spring directly from plot and character, so in that regard Don Pasquale is more 19th century Italian musical theatre than opera.