When the aged and decrepit Don Pasquale decides to get married to thwart the expectations of his nephew and heir Ernesto, he finds himself in a waking nightmare. For Ernesto, with help from Doctor Malatesta, vows to make Don Pasquale fall into his own trap and persuades his fiancée Norina to impersonate the old man's bride. After a docile start, Norina turns into a veritable virago with a remarkable talent for acting.
The clash between generations generates a lively comedy but also an undertow of sadness. After all, is an old man not entitled to love and live? Having the courage to love means making a leap into the void.