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May. 13 2019

05/18/19 – Falstaff – 1pm (Royal Opera House)

By WBJC Programming | Posted in Operafest | No Comments

The Royal Opera House’s Falstaff
Title: Falstaff

Hosts: Sean Rafferty, Lisa Flynn 
Broadcast Producer: BBC 
WFMT Series Producer: Daniel Goldberg 
Conductor: Nicola Luisotti

Bryn Terfel as Sir John Falstaff (C) ROH. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Cast (in order of vocal appearance):
Dr. Caius – Carlo Bosi 
Sir John Falstaff – Bryn Terfel 
Bardolph –Michael Colvin 
Pistol – Craig Colclough 
Meg Page – Marie McLaughlin 
Alice Ford – Ana Maria Martinez 
Mistress Quickly – Marie-Nicole Lemieux 
Nannetta– Anna Prohaska 
Fenton – Frederic Antoun 
Ford – Simon Keenlyside

Giuseppe Verdi’s final opera tells the tale of a portly knight with an irrepressible appetite for life, love and laughter. Falstaff crowned a career that spanned more than fifty years. Arrigo Boito – with whom Verdi also collaborated on Otello and the revisions for Simon Boccanegra – created a sparkling libretto based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV Parts I and II. Verdi matched the libretto’s sprightliness with a score full of quicksilver switches in mood and tempo. Falstaff had its premiere in Milan in 1893 when Verdi was 79 and was instantly hailed as a masterpiece.

Robert Carsen’s production is set in 1950s England and draws out the warmth, love of food and comedy at the heart of the opera. Falstaff moves from comic intrigue, as the ‘merry wives’ outmanoeuvre the scheming men, to tender romance and infectious merriment. Musical highlights include Falstaff’s monologue in Act I in which he mocks honour, Fenton’s lovestruck sonnet in Act III, the wives’ jubilant plotting ensembles and the final – sublime – fugue in praise of laughter.

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