Falstaff : Verdi [VOD]


Verdi : Falstaff

Verdi and Boito’s last masterpiece takes the stage of Teatro Real (Madrid), in a new production by Laurent Pelly !

Out of Giuseppe Verdi’s adoration for William Shakespeare three masterpieces were born : Macbeth, Otello and, as a musical testament, his only comedy Falstaff. But in accordance with its librettist Arrigo Boito’s wish to remove the original bourgeois farce The Merry Wives of Windsor out of the English mists and to warm it up to the clear Tuscan sun, Falstaff transforms Shakespeare’s morality play into an ode to life, to pleasure and to reconciliation that forgives human vices, rewards intelligence and virtue, and praises that spark of madnessthat gives life its flavour. Shakespeare’s most famous and subversive comic character has indeed proved to be a fertile ground for Verdi who, then eighty-years old, signed with Falstaff his most modern, most ambitious, but also wisest and ambiguous opera.

It was high time that French stage director Laurent Pelly, an eniment specialist of the buffa repertoire, tried out his talents on this whimsical music drama : a task he performs with absolute maestria, highlighting with remarkable subtlety the numerous comic devices invented by Verdi and Boito but also pondering on the equivocal morality of the argument. He is, of course, helped in this endeavour by a wonderful team of singers : from the excellent baritone Roberto de Candia to the earthy mezzo soprano Daniela Barcellona as Mrs Quickly, without forgetting the exceptional Simone Piazzola as Ford, the wonderfully lyrical Rebecca Evans as Alice, or the candid Ruth Iniesta and Joel Prieto as Nannetta and Fenton, the young couple whose tender romance counterpoint Falstaff’s heroicomic gest. At the head of the Orchestra of the Teatro Real, conductor Daniele Rustioni underlines with unusual clarity and finesse the extraordinary complexity of this ‘‘opus ultimum’’.


Verdi : Falstaff [VOD]

‘Commedia lirica’ in three acts (1893)

Music : Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Libretto Arrigo Boito
After Henry IV, Part I and II and The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare

Sir John Falstaff Roberto De Candia
Fenton Joel Prieto
Dr. Caius Christophe Mortagne
Bardolfo Mikeldi Atxalandabaso
Pistola Valeriano Lanchas
Mrs. Alice Ford Rebecca Evans
Ford Simone Piazzola
Nannetta Ruth Iniesta
Mistress Quickly Daniela Barcellona
Mrs. Meg Page Maite Beaumont
Actors Magdalena Aizpurúa, Beatriz Bergamín, Estrella Martín, Dina Meïer, José Luis Alcedo Wi, David Guimera, Jorge Soria, Pablo Viña

Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Real
Conductor Daniele Rustioni

Stage direction and costumes Laurent Pelly
Sets Barbara De Limburg
Lighting design Joël Adam
Assistant to the conductor Alessandro Poleggi
Assistants to the stage director Christian Räth, Barbara Lluch
Assistant to sets and costumes Anuschka Braun
Chorus master Andrés Máspero

Image gallery
Press review

‘Pelly’s sincere admiration and respect for the composer and the librettist [is] clear in this animated vision of Verdi’s and Boito’s masterpiece’’ – OPERA

‘‘One of the main qualities of this new production by Laurent Pelly is that it knows how to reflect the agile comedyof the work but doesn’t ignore its darker and more sinister tones or its bitter morality : there is much colour, butthey are so bright they’ve gone out’’ – EL PAIS

‘‘Pelly directs his comedies as if they were Broadway shows, with a clear definition of the characters and creating big musicals numbers where all the singers on stage dance.’’ – OPERAWIRE

‘‘a stage direction extremely funny when it needs to be. A spectator who doesn’t know Falstaff would understand the action from the beginning to the end, as the stage director maintains the legibility of the argument throughoutthe entire work’’ – OPÉRA MAGAZINE