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15 / 05 /2010
Continuing with our exploration of late Verdi, here is the master’s last opera and one of his only two comic works (out of 26), written when he was over 80 years old. It was also his third to be based on Shakespeare (after Macbeth and Otello), drawing its inspiration from “The Merry Wives of Windsor”.
It is admired for its brilliant orchestration, scintillating libretto and refined melodic invention.
This invigorating Glyndebourne production sparkles with inventiveness and sheer good fun. Richard Jones’s production brings out all the humour, bitterness and anger – mixed with tenderness and wisdom in this masterpiece, hailed a “Triumph” by the Sunday Times.
You are going to LOVE it !
We had a hung jury verdict on this one. Some loved it, thought the updating worked particularly well and the singers were great. Others were not so sure, and one even thought the production of little “amateurish” at times. But everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Comments from Jury members:
I was a bit puzzled by the staging as I am not English and have never seen Falstaff performed until now. So I’m not sure if I was missing some references to the period. It was good fun though, especially once I stopped trying to figure out what I was missing.
Perfect! Acting full of discoveries. Beautiful singing out of the ordinary. Excellent image. We particularly liked the last scene in the forest for its Romanticism and humour.
Shame about the ladies’ terrible clothes. Falstaff was good and the musical director was very sexy.
Falstaff is excellent. The staging a bit too busy, even hectic at times. Not my favourite opera but much more palatable than a traditional staging.
Very agreeable production I liked the “modern” dress. Thought Falstaff excellent, singing and expression.
I felt the sound was not as good as it might have been and that the voices were “behind” the orchestra. I might have preferred a more traditional version—I wasn’t convinced by the World War II scenario. What was the logic?
The close-ups don’t do this Glyndebourne production any favours. Particularly in Act 2, there was a slightly amateurish feel about it at times, although the general youth and enthusiasm of the cast redeemed much. No spectacular singing, but there is hardly room for any. Act three saved the show.
Facial expressions were good, well presenting the comedy aspects. Some stage movements didn’t add anything, but overall an enjoyable production.
The set was original and the décor and costumes good. Thoroughly enjoyed the humour, comedy was well timed.
Not quite sure about that period but I loved the liveliness, the performers and of course all the music.
Falstaff deserved a singer with a better voice. The production too wacky. Needed more editing.
Worked so well in the 1950s, and I think they could have made more of the farce, perhaps making It slicker.
I especially warmed to Falstaff (surprisingly). Dame Quickly was exceptionally good. Did not expect to enjoy this—but very pleasantly entertained.
Liked it all really, a fun opera and this production was such fun. I thought that bringing it forward in time worked surprisingly well.
Singing / performance: B
HDVD production: B-
Overall ranking: B-