Falstaff – Verdi

Vladimir Jurowski, Richard Jones – Christopher Purves (Falstaff), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Mistress Quickly), Jennifer Holloway (Meg Page) – Glyndebourne Festival

Falstaff in Richard Jones' delightful production for the Glyndebourne Festival

Far from the tragic and heroic elements that gave a bad name to the opera in the public's mind, Falstaff stands out for the comical dimension of its libretto, here put to the fore by the an exquisitely mocking production and the brilliant performers' acting (especially Christopher Purves and Marie Nicole Lemieux). No aria di bravura is to be found, as would be the case in Bellini's or Puccini's works. In Falstaff, music does not prevail over the action, music holds up the dramatic tension from the beginning to the end. Everything flows naturally.

The comedy in Falstaff.

The main themes (cross-dressing and revenge) suggest the comical dimension in which the plot will plunge. Not to mention Arrigo Boito's depiction of Falstaff as a farcical character, the opera is bursting with comic situations either stemming from mises en abyme, lies, misunderstandings, sudden development or traps set by the different characters. The atmosphere is exhilarating, as the Glyndebourne audience can testify!

Sir John Falstaff, a coarse hero?

Drawing its inspiration from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor (the Bard of Avon's influence on Verdi is well-known), Falstaff presents a shallow, horrendous, despicable, and cynical character. Thus, who is the hero? Women are the heroin. Organized in a "gang," they lead the dance and set traps, not only to the lustful Falstaff, but also to the marital authority. At the end of the day, it is the witty Mrs Quickly who best expresses the moral of the story: Women are cunning as a fox!

Richard Jones stage director
Ultz set designer
Mimi Jordan Sherin lightings
Linda Dobell

Christopher Purves (Falstaff)
Dina Kuznetsova (Alice Ford)
Tassis Christoyannis (Ford)
Jennifer Holloway (Meg Page)
Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Mistress Quickly)
Adriana Kucerová (Nannetta)
Bülent Bezdüz (Fenton)
Peter Hoare (Dr Caius)
Alasdair Elliott (Bardolph)

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Jurowski music director
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Thomas Blunt chorus director

Movie director : François Roussillon
Collection : On the way to festivals
Playlists : Viva Verdi!, Literature and music, Italian opera, The greatest voices, Shakespeare in music
Music genre : Voice

Duration : 02 h 07 min
Location : Glyndebourne (Lewes, Great Britain)
Production date : 2009
Production : © ZDF – Glyndebourne Enterprises Ltd – François Roussillon et Associés
Available version(s) : ST FR, ST EN

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