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Falstaff - Giuseppe Verdi (Widescreen) [Import]
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The spectacular opening of London's newly restored Royal Opera House brings a riot of color to Verdi's great Shakespearean masterpiece. Bryn Terfel as Sir John Falstaff and Barbara Frittoli as Alice Ford lead a star cast with the orchestra and chorus of the Royal Opera House under the direction of Bernard Haitink, in a spectacular new production by Graham Vick with vibrant medieval designs by Paul Brown.
Top Customer Reviews
Specifically, the direction is highly innovative(dir. Graham Vick) and the sets by Paul Brown are very imaginative and brilliant with primary colors (there is something of a circus about it) which introduces the necessary lightheartedness and humour, so often missed in other productions. Just to mention a few examples: the first act scene 1. takes place on a huge red bed tilted towards the audience and there are several trapdoors opening in and out.(The bed is like a huge trampoline upon which people bounce up and down, while Falstaff is sitting or lieing on it, drinking wine -absolutely hilarious.) The second act scene 2. is also very colourful with a big yellow baldachine over the bed and the third act scene one with several hunting trophies in a row used as a hiding places and taking a life of their own at a most unexpected moment, is truly inspired humour.The elements of surprise here are remarkable.
Musically, this is Bryn Terfel's finest hour in the role of Falstaff. His voice and characterisation are beyond comparison. Barbara Frittoli's youthful soprano voice , terrific acting and good looks as Alice Ford, are worthy foil to Terfel. Roberto Frontali as Mr. Ford is a strong baritone; his duet and famous aria in the 2nd act comes off well. The other, supporting, roles are no less creditable.Manca di Nissa as Mrs Quickly should probably require a special mention.Read more ›
Anyway, this production certainly is colorful. In the right mood I find it a riot. In the wrong mood I find it unsubtle and overdone, even gauche.
But Terfel's Falstaff is tremendous in spite of absurdly unrealistic stomach padding. Frittoli's Alice is beautifully sung and acted, and Mistress Quickly's motif was still impressed on my mind the day after watching it, such is Bernadette Manca di Nissa's fruity tone.
Fenton (Kenneth Tarver) and Nannetta (Desiree Rancatore) make an enchanting pair physically and vocally, flirting with the kind of extrovert style encouraged by the production.
I've never heard anything badly done by Haitink - he is a reliably excellent conductor and this is no exception. The Covent Garden orchestra articulate the shifting motifs of Verdi's score splendidly.
In the right mood, a very enjoyable night at the opera.
As pointed out by most viewers, Terfel's acting and singing were wonderful and he was well supported by his partners, not just Barbara Frittoli but almost all other singers and above all, a wonderful orchestra.
Viewers with a sharp ear for orchestral support might mistake this to be Vienna Philharmonic, for it sounds as good as Vienna Philharmonic! The orchestra is so full of life and colours giving the sort of sopport to singers that could even rival Gerald Moore on the piano. It's most rare eversince Furtwangler. Menuhin once conducted the Russian State Orchestra, making the orchestra sound so warm and full of colours that you wouldn't believe your ears. Bernard Haitink is such another magical conductor which is by and large extinct now!
I think the cast is excellent! Bryn Terfel obviously loves the role and is determined to be a lovable rogue. His singing is gorgeous, as usual. Barbara Frittoli as Alice Ford is not my first choice, but I like her. All the other cast members are wonderful as well. My personal favourite is the man who played Fenton. I can't remember his name and ...isn't printing the cast list, but he was a very good actor with a beautiful lyric voice. It's also nice to finally see a black tenor on the opera stage (who's not singing Otello).
First, the cast. No need to say anything save that it's great, spearheaded by Bryn Terfel and Barbara Frittoli. Second, the music, just incredible, with the RPO conducted by Bernard Haitink, just amazing! Now, the sets: This part may be the most controversial, if anything just because of it being original (and very clever, I'd say). The sets are very colorful and cartoonlike, which only adds to the comic feeling of this greatest of comic operas. David McVicar is I think, the greatest set designer of our time.
Trust me, you can't go wrong with this one.
Most recent customer reviews
Honestly I didn't think you needed to look at the parental guidance rating of an opera. I'm sure Verdi would have been "proud". Read morePublished on March 12 2004
Given the brilliant baritone Bryn Terfel stars in this FALSTAFF, I found that the only attractive aspect of this performance. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2003
This is exactly what comic opera should be. It is perfect. The men are great. Terfel is very good as Falstaff. Read morePublished on July 17 2003
All fans of Bryn Terfel will want to have this production of one of his signature roles. He is fully vested, vocally and dramatically, in Verdi's Sir John. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2002
Bryn Terfel is a very funny, talented Falstaff. I think he is a very great singer and performer. I laugh and laugh when I see and hear this production. Read morePublished on Nov. 13 2002
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- Movies & TV > Art House & International > By Country > British Cinema > Music & Musicals
- Movies & TV > Music Video & Concerts
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Classical > By Composer > Verdi, Giuseppe
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Classical > By Historical Period > Romantic (c.1820-1910)
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Classical > By Performer > Terfel, Bryn
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Opera > By Composer > Verdi, Giuseppe
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Opera > By Performer > Terfel, Bryn
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