Saturday, January 18, 2014

Film Review - Verdi's Falstaff

Falstaff – Giuseppe Verdi 

ConductorJames Levine
Production: Robert Carsen
Set Designer: Paul Steinberg
Costume Designer: Brigitte Reiffenstuel
Lighting Designer: Robert Carsen and Peter Van Praet
Cast: Ambrogio Maestri (Falstaff), Lisette Oropesa (Nannetta), Angela Meade (Alice Ford), Stephanie Blythe (Mistress Quickly), Jennifer Johnson Cano (Meg Page), Paolo Fanale (Fenton), Franco Vassallo (Ford)

The highly successful Season VII of opera, Live in HD by The Metropolitan Opera in New York, launched exclusively at Cinema Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor theatres in November last year. The season runs through to June this year, and features ten magnificent productions.

The third opera of the season is director Robert Carsen's acclaimed new production of Verdi's Falstaff, which is conducted by the undisputed master of Verdi’s final comic masterpiece, music director James Levine. It stars Ambrogio Maestri singing the title role of the blustery Sir John Falstaff, opposite a marvellous ensemble cast.

This production, the first new Met Falstaff since 1964, releases locally on Saturday, 18 January. It runs for a limited season till 30 January (running time: 2hr 50min).

Verdi's brilliant final masterpiece, Falstaff, has its first new Met production in nearly 50 years. Maestri sings the iconic basso buffo role of Falstaff, the boorish, blustery character originally seen in Shakespeare's Henry IV and Merry Wives of Windsor. Angela Meade is Alice Ford, one of the many objects of Falstaff's affection. Stephanie Blythe is the sharp-tongued Mistress Quickly in a cast that also includes Lisette Oropesa as Nannetta, Jennifer Johnson Cano as Meg Page, Paolo Fanale in his Met debut as Fenton and Franco Vassallo as Ford.

There is something about seeing a production filmed at 'The Met.'  This has to be one of the biggest and most imposing theatre I have seen.  It also features row upon row of balcony seating for people to sit in.   Everything about this opera is huge from the main characters to the imposing sets and backdrops.  

25 Propmen work on this show.  It also has something interesting about it.  The Director decided to set it in the 1950's of America.  So this is not your ordinary Falstaff.  

It features some wonderful performances and Maestri is indeed brilliant.  Larger than life he is.
He is also a talented cook in real life and you can find out even more about him and the cast and crew on the Met Website -

This filmed opera is really worth seeing.  Catch it while you can at Cinema Nouveau.

Rating:  8/10 

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Review by +Fred Felton 

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