Fri, 14. Feb 2020, 19:30
Commedia lirica in three acts (1893)
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Text by Arrigo Boito based on William Shakespeares »The Merry Wives of Windsor«
The behaviour of the ageing Sir John Falstaff, a devious freeloader, rake and would-be ladykiller, causes uproar in the petty-bourgeois household of the Windsor’s. Not only does he swindle his way through life, making others pay for his upkeep and filling his fat belly to his heart’s content; he also believes beyond a doubt that he is able to make advances on two women at the same time with identical love letters, hoping for romance along with some earnings on the side. The indignant yet shrewd women forge a conspiracy, which also paves the way for their daughter’s love marriage.
At the age of almost 80, Giuseppe Verdi, who had long since become a legend, once again achieved a sensational success with this opera. Using the brilliant libretto of the much younger Arrigo Boito as a starting point, he created a masterpiece of comic opera after five decades of tragic works. Both wise and revealing, full of caricatures and yet with the most detailed characterisation, the ageing Verdi’s »Falstaff« attained a very natural and figurative musical language full of wordplay, rhythmic finesse and musical associations. Far stronger than in his earlier works, the orchestra makes a quick-witted and pithy commentary throughout the piece. Boito’s libretto, on the other hand, is bursting with virtuoso language and poetry. With his larger-than-life stage characters, turbulent ensembles and situational parodies, this work turns out to be an invaluable source of inspiration for truly global music theatre, just as Shakespeare would have wished.
approx. 2:50 h, including an interval after act one