Giuseppe Verdi

Falstaff

19 May - 14 July 2013
Festival 2013

Watch Falstaff online until 31 August

Throughout his long career, Verdi longed to find a good subject for a comic opera. Towards the very end of it he found that subject, in the vast and jovial shape of Shakespeare’s John Falstaff.

It was the suggestion of his librettist, Arrigo Boito, with whom he had worked on Otello, and Verdi was at first resistant. ‘Did you ever think of the enormous number of my years?’ he wrote in a letter of 1889. ‘Supposing I couldn’t stand the strain? And failed to finish it? You would then have uselessly wasted your time and trouble!’

Boito was having none of this and wrote straight back: ‘There’s only one way to finish better than with Otello and that’s to finish triumphantly with Falstaff. After having sounded all the shrieks and groans of the human heart, to finish with a mighty burst of laughter – now that is to astonish the world.’

And he was right. The result is indeed a triumph, and joyously life-affirming. This revival of the production by Richard Jones, first seen at Glyndebourne in 2009, places the action firmly in Windsor with recognisably English characters. ‘It’s a clever conceit,’ said The Observer, ‘brilliantly executed by the designer Ultz, whose sharp eye for detail, authentic and witty, is part of the charm.’

Sir Mark Elder will conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (James Gaffigan on July 4, 9, 14), giving audiences a rare opportunity to hear the lyrical glories of the score performed on instruments of Verdi’s time.

Listen to Falstaff podcast (27 mins)

Falstaff (recorded live in 2009) will be in cinemas and online from 17 June 2013, venues and booking details are available on the 'In Cinemas' tab.

Read an interview with revival director, Sarah Fahie, in the Australian Times.

A revival of the 2009 Festival production
Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Supported by Lord and Lady Laidlaw

Falstaff

Giuseppe Verdi

Recorded live in 2009

Cast and Creative Team from the 2009 Festival

Conductor Vladimir Jurowski
Director Richard Jones
Designer Ultz
Lighting Designer Mimi Jordan Sherin
Movement Director Linda Dobell

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Glyndebourne Chorus

Cast includes

Dr Caius, a French physician Peter Hoare
Sir John Falstaff Christopher Purves
Bardolph Alasdair Elliott
Pistol Paolo Battaglia
Mrs Page (Meg) Jennifer Holloway
Mrs Ford (Alice) Dina Kuznetsova
Mistress Quickly Marie-Nicole Lemieux
Nannetta Adriana Kučerová
Fenton, a young gentleman Bülent Bezdüz
Ford, a wealthy townsman Tassis Christoyannis

If you are a cinema venue and are interested in screening our productions please contact screenings@glyndebourne.com

Header: 

Falstaff (Recorded live in 2009) will be streamed online until 31 August 2013.

Main Content: 

Follow us on Twitter for the latests news #Falstaff.

Part 1

 

Part 2

 

Cast and Creative Team from the 2009 Festival

Conductor Vladimir Jurowski
Director Richard Jones
Designer Ultz
Lighting Designer Mimi Jordan Sherin
Movement Director Linda Dobell

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Glyndebourne Chorus

Cast includes

Dr Caius, a French physician Peter Hoare
Sir John Falstaff Christopher Purves
Bardolph Alasdair Elliott
Pistol Paolo Battaglia
Mrs Page (Meg) Jennifer Holloway
Mrs Ford (Alice) Dina Kuznetsova
Mistress Quickly Marie-Nicole Lemieux
Nannetta Adriana Kučerová
Fenton, a young gentleman Bülent Bezdüz
Ford, a wealthy townsman Tassis Christoyannis

Act I Scene 1

At the Garter Inn, Dr Caius accuses Falstaff and his followers Bardolph and Pistol of various misdemeanours. They drive Caius away and Falstaff advises his men to steal more carefully. Falstaff, short on cash, hatches a scheme: to woo Alice Ford and Meg Page, thus gaining access to their husbands’ fortunes. He has written identical love letters to both ladies and sends Bardolph and Pistol off to deliver them.

Scene 2

At the Fords’ home, Alice Ford and Meg Page discover that they have received identical love letters from Falstaff.  Along with Mistress Quickly and Alice’s daughter Nannetta, they resolve to teach Falstaff a lesson. Bardolph, Pistol, and Caius tell Ford that Falstaff has designs on his wife.  Meanwhile, Fenton romances Nannetta. The four women decide to send Quickly to Falstaff with an invitation from Alice. Ford plans to lay a trap for Falstaff by visiting him under a false name.

Act II Scene 1

Quickly visits Falstaff to arrange a tryst between him and Alice, and tells him that Meg also fancies him. After she leaves, Ford arrives, introducing himself as Mr Brook, and confides his failed attempts to woo Alice. He offers to pay Falstaff to seduce Alice, thereby making it easier for him to do so. Falstaff boasts that in half an hour Alice will be his, explaining that she has already requested a tryst. As Falstaff dresses for his rendezvous, Ford resolves to ambush Alice and Falstaff.

Scene 2

Quickly reports that Falstaff has accepted Alice’s offer. Nannetta complains that Ford is forcing her to marry rich old Caius, but Alice, Meg and Quickly pledge to help unite her instead with her beloved Fenton. Alice is left alone to receive Falstaff, who declares his passion for her. Meg arrives, feigning agitation because Ford is approaching. Falstaff hides, and it becomes apparent that Ford really is approaching. Ford enters and he and his men search the house. The women hide Falstaff in a laundry basket. Ford hears kissing behind a screen, tears it away and finds Fenton and Nannetta behind it. Alice orders the servants to dump the laundry basket into the Thames.

Interval

Act III Scene 1

Outside the Garter, a drenched Falstaff consoles himself with wine. Mistress Quickly arrives with a new proposition: Alice will meet Falstaff in Windsor Park at midnight. He must be disguised as Herne the Hunter. When Falstaff leaves, Alice enters to plan the midnight masquerade, assigning disguises to all. Ford secretly tells Caius to dress as a monk, and he will marry him to Nannetta. Mistress Quickly overhears this.

Scene 2

In Windsor Park, Fenton meets Nannetta, who is disguised as Queen of the Fairies. Alice enters with a monk’s habit for Fenton to wear. Falstaff arrives as midnight chimes and Alice soon joins him. Falstaff is terrified by the incantation of the ‘Queen of the Fairies’. Soon, maskers disguised as supernatural creatures arrive and torment Falstaff, demanding that he repent. When Falstaff recognises Bardolph, everyone unmasks, except a veiled couple who step up to be married. Alice presents a second couple to be wed, and Ford performs the double wedding. When the couples are unveiled, Ford admits his defeat and proposes a festive supper for all.

Creative team

Conductor Mark Elder
James Gaffigan (4, 9, 14 July)
Director Richard Jones
Revival Director Sarah Fahie
Designer Ultz
Lighting Designer Mimi Jordan Sherin

Cast

Falstaff Laurent Naouri
Alice Ford Ailyn Perez
Ford Roman Burdenko
Meg Page Lucia Cirillo
Mistress Quickly Susanne Resmark
Nannetta Elena Tsallagova
Fenton Antonio Poli
Dr Cajus Graham Clark
Bardolfo Colin Judson
Pistola Paolo Battaglia

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
The Glyndebourne Chorus

Elena Tsallagova, Ailyn Perez, Susanne Resmark and Lucia Cirillo in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Roman Burdenko and Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Elena Tsallagova, Susanne Resmark and Lucia Cirillo in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Ailyn Perez and Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Ailyn Perez and Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Ailyn Perez, Lucia Cirillo and Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
The Cast in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Ailyn Perez, Lucia Cirillo and Antonio Poli in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Laurent Naouri and Ailyn Perez in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton
Ailyn Perez, Roman Burdenko and Laurent Naouri in Falstaff, Festival 2013. Photo Tristram Kenton

“It is altogether a captivating, joyous evening.”
Rated 5* by the Guardian

"…this is the first time the Sussex house has fielded the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in anything as late as mature Verdi, and the results under Mark Elder are revelatory.”
Rated 5* by the Daily Telegraph

“There is no more life-enhancing night at the opera than a Falstaff as good as this.”
Rated 5* by the Financial Times

“…an exceptional cast and a rare musical treat in the shape of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment playing on period instruments".
Rated 5* by MusicOMH

“There are no weak links in the cast…"
Rated 4* by The Arts Desk

Comments

As always we thoroughly enjoyed our annual trip to Glyndebourne. ( It is a long return trip from Birmingham. ) The production was excellent and the modern set and costumes - which don't always seem to work - worked very well indeed.

Posted on behalf of Michele and alfred White

I do not involve myself in either facebook or twitter, but I am very happy to tell you by email that we had a wonderful evening last Sunday when we came to see Falstaff. We felt that the production was excellent and very amusing and the OAE orchestra was very special. Our enjoyment was enhanced by very good weather which enabled us to have an outdoor picnic and enjoy the sculptures by Sean Henry!!
In the shop we purchased both the festival book and the Glyndebourne visual history which are both very much to our taste.

Posted on behalf of Peter & Janet Dawkins

a thoroughly enjoyable day

There must be something wrong with me, as an opera I just don’t get Falstaff, despite being a Verdi fan. Probably because I feel it lacks the knock out arias of other Verdi operas such as La Traviata, Rigeleto, Nabucco etc. The singing was first class, the orchestra under Sir Mark Elder excellent, the production clever and the post WW 2 setting really worked, it had an upbeat tempo that carried it along well. I have only seen it once before, at Holland Park and felt the same. Perhaps I need to buy a DVD and watch it a couple of times and see if I can get into it. I still enjoyed it but just could not be bowled over the way I am by many operas. The night before I saw Verdi’s Don Carlos at the ROH with the singing and orchestra on a par with Falstaff, but the opera itself I found griping and it included more memorable arias. Judging by the boisterous applause and foot stamping at the curtain call of Falstaff he rest of the audience did get it. However it was still a well worthwhile enjoyable day for me and I look forward to the four more operas to go this season at Glyndebourne. Since Sunday I have spoken to an “opera fanatic” friend of mine and she doesn’t get Falstaff either, so perhaps I am not so odd.

Unlike Dr Jörg Ederle when I went for my double espresso towards the very end of the long interval they had beans. I have a strictly no alcohol regime in the long interval and replace it with a dose of caffeine to wake me up and help my concentration.

By the way why do so many ladies wear black at Glyndebourne, it is so dull for the summer. Ladies pluck up courage and add a splash of bright colours.

We came as guests of good friends and thoroughly enjoyed 'Falstaff'
We journeyed far, ate well, were treated to a wonderful opera and, despite a gloomy weather forecast, still managed to set up camp under cover.
We sang all the way home!
You offer a magical experience that will stay with us for ever.
Thank you.
Kevin and Inge Pearson

What this performance (28th May) demonstrated to me is that Mark Elder is the most versatile, consistently brilliant opera conductor that we have, in all sorts of repertoires. Laurent Naouri was a very endearing Falstaff, with a little crooked smile he adopted at times that curiously reminded me of Victor Borge. The ladies were all very good; Lucia Cirillo as Meg making much more of her role than usual, and Elena Tsallagova was simply wonderful in Act 3. The evening was all but ruined however by the constant hacking and coughing from the stalls right from the word go, and lasting throughout the evening, from. Really, these people should be made to leave if they are that unwell. People go to a lot to trouble, time and expenses to have a day at Glyndebourne and it is unfair for others to spoil it so comprehensively.

An exceptional musical and scene treat, worth the short trip from the Continent just for the night. The charming complexity of the characters, the music and the show are magnificently mastered to the tiniest detail, bringing Falstaff and all the other characters so refreshingly to live. A perfect moment; congratulations and so many thanks.

We saw Falstaff which we all thoroughly enjoyed. The set was amazing, what an achievement and so imaginative. I really wanted to photograph it to show my children. The singing and music were beautiful. The singers were superb, especially Mistress Quickly, who was brilliant. The “fat suit” that Falstaff wore was hilarious and a genius idea. The over-titles were perfectly translated and I loved that the opera was set in the WW2 era. We ate at Middle and Over Wallop – marvellous. We took the bus for the first time and it worked very well. The sun shone. We had a perfect time and felt very privileged. We are coming back in about 2 months. Can’t wait! Thank you.

Posted on behalf of Honor and Chris Schmidt

We thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Glyndebourne this season on Sunday to see Falstaff. The weather turned out much nicer than expected and we were able to enjoy our picnic out on the lawn in the beautifully looked after gardens. The performance itself was excellent, the entire cast visible enjoyed themselves and put on a very entertaining show.

Probably owing to the weather forecast someone had forgotten to turn off the heating in the auditorium and it felt uncomfortably warm during the first half of the opera but temperatures were much more pleasant after the long interval. My party and I were very disappointed to find that the Bar had run out of coffee beans well before the end of the long interval and was unable to serve anything but filter coffee and tea. We are sure that these two blips will be ironed out as the season goes on but would like to draw your attention to them.

Overall, it was a wonderful and relaxing day and we are much looking forward to our remaining visits to Glyndebourne this season.

Posted on behalf of Dr Jörg Ederle

It was a splendid production, the cast , the supers , the design and , above all the music. A perfect Glyndebourne evening. The set changes seemed a little long, but it was too early in the run to be critical.

The only criticism was weather related; reading the forecast (wet and chilly) we arrived early to get a table upstairs for our picnic. True to form, the Sussex weather ignores the BBC and was lovely and we sweltered behind the new plastic "protection" . It would be lovely if it was more flexible and able to be put up/ down according to the weather that is, rather than the forecast.

We are looking forward to coming again twice this season; we hope the weather will smile, but we are confident that the Operas will entertain!

Posted on behalf of Janet Mayo

Falstaff -staggeringly magnificent. The degree of gusto from the entire cast and orchestra drove the plot on. A magnificent first night. Mistress Quickly and Falstaff brought their characters to life. Not to be missed.

Posted on behalf of Dave Yates

I would say that we thoroughly enjoyed our evening; the forecast foul weather did not materialise, the general arrangements were fine as was the performance. The early finish on Sundays is helpful as I can do the 100 odd miles to home in more or less even time and be in bed at a respectable hour.

All power to your elbow and we trust that you have a successful season.

Posted on behalf of Henry Parker

Sunday 19th May was a red letter day! Unable to get to Glyndebourne last season for health reasons, it was great to be back for my 56th season.
Falstaff was a delight from start to finish. Invidious to single out particular performances, but there were some real gems, the warmth and colour of Falstaff 's voice was perfect, the two main sopranos just first class, Ford 's solo of vengeance absolutely perfect in timbre, phrasing and eloquence, and Mistress Quickly another alto to look out for- we would love to hear her in Verdi's Requiem. A true Italian tenor as Fenton, the joys went on and on. Not to forget the tiny Girl Guides, such a charming touch, and each with a hint of mischief!
Did you arrange the weather too?

Posted on behalf of Patricia Norland Prindl

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