The Maggio Musicale in Florence is the oldest and one of the most famous music festivals in Italy. When it’s director, Zubin Mehta, celebrated his 70th birthday, the staging of Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff was part of the festivities. The opera was conducted by Zubin Mehta himself and directed by Luca Ronconi.
Adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff was Verdi’s last opera and one of his few comedies. It was also the third of Verdi’s operas to be based on a Shakespearean play, and like his first adaptation of the English playwright, Macbeth, it concludes with a fugue, the famous “Tutto nel mondo è burla” (“All the world’s a joke”). The successful first performance took place at La Scala in Milan in 1893. While not as immensely popular as the works that immediately preceded it (Aida and Otello) Falstaff’s refinement and melodic invention have made it a long-term favourite with both artists and audience.
Luca Ronconi’s production for the 2006 Maggio Musicale Fiorentino finds ready equivalents for Shakespeare’s Windsor in both the social context and imagery of modern Britain – an enjoyable comedy and a musical feast for home-viewing. The main characters are sung by leading exponents of their respective roles, including Barbara Frittoli as Alice and Ruggero Raimondi as Sir John Falstaff. Raimondi values the part for the way Falstaff takes part in the action both comically and dramatically, and perhaps this is the real strength and beauty of the role.
Sound Format: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1
Picture Format: 16:9
DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC
Subtitle Languages: IT (Original Language), GB, DE, FR, ES
Running Time: 128 mins
Ruggero Raimondi (Sir John Falstaff), Barbara Frittoli (Mrs. Alice Ford), Laura Polverelli (Mrs. Meg Page), Elena Zilio (Mistress Quickly), Mariola Cantarero (Nannetta), Manuel Lanza (Ford), Daniil Shtoda (Fenton), Carlo Bosi (Dr Cajus), Luigi Roni (Pistola), Gianluca Floris (Bardolfo)
Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Zubin Mehta (conductor) & Luca Ronconi (stage director)