Falstaff was Guiseppe Verdi's last opera and the climax of his career. Completed in 1893, when the composer was almost eighty, it is also the culmination of Italian comic opera.
Librettist Arrigo Boito took the substance of the piece from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, but the central character, who embroils himself in numerous plots and dupes of love and marriage until eventually the Merry Wives get their revenge on him, is much closer to the Falstaff of Henry IV. The jokes are at the expense not of a buffoon but of a whole man, boisterous and roguish but with an underlying streak of melancholy.
In this Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie de Bruxelles production, recorded during the 1987 Aix-en-Provence Festival, the title role is sung by bassbaritone José Van Dam, a genuine actor as well as a consummate singer, as the role demands.
Jose Van Dam William Stone Barbara Madra Livia Budai Benedetta Pecchioli Laurence Dale Elzbieta Szmytka Franco Careccia Mario Luperi Ugo Benelli
Composer: Guiseppe Verdi Libretto: Arrigo Boito Conductor: Sylvain Cambreling Director: Lluis Pasqual Designer: Fabia Puigserver
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