Budapest Festival Orchestra

Opera production - Falstaff

Müpa, Bartók Béla Nemzeti Hangversenyterem March 07, 2018, 19:00

Opera in three acts with two intervals. • Conductor: Iván Fischer • Co-directors: Iván Fischer, Marco Gandini • Performed by the Iván Fischer Opera Company. • Joint production of Budapest Festival Orchestra and Müpa Budapest.

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About the concert

Giueseppe Verdi: Falstaff

Nicola Alaimo (Falstaff)
Tassis Christoyannis (Ford)
Eva Mei (Alice)
Sylvia Schwartz (Nannetta)
Laura Polverelli (Meg Page)
Yvonne Naef (Mrs. Quickly)
Xabier Anduaga (Fenton)
Carlo Bosi (Dr Caius)
Stuart Patterson (Bardolfo)
Giovan Battista Parodi (Pistola)

Chorus: Á la c’ARTe Choir (artistic leader: György Philipp)
and musicians of the Budapest Festival Orchestra

Costume Designer: Anna Biagiotti
Stage Designer and Assistant Director: Andrea Tocchio
Technical Director: Róbert Zentai
Lighting Designer: Tamás Bányai
Stage Manager: Wendy Griffin-Reid
Assistant Conductor: Marco Alibrando
Repetiteur: Gábor Bartinai
Choir Master: György Philipp

Iván Fischer is stepping away from his world – famous Mozart cycle to direct a work by Verdi. The next major enterprise on the BFO’s schedule is Falstaff, the Italian genius Verdi’s last opera, with which he bid a cheerful farewell to this world.

Rossini’s remark about being unable to compose a comic opera hung over Verdi for decades. The critical quip disturbed him even as he approached eighty, after half a century occupied with composition and with 27 operas to his credit, which is when he took the plunge and decided to write his three-act comedy Falstaff (1893). Having completed Othello he was yearning for a change of genres and, as he said, “I have mercilessly slaughtered a large number of heroes and heroines, it is high time I had some laughs too.”

Verdi was anxious about not being able to finish the work, but his librettist Arrigo Boito fortunately had the power to convince him to take up the task. The composer respected and loved Shakespeare, keeping volumes of the Bard’s work on his bedside table, while Boito had compiled a unique libretto from The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV that Verdi was unable to resist. With no deadline he composed freely and at his leisure to create a brand new genre, the lyric comedy. On stage, in an opera set in a rich and inventive melodic world, the character of the pot-bellied, greedy, farcical seducer Falstaff appears delicately nuanced and wisely self-ironic.

Over the past decades, many famous conductors have worked hard to retain Falstaff within the operatic canon. Now, following in the footsteps of Toscanini, Karajan, Solti and Bernstein, Iván Fischer has the same goal. In this concert, the conductor-director will be joined on stage by some superstar Italian singers. Falstaff will be performed by Nicola Alaimo, who previously played the role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as well as La Scala in Milan.