Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra’s staging of Falstaff has mobilised an incredible amount of positive energy. Co-directed with Marco Gandini, and featuring an extraordinary line-up of international soloists, the opera by Verdi has had audiences mesmerised. We are pleased to share some of the feedback with you.
“When you see and hear something in the theatre of the quality that I heard tonight in Iván Fischer’s performance, all else ceases to matter: there is no illness, no evil, no silliness and not even treason. This is how I imagine the Festival Orchestra’s 1983 inaugural concert with Kocsis as the conductor – of the train, that is, as he blows his whistle – and with Iván Fischer, as his lighter-than-air motions almost imperceptibly bring together the music and the universe. An orchestra that is a choir and a flock of fairies in the Windsor forest; beautiful, ingenious and fitting costumes with pears and wreaths that light up at night; sweet, light-hearted and humorous singers with a Falstaff in the lead (Nicola Alaimo) who makes it impossible to imagine anyone else in the same role; intrigue and trickery where, regardless, it is still the underdog who has the last laugh – although at that point, everyone laughs, for it was but a tale and now there is peace and there is joy. And, in the midst of it all, the senior elf: who either pours wine for our protagonist as a bartender, or lets the singer fold him in half when disclosing intimate secrets – yet it is actually him who instructs the singer, sharing an occasional wink with the soloists who march up to him before giving them the cue for a particularly fast-paced quartet. An elf who jumps this way and that, and bounces around, so that he is never in the way, but always on the scene: Iván Fischer, who not only conducted the magic tonight, but was also responsible for directing it (with the help of Marco Gandini). An experience to last a lifetime!” Anna Lengyel, dramaturge
“There are no words to describe how beautiful it was to be a part of this wonder in person. The singers were excellent, and the musicians phenomenal with their lit-up hats; breath-taking. Iván even cued the audience that it was time for the intermission and that we may leave. For me, this was the eighth WONDER of the world, and I am grateful that I was able to be a part of it. May God bless Iván for a long time to come in strength and health, so that we may enjoy the wonders he brings to us for a long time.” Mrs. Mihály Sztasák, a member of the audience
“If you can, go and see Falstaff at Müpa Budapest tomorrow, because you will see and hear something that does not otherwise exist in this world. Nowhere, at least nowhere else to date, does it exist: someday it will become a feature of the Vicenza Opera Festival; but to see it tomorrow and to see it here, well that is quite a bit closer.” Miklós Fáy, critic, following the premier
“I wish there were a superlative form of the word fantastic! Thank you for this!” Csilla Garics, a member of the audience
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, BFO! Congratulations, in particular, to the musicians for their singing and participation, in addition to playing on their instruments. The guest performers evoked a grand festival. We are happy we could be there.” Mrs. Zsuzsanna Molnár Mihály, a member of the audience
“The performance last night was a very special experience for me. The piece is full of turns to begin with, but the direction added yet more to it. It is surprising how Iván Fischer was able to arrange so well and move the singers and the musicians around in such a small area. I especially liked how he personally was drawn into the plot. Congratulations!” Zóra Barta, a member of the audience
“Where else in the world do you find an orchestra whose musicians are not only excellent at playing music, but also participate in the activities on stage and even sing – and do it so well? That is what I call a world-class performance!” Éva Bertalan, a member of the audience
“It was just as Iván Fischer said: music and theatre became one.” Mária Felícia Farkas, a member of the audience
“Iván Fischer becomes a key actor: he is more important than if he had stayed in the pit, and he was visibly enjoying being so much a part of this story. He is, of course, very much a part of the music, too; and as for us, the audience, – not coincidentally – we see a happy man.” Mezei Néző, blog
“It was a truly grand experience; thank you for this. I was literally in heaven during the finale – so that is where I am now writing from. :-))” Katalin Pető, a member of the audience
Photos of the opera performance were taken by Judit Horváth.