Verdi: Falstaff

Verdi: Falstaff

5.0 1
by Bryn Terfel
     
 

"Excellent! Excellent! One couldn't do better," wrote Giuseppe Verdi after he received Arrigo Boito's libretto to Falstaff, the "lyric comedy in three acts" that would become the composer's final masterpiece. Here, in a performance led by Claudio Abbado, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel stars in the titleSee more details below

Overview

"Excellent! Excellent! One couldn't do better," wrote Giuseppe Verdi after he received Arrigo Boito's libretto to Falstaff, the "lyric comedy in three acts" that would become the composer's final masterpiece. Here, in a performance led by Claudio Abbado, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel stars in the title role, and Verdi's comment is just as apt for this stellar recording as it was for Boito's inspired lyrics. If ever there were an operatic character custom fitted to Terfel's talents, it is Sir John Falstaff, and his performance is, quite simply, a major achievement, rivaling Tito Gobbi's 1956 version with Schwarzkopf and Karajan -- until now the one of choice. Falstaff is a demanding role, both vocally and dramatically, but the bearish Terfel is in every way up to the task, vividly rendering the opportunistic, scheming, and comically unsuccessful character with his distinctively rich and sonorous baritone. Thomas Hampson, a major star in his own right, is similarly impressive as Ford, and Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka delivers the part of Alice with a beautifully lustrous tone and without a hint of strain. In fact, the depth of the supporting cast is one of this recording's most impressive aspects. Only Daniil Shtoda's Fenton comes up somewhat short in such impressive company. Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic are in top form here, the orchestral playing given with an organlike precision and weight that is indeed a pleasure to experience. Times have not been good for old Sir John, with many classic recordings out of print and none to take their place -- until recently, that is. This Falstaff comes hard on the heels of John Eliot Gardiner's fine release on Philips with Jean-Philippe Lafont in the lead role. Gardiner's version is airier and more sprightly than Abbado's, which may appeal to some, but as far as this listener is concerned, Terfel is tops.

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Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - John Steane
Terfel is a singer who has caught the imagination, and it does not take much imagination to see him as a remarkable Falstaff.... Falstaff is of course a musical score of the rarest quality, and you won’t hear it much better sung and played than it is here. The Berlin Philharmonic would be the orchestra of Verdi’s dreams, and Abbado conducts with a full appreciation of the wit and tenderness, energy and refinement, all justly balanced.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/14/2001
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947119425
catalogNumber:
471194
Rank:
64537

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Falstaff, opera  - Giuseppe Verdi  - Claudio Abbado  - Christopher Alder  -  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  - Kenneth Chalmers  - Larissa Diadkova  - Enrico Facini  - Thomas Hampson  - Anatoly Kotcherga  - Fred Munzmaier  -  Rundfunkchor Berlin  - Dorothea Röschmann  - Lionel Salter  - Bryn Terfel  - Stella Doufexis  - Adrianne Pieczonka

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