Verdi: Falstaff

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
For cheerful spirits and rousing energy, it's hard to top this Falstaff, a 2004 live recording from London's Barbican of Verdi's brilliant last opera. Bass-baritone Michele Pertusi portrays the oafishly comic lead character with a rough-hewn yet thoroughly convincing interpretation, while the rest of the cast, although boasting no big-name stars, offers a solid ensemble of singers. Highlights include Carlos Alvarez's almost menacing turn as Ford; the fresh-voiced Bülent Bezdüz and Maria Josè Moreno as the young lovers Fenton and Nannetta, respectively; and the honey-toned Ana Ibarra as Alice. But best of all are the bustling ensemble scenes, particularly the madcap end of...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
For cheerful spirits and rousing energy, it's hard to top this Falstaff, a 2004 live recording from London's Barbican of Verdi's brilliant last opera. Bass-baritone Michele Pertusi portrays the oafishly comic lead character with a rough-hewn yet thoroughly convincing interpretation, while the rest of the cast, although boasting no big-name stars, offers a solid ensemble of singers. Highlights include Carlos Alvarez's almost menacing turn as Ford; the fresh-voiced Bülent Bezdüz and Maria Josè Moreno as the young lovers Fenton and Nannetta, respectively; and the honey-toned Ana Ibarra as Alice. But best of all are the bustling ensemble scenes, particularly the madcap end of Act Two and the concluding scene with its wise "all the world's a jest" message delivered by a grand fugue -- Verdi's final, and wryest, operatic utterance. With his expertise in Mozart and French repertoire, Colin Davis is perfectly equipped to convey the magic of this opera, supplying the required light but sure hand. The conductor doesn't overstate the comic elements of the score and turn them into farce -- as can easily occur in the Act Two scene with Falstaff and Mistress Quickly (Jane Henschel), where she ensnares him in her mischievous ploy through exaggerated courtesy -- yet Davis keeps the pace flowing briskly, and the London Symphony responds with lively, alert playing. At bargain price, this offering in LSO Live's increasingly essential catalog is an excellent choice, both for those new to the opera's delights and for hard-core Verdians looking to fill out their collection with one of the finest versions now available.
All Music Guide - Allen Schrott
Colin Davis' 2004 recording of Verdi's "Falstaff" is a strong entry in the LSO Live series, anchored by Michele Pertusi's wooly but authoritative turn as the titular anti-hero. "Falstaff," though immensely entertaining on-stage, is one of the hardest operas to capture in recordings: the dense interplay of characters, the busy stage action, and the general ensemble nature of the piece make it a difficult listen unless your Italian and your attention span are both top-notch. The most any recording can hope to do is capture the madcap energy and vivid vocal characterizations and leave the rest to the imagination, and in that sense this is a very solid effort. The mere sound of Pertusi's voice announces his identity from the start, and his performance is invested with a giddy, self-important raunchiness that he seems born to deliver. Similarly, the voices of Bülent Bezdüz and Maria Josè Moreno are perfectly cast as Fenton and Nanetta; even if you're lost by the time they sing their first duet, you'll know that young love is in the air. Carlos Alvarez's dark, knotty baritone is perfectly chosen to convey the self-important and jealous aristocrat Ford, particularly in his signature rant against the trustworthiness of women. The rest of the cast, led by Ana Ibarra as Alice Ford the target of Falstaff's affection, brings liveliness and admirable clarity to the ensembles. Davis and the LSO keep up the frenetic pace without sacrificing much in the way of precision, and Davis' sense of pacing serves the piece extremely well, although he rushes Dame Quickly's cartoonish Act I "Reverenza"s in a way that robs them of their comedy. The sound engineering and production are excellent.
Gramophone - John Steane
A spirit of fun is in the air, breathed in by everyone, including the orchestra, who see the score’s jokes and respond to its wit with the speed of light. And some, perhaps much, of this must emanate from the maestro, who has every right to take pride in a brilliant achievement.... Among recordings of the past 30 years or so this bids to become a firm favourite.
International Record Review
Verdi’s great explosion of laughter at the end of his astonishing career has always been a Davis speciality.... It preserves another classic Davis ensemble performance, with yet another Italian crucially cast in the title-role.... It’s unbeatable.

A spirit of fun is in the air, breathed in by everyone, including the orchestra, who see the score’s jokes and respond to its wit with the speed of light. And some, perhaps much, of this must emanate from the maestro, who has every right to take pride in a brilliant achievement.... Among recordings of the past 30 years or so this bids to become a firm favourite.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/11/2005
  • Label: Lso Live Uk
  • UPC: 822231102823
  • Catalog Number: 528

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–37 Falstaff, opera - Giuseppe Verdi & Colin Davis (118:15)
    Composed byGiuseppe Verdi
    Conducted byColin Davis
    Performed byColin Davis, Carlos Alvarez, Joseph Cullen, Peter Hoare, London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Michele Pertusi, Jane Henschel, Marina Domashenko, Darren Jeffrey, Bülent Bezdüz, Alasdair Elliott, Ana Ibarra, Maria José Moreno
    1. 1Act 1. Part 1. Falstaff!
    2. 2Act 1. Part 1. 6 polli: 6 scellini
    3. 3Act 1. Part 1. Sir John, in quest'intrigo...
    4. 4Act 1. Part 2. Alice. Meg. Nannetta
    5. 5Act 1. Part 2. Leggi. Fulgida Alice!
    6. 6Act 1. Part 2. Mostro!
    7. 7Act 1. Part 2. In due parole
    8. 8Act 1. Part 2. Pst, pst, Nannetta.
    9. 9Act 1. Part 2. Torno all'assalto
    10. 10Act 1. Part 2. Del tuo barbaro diagnostico
    11. 11Act 2. Part 1. Siam pentiti e contriti.
    12. 12Act 2. Part 1. Alice è mia!
    13. 13Act 2. Part 1. Signore
    14. 14Act 2. Part 1. C'è a Windsor una dama
    15. 15Act 2. Part 1. È sogno? o realtà?
    16. 16Act 2. Part 1. Eccomi qua.
    17. 17Act 2. Part 2. Presenteremo un bill,
    18. 18Act 2. Part 2. Gaie comari di Windsor,
    19. 19Act 2. Part 2. Alfin t'ho colto
    20. 20Act 2. Part 2. Quand'ero paggio
    21. 21Act 2. Part 2. Vien qua
    22. 22Act 2. Part 2. C'è. Cè
    23. 23Act 2. Part 2. Tutto delira.
    24. 24Act 3. Part 1. Ehi! Taverniere!
    25. 25Act 3. Part 1. Va, Vecchio John, va
    26. 26Act 3. Part 1. Reverenza.
    27. 27Act 3. Part 1. Il Cacciatore nero
    28. 28Act 3. Part 1. Sarai la Fata
    29. 29Act 3. Part 2. Dal labbro il canto estasïato vola
    30. 30Act 3. Part 2. Una, due, tre, quattro,
    31. 31Act 3. Part 2. Odo un soave passo!
    32. 32Act 3. Part 2. Ninfe! Elfi! Silfi!
    33. 33Act 3. Part 2. Alto là!
    34. 34Act 3. Part 2. Pizzica, pizzica,
    35. 35Act 3. Part 2. Ogni sorta di gente dozzinale
    36. 36Act 3. Part 2. Già s'avanza la coppia degli sposi
    37. 37Act 3. Part 2. Tutto, nel mondo è burla.
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Colin Davis Primary Artist
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