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Verdi - Falstaff

Renato Bruson , Katia Ricciarelli , Ronald Eyre  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Renato Bruson, Katia Ricciarelli, Leo Nucci, Barbara Hendricks, Lucia Valentini-Terrani
  • Directors: Ronald Eyre
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NA26W2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,235 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

When Carlo Maria Giulini returned to conducting public performances of opera after an absence of fourteen years, he chose for the occasion one of the enduring comic masterpieces - Verdi's Falstaff. The composer was almost eighty when he broke the six-year silence following the premiere of Otello, and startled the musical world by revealing his complete mastery of comic invention. Renato Bruson, the renowned interpreter of Verdi and one of the leading lyric baritones of the day, sings the title role.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consummate Performance June 13, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Falstaff and Terfel, how could it miss? Terfel brings his entire self to every performance and in Falstaff he brings even more. The production values of this DVD are great and you will not be disappointed. The entire cast is outstanding. The sets in this production are really another character...amazing. A totally satisfying performance of Falstaff. If you are a Terfel fan, this is a must own DVD. If you are a Shakespeare fan, this is a must own DVD. If you are a Verdi fan, this is a must own. I'm sure by now you realize I really enjoyed this production of Falstaff.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully colourful production, February 24, 2010
By Aquinas
Format:DVD
I have seen Falstaff 4 times, I think, and this was my favourite production. Brynn Terfel is great as the old fool and the colourful stage settings highlight the riotous colour of the period. Of course, Falstaff is not for everyone - its Verdi, as he was never heard before - no long arias but these delicious lyrical phrasings; I am thinking here of the aching potrayal of the young lovers in the garden.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back, Sir John, you were sorely missed! October 6, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Why it took this superb set so long to be released in DVD format is one of those inexplicable things that seem so typical of the music industry ... Originally released more than 20 years ago, it marked Giulini's celebrated return to live opera after more a decade's absence, encompassing performances in Los Angeles (where at the time he was chief conductor of the LAPO) and London with the same cast save for the smaller parts. DG issued on LP a composite of the LA performances, the London one circulated only on video. Actually, I first got acquainted with the video via a hi-fi stereo "super betamax" tape I purchased at the NY Metropolitan Opera store than with the DG LP's. The betamax release gave way to vhs, but no dvd alternative came along till now. Of course, this transfer to DVD adds considerably in detail and brilliance to this old friend in either of its tape incarnations, as well as it greatly improves the original, dullish sound.

Ladies first: for once we catch Katia Ricciarelli properly cast and in a role that suited her voice like a glove as was that of Alice Ford. She was an outstanding singer, that for some reason decided to tackle roles far heavier than was advisable, a fact that no doubt shortened her career as those roles took their toll on her voice. Her sprightly Alice is joined by the witty and difficult to forget Mrs Quickly of the much-lamented Lucia Valentini Terrani, a remarkable mezzo with good low notes who would not long thereafter and untimely succumb to cancer. The young Nannetta is in the delicious hands (and voice!) of Barbara Hendricks, and Brenda Boozer (a Covent Garden regular whom I haven't encountered again since) is very good as Meg.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
This is a very funny production of a very funny opera. Bernard Haitink, in his brief interview, remarks that it is like champagne and sure enough, it really does sparkle from start to finish.

Graham Vick, the producer, comments that he sees this as very much an Italian opera. He stresses the Italian origins of the story upon which Shakespeare based his `Merry Wives of Windsor' and he stresses the medieval nature of the story. There is thus just a short step to applying the vivid colours of the Italian medieval world to this production. Speed is also of the essence and he remarks on the similarity of this opera story to similar stories found in `The Canterbury Tales'.

The staging makes use of this world of extremes in its design and in its use of colour. Interestingly, years later, Dover Castle has been re-opened and presented to the general public specifically with the colours, fabrics and social artefacts that are now believed to be true to its medieval period. These are remarkably similar to those found in this production. This vivid staging has been an obstacle to total enjoyment for some people who have seen it as unreal. Now, it seems, the historians have shown Graham Vick's instincts and ideas to be close to medieval reality.

The cast are as close to a dream team as it is reasonable to expect, let alone demand. Bryn Terfel makes a wonderfully over-large characterisation of Falstaff. This suits both his costume and his voice. Barbara Frittoli leads the team of four excellent Merry Wives in a totally engaging and merry way. It is obvious that great enjoyment has been had in this production by these four women. Roberto Frontali makes an excellent Ford as are Peter Hoare and Gwynne Howell excellent as Bardolph and Pistol respectively.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sobrio December 30, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Moderation in the pursuit of opera is by no means a vice, and this traditional and highly refined 1982 Covent Garden FALSTAFF surely is preferable to the 1999 performance from the same house. The latter (on Opus Arte DVD) is the well-cast but hyperkinetic and comedically overexplicit Terfel/Vick/Haitink production, notorious for such touches as Falstaff's waterbed, his carrot-shaped suggestion of "excitement" in one scene, and for its eye-searingly bright Day-Glo colors. Still, while admiring much of what the 1982 has to offer, one may have the gnawing feeling that it is a bit pedantic -- more of an exercise in corrective point-making than a vital performance. Maestro Carlo Maria Giulini and stage director Richard Eyre work together to create a FALSTAFF of unusual restraint and sobriety (a small example, among many that accumulate: neither the Falstaff nor the Ford is allowed to sing his imitation of Alice Ford in the usual falsetto). One is grateful for their scrubbing away of that which is overly broad and vulgar, but something has been lost in wit and brio, and the conservative stage direction tends toward squareness. The performance seems to improve as it progresses, but parts of it -- notably Giulini's exquisite shaping of the final scene's music -- ultimately register more strongly than does the whole. The old-fashioned sets are inoffensive but drab (a somewhat shadowy picture quality contributes), and the Windsor Park representation, a single tree of enormous diameter, would have been put to better use in a production of Wagner's RING.

The distinguished cast carries out its assignments to varying effect. Renato Bruson does wonderfully expressive things with his large, dark eyes and with the part of his face that is not hidden by Falstaff's glued-on facial hair.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Production!
As close to a perfect performance as possible: the cast is excellent and has excellent comedic timing; the costumes are over the top and a good joke on their own; the impressive... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robert A. Valentine
5.0 out of 5 stars Great production
Terfel at his best, Verdi would have been proud to see his great work performed in the manner and quality it does.
Published 6 months ago by R. Dean Sever
4.0 out of 5 stars For my dad he enjoyed it very much.
For my dad, he enjoyed it very much. It was a big surprise when he played it, loved all the characters.
Published 9 months ago by Renee Claveau
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruson plays Falstaff straight--it works
I had never really enjoyed Falstaff, without knowing why, until seeing this production. I realized it was because Falstaff is usually played as a buffoon, and as someone who even... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Brent Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Verdi at his last is perfection at his "best"...Falstaff!!
Verdi's Falstaff is comic relief sung to many of his earlier, unused creations of arias, used in this production of Falstaff to present his "last laugh" on his wonderful... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Joan Zee
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny production.
I thought about buying this DVD because I checked out that this opera is going to be shown on the next HD Metropolitan Series (2013-2014) and even though I already had a CD,I... Read more
Published 13 months ago by A. Delaspozas
5.0 out of 5 stars Color and All!
I had about given up on Terfel until his recent readings, Falstaff being only one. His facial expressions are uncanny. This is comedy down to the last brush of color.
Published 16 months ago by Lee Livingston
3.0 out of 5 stars Glorious cast for verdi's best opera
Everything was great, except fuzzy period on the DVD right at John Ford's explosion. Bruson, RicciarellI,et al are wonderful, opera plays like a French farce with marvelous music.
Published 16 months ago by Jeanne Purdy
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't stop laughing
What a disconnect between Terfel's beautiful voice and his fat suit cum appendage. The music excellently conveys late medievalness, and the cartoon sets and costumes cheekily... Read more
Published 17 months ago by mrswalnut
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Falsatff
This is the best Falstaff I've seen on video/DVD, and I have seen quite a few. The singers are the best of all (Bruson, Nucci, Hendricks, Ricciarelli to mention a few), and the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Peter
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