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Antonio Salieri: Falstaff

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Arnold Ostmann conducts "Falstaff," an "opera buffa" in two acts, composed by Antonio Salieri (1750-1825). The Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart performs this great piece with soloists John Del Carlo, Teresa Ringholz, Richard Croft, Delores Ziegler, Jak


Thanks to Peter Schaffer's Amadeus, Antonio Salieri has been immortalized as the mediocre musician who probably poisoned Mozart in a fit of jealousy over the latter's immense talent. While history has been less than kind to Salieri, occasional stagings of his operas and recordings of his works show that this ignorance is not entirely justified. His opera Falstaff is one of several based on Shakespeare's immortal comic creation, and while not as memorable as Otto Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor or Verdi's immortal Falstaff, Salieri's version passes its two hours onstage with a pleasing comic touch.

This 1995 performance from the Schwetzinger Festspiele in Germany is proof positive that Salieri's operas can hold their own onstage. Director Michael Hampe stages the farce at a brisk but never breakneck pace, and he and his designers conjure up a plausibly comic world. John de Carlo looks exactly right as the overbearing knight whose eye for the ladies leads to his comeuppance, and he sings with brio. Conductor Arnold Östmann and the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart play the bright-sounding score with panache. Visually, this Falstaff looks great, and aurally, the stereo mix is quite good. Since this is an opera that's rarely recorded, let alone heard, this disc is a must for fans of 18th-century music. --Kevin Filipski

Special Features

  • Subtitles in English and Japanese
  • Menus in English, French, Castilian, and Japanese
  • 36-page booklet in German, English, and French

Product Details

  • Actors: John Del Carlo, Teresa Ringholz, Richard Croft, Delores Ziegler, Arnold Ostman
  • Directors: Michael Hampe, Agnes Meth, Claus Viller
  • Writers: Antonio Salieri, Carlo Prospers Defranceschi, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Schwetzinger Festspiele
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Japanese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: August 15, 2000
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004W5WJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,832 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Antonio Salieri: Falstaff" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on August 18, 2000
Format: DVD
"Not very good" was how a friend of mine many years ago described the music to a certain opera he had just heard on a CD. Perhaps if he viewed the new Arthaus Musik DVD release of Salieri's <Falstaff> (100 023), distributed by the excellent Naxos of America people, his opinion might change.
Now granted that it comes nowhere close to the standard set by the Verdi opera and it lacks the great beauty of the Vaughan Williams "Sir John in Love," it is almost as good as Nicolai's "Merry Wives of Windsor" and quite respectable on its own terms. As in Boito's libretto for the Verdi work, Salieri's librettist, Carlo Prospers Defranceschi, cut the Shakespeare play down to its essential plots and even more so. The subplot of Fenton and Ann Page is gone. Indeed so are Mr. and Mrs. Page, the second merry wife here becoming Mrs. Slender. The incident of Falstaff in drag is included, however, and Mr. Ford gets two jealousy arias, where Boito gives him one.
There is a very funny scene in which Mrs. Ford comes in disguise (since there is no Mistress Quickly in this version), pretending to speak German and a little English, while Falstaff professes to speak only English and a little German--all the while the two are singing in Italian, laced with German phrases and a little French thrown in!
There is a little more secco recite than modern audiences would care to have, and not many of the tunes of the arias and ensembles will linger in the memory after only one hearing; but the score is in general bubbly and well composed by the man who almost certainly did not murder Mozart.
The cast is strong throughout. Boasting many American singers, it includes John Del Carlo (Falstaff), Teresa Ringholz (Mrs. Ford), Richard Croft (Mr.
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This production is about as sparkling a work as I've seen in quite some time. Salieri's score shows very heavy influences of his rival, Mozart, in particular his overture reminded me a good bit of Nozze di Figaro. It's perhaps easy to see (or hear) why

Mozart outshone Salieri. Mozart (we know) was genius who accomplished the unbelievable and amazing in such a brief span of life. Nonetheless, Salieri is very worthy of exploration and his works, this in particular, should be heard by modern audiences. I can't think of a better production to do the introduction than this ArtHaus DVD.

In the title role, we are treated to a spirited, infectiously joyful performance by John Del Carlo. He looks exactly like my perfect Verdian Falstaff and his music is inspired. Salieri's recitatives are often as exciting as his arias and ensembles, and he's fairly daring in his structure of this work with ensembles, recits, arias, double recits, etc. flowing in and out of each other was masterful creativity.

What a delight to see Delores Ziegler as Mistress Slender. Ziegler's comic timing is nearly the match of Del Carlo's and again Salieri has given his cast some tough music.

Speaking of tough music, the assignment Salieri gives Ford (as opposed to Verdi's Ford, we get a tenor), is met with near athletic aplomb and virtuosity by my favorite tenor, Richard Croft. Croft plays the jealous Ford with the skill of a great actor, his body language, even when he's just listening and reacting to Slender's scheming reveals much about this character. Croft throws out some dazzling vocal fireworks in his 2nd scene's aria and recitative. While some critics complain that even late Salieri sounds older than early Mozart, I won't agree.
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... to the griping review about sound quality, written in 2001. The sound is quite fine, resonant and well balanced. The singers and orchestra are well integrated, which matters especially because Salieri was "progressive" for his era in treating the voices as integral to the orchestral whole. I have to wonder how much of this sound track was studio-recorded. I watched lips and couldn't notice any giveaway.

Pay no heed also to the persistent denigrating comparisons between Antonio Salieri and a certain brash young Salzburger of the same era. Salieri was an extremely successful composer and a highly sought-after teacher (his students included Beethoven and Schubert) precisely because he was very skilled and very entertaining. His "Falstaff" is exactly that: entertaining! The compositional art is there, to be sure, but the emphasis is on entertainment. Likewise, this production from the Schwetzinger Festspiele of 1995 aims to entertain. The costumes are amusing, the stage action is well executed, the characters are comically realized, the music itself is brash and funny, and the libretto is hilarious. The English subtitles are not literal translations, but rather witty paraphrases in rhyme. The funniest portions of the libretto are the scenes when Mistress Ford disguises herself as a German and comes to Falstaff with a love assignation; even if you speak neither Italian nor German, you'll know how comically the two singers are butchering the two languages.

Of course, the libretto should be funny, since it's based on Shakespeare's slapstick "Merry Wives of Windsor". If you've read that play, or seen Verdi's "Falstaff", you won't need a synopsis to know in advance the purpose of the humongous laundry basket on the side of the stage.
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