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includes an all-star cast featuring Mirella Freni and Paul Plishka. Available now for the first time on DVD.
This Met ensemble, all lively and convincing actors, works splendidly together...Plishka s Falstaff is a highly effective piece of characterization...Freni is a delightful Alice,
Graham makes the most of Meg, and Horne clearly enjoys herself as Quickly...Bonney and Lopardo present the young lovers elegantly. Levine conducts Verdi s magical score
with warmth and great brio --Opera News
Exemplary. Its cast was about as good as can be currently gathered. James Levine's conducting had the right combination of delicacy and panache. --New York Times [on this revival of the Zeffirelli production]
Top Customer Reviews
It is a beautiful no-nonsense staging with all the color, emotion and humor which Verdi intended. Simply, it is fun to watch and everyone on stage is having fun presenting it.
When I saw on the DG web-site that it was going to be released, I checked amazon.com for its availability and noticed the release date of June 30, 2009. I couldn't wait until then...lol. So I went into the Amazon.canada site and it was there....so I purchased it from Canada. Not a great price difference and the shipping was wonderful.
This is a Met performance which you must add to your collection. DG always outdoes itself. Video and audio was fantastic.
This new DVD release of a performance filmed in October 1992 features Franco Zeffirelli's venerable 1964 production, his first appearance at the Met. Although it occasionally shows its age it is strong enough to overcome some minor shortcomings. Visually stunning in depicting Tudor era Windsor, there is something deeply satisfying in the way the singers interact with their surroundings. Each performance has a calm organic rightness at its core that transcends the frenetic pace of the opera, giving this Falstaff a sense of balance that always remains sure-handed. Paul Plishka is a wonderfully affecting Falstaff, comic yet vulnerable. Mirella Freni is superb as Alice Ford.Read more ›
Mirella Freni, Barbara Bonney, Marilyn Horne, Susan Graham;
Paul Plishka, Frank Lopardo, Bruno Pola.
It is a very balanced cast, a beautiful production by Franco Zeffirelli, and a joy to watch. The singers are all excellent and the ensembles impeccable. What more could one want? Freni is charming as Ford's wife, Alice. Horne is amusing and sprightly as Dame Quickly, Bonney sings with purity and is magical in the last act forest scene, riding in on a white horse. As her lover, Frank Lopardo is perhaps too straight-forward and blunt, lacking charm, but he looks the part and sings well. Additionally, a young Susan Graham is a charming Meg. Pola is big-voiced and the properly offended, jealous husband. Perhaps best of all is Plishka's Falstaff, full of telling gestures and hilarious facial expressions. His eyebrows raising and lowering in sync with his thoughts and words, his feet mincing around the stage in jovial delight. His resonant bass voice etching the phrases expertly. Plishka displays a lifetime of experience in the theatre. He is always using gesture and movement which perfectly enhabit the character and make him live.
Plishka's Falstaff is outstanding, both from the acting and singing point of view. It has everything required: the right age, attitude, voice and comedy doses. Freni's Alice and Horne's Quickly are also quite enjoyable, but they both lack something I would describe as "agility": there's some stiffness in their acting and singing, which is not present in Plishka nor Susan Graham's Meg Page, a small role perfectly rendered. My Top-One lady in this production is Barbara Bonney, just wonderful as Nannetta. Her "Sul fil d'un soffio etesio" is absolutely magic, though the white horse she rides while singing the aria's first part seems to disagree (oh, these regisseurs!...). Frank Lopardo is very good as Fenton, though his voice is a little too spinto for the role, anyway the result is quite pleasing. Bruno Pola seems not at ease with Ford, his emission looses perfection here and there, but all in all, he delivers a solid performance. From the Bardolf-Pistol-Caius trio I pick veteran Piero di Palma (Dr. Caius), for his musical, smooth tone and perfect diction, which old timers like me recognize in so many opera recordings from the 50's and on. The guy set a standard. Levine conducts with his renowned masterful Verdi expertise.
The sound is very good, and balance between stage and pit is well done, not an easy task in this highly complex score. I believe 4:3 image quality isn't up to 1993 standard, and this is a disappointing first impression, but you should soon forget it and get captivated by the performance. There's no interesting bonus material, and we have subtitles in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish (very good), and Chinese. My first impression: four stars and a half.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fantastic production of Verdi's chefs-d'oeuvre, Falstaff. Timing is of the upmost importance in this opera, and Maestro Levine shows the leadership that he is known for... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Brett K.
The main actor carried this opera from beginning to end. In my opinion he carried Verdi's intent of the character and did it well. Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by James S. Webb
All the cast are superstars, great voices, and appear to be having a great time performing this opera. That makes this a very special recording. Read morePublished on September 11, 2013 by Pepper Allen
First, the cast. Second, the cast. Third, the cast. Couldn't have asked for more . . . and it's the Met, after all, with James Levine. Read morePublished on August 10, 2013 by Linda Yoder
Largely considered by astute critics and opera-attending crowds alike to be one of Verdi's greatest works, Falstaff is simultaneously breathtaking and energy-inspiring. Read morePublished on February 16, 2012 by gdylanr
I had never heard this opera from Verdi and so I ordered it out of curiosity. I absolutely love La Traviata which has one outstanding aria after another. Read morePublished on March 30, 2011 by jkon
I only ordered Falstaff since someone told me to fill in my growing DVD opera library. In agreement with everyone the performance, voices, staging, orchestra were all five star. Read morePublished on March 14, 2011 by sergei kochkin
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