Falstaff, Opéra du Rhin, Strasbourg
By Francis Carlin
Published: December 14 2004 15:54 | Last updated: December 14 2004 15:54
The posters dotted around Strasbourg showed a figure trussed up in pillows and mattresses, to add more protuberance to waist and buttocks, against a backdrop of titillating see-thru ladies underwear on a line.
It smacked of deconstructionism laced with sauciness but turned out to be much tamer. Giorgio Barberio Corsetti's new production of Verdi's last work wisely sets its sights lower - this is not a work to be tampered with lightly - and still scores a handsome success.
His Falstaff, superbly acted and sung by Alan Opie, is not a 10 ton tubby, with unsightly tufts of hair and bad skin, but a profoundly human figure, the sort of comical, egotistical character that pops up somewhere in every modern family.
To this end, Corsetti has stylishly updated the action to the 1950s. Like all transplants of Falstaff, it doesn't quite work in the final scene: Sir John's terror of witches in Windsor Forest fits awkwardly with the preceding day-glo interiors of a striking cocktail bar and the Ford family's streamlined lounge area.
[Click here for remainder of review (subscription to Financial Times online required).]
Sir John Falstaff — Alan Opie
Bardolfo — Rodolphe Briand
Dr. Cajus — Ricardo Cassinelli
Pistola — Antoine Garcin
Mrs. Meg Page — Isabelle Cals
Mrs. Quickly — Mariana Pentcheva
Nanetta — Laura Giordano
Fenton — Ismael Jordi
Ford — Tommi Hakala
Choeurs de l'Opéra national Du Rhin
Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg
Musical director — Carlo Rizzi
Director — Giorgio Barberio Corsetti
Verdi: Falstaff / Abbado, Terfel, Pieczonka, Berlin Po, Etc