20 Feb 2006
Falstaff, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
[Financial Times, 20 February 2006]
At the end of the Mariinsky Theatre's new production of Falstaff, a neon Coca-Cola logo appears blaring "Tutto nel mondo è burla", the text of the joyous closing fugue ("All the world is a joke"). Is it telling the fat knight to change his drinking habits? Perhaps it's too late, for he collapses and is left for dead while the others gleefully traipse off - a bizarre end to a production by the up-and- coming Moscow director Kiril Serebrennikov with more shock value than insight into Verdi's flawless comedy. One scene (sets by Nikolai Simonov) takes place in an upscale fitness centre, another in a dress shop (costumes by Olga Reznichenko).