Opera "Falstaff": content, video, interesting facts, history

D. Verdi opera "Falstaff"

"After I killed so many heroes, I finally have the right to laugh a little," said Giuseppe Verdi. Falstaff became the second comic opera in its half-century career. The first, “The King for a Day,” he wrote in the most tragic period of his life, burying his spouse and two small children. Not surprisingly, the opera was one of his most unfortunate works, and the subsequent glory brought him only dramatic scenes. However, the inherent humor of Verdi seemed to be waiting in the wings, at the twilight of the composer’s life turning into a virtuoso lyrical comedy.

Summary of the opera Verdi "Falstaff"and many interesting facts about this work read on our page.




Sir John Falstaff


fat knight




Mrs. Alice Ford


his spouse



their daughter



her fan

Dr. Kayus


contender for her hand



Falstaff's servants



Mrs. Quickly


Fords neighbors

Mrs. Meg Page


Summary of Falstaff

Windsor, England, the beginning of the 15th century during the reign of Henry IV.

Tavern "Garter". Sir John Falstaff diligently wrote a love letter to two married wealthy women, Alice Ford and Meg Page, expecting to improve their deplorable financial situation at their expense. Dr. Kayus bursts in, accusing Bardolfo and Pistole of having robbed him. Falstaff chases him away, and instructs his servants to take the ladies to the letter, but they refuse to participate in the scam. Falstaff sends out correspondence with page.

Alice and Meg in the Fords' garden compare their letters and, having ascertained their identity, decide to teach the fat man a lesson with the help of Mrs. Quicky. Bardolfo and Pistola tell Ford about their master's intentions. Enraged with jealousy, Ford decides to go incognito to visit Falstaff and learn more about his plans. Alice is going to invite Falstaff to his home to play a trick on him.

Mrs Quickly brings to the pub an invitation for a date. Ford also comes here under the name of Fontana. He will forgive Falstaff to help him seduce Alice. The fat man boasts that he had an appointment at her home just today. Ford is burning with jealousy.

Falstaff is in the house of the Fords, where the owner unexpectedly returns. Alice and Mrs Quickly hastily hide the fat man in the laundry basket. Ford begins to search the house, but instead of a voluptuary finds his daughter Nanette in the arms of Fenton. Ford explodes and expels the young man, because he planned to give his daughter for Kaius. When the search for Falstaff resumes, he is already floating in the laundry basket on the Thames - Alice threw her out of the window with all the contents.

Dejected Falstaff returns to the Garter. Mrs. Quickly brings another invitation from Alice - this time to Windsor Park. Ford, who overhears their conversation, agrees with Kayus about an urgent marriage to Nanette and asks him to come to the park in a monk costume. This, in turn, is heard by Mrs. Quickly.

Alice wants her daughter to marry out of love, so women dress Fenton as a monk. In the park, Falstaff meets with Alice, but he is attacked by people disguised in ghosts and witches and hanging cuffs. Ford is pleased, he sees Caius under the arm with a lady whose face is hidden. Next to them is another couple, which he also blesses with joy. When everyone shed their masks, it became obvious that Ford had been led — Bardolfo was standing next to Kayus, and Nanette and Fenton were the second pair. Falstaff heartily laughs at what happened.

Duration of performance
I ActAct IIAct III
30 min.60 min40 min

A photo

Interesting Facts

  • The image of Falstaff was born on the basis of the biography of the real-life Sir John Oldcastle, who fought in Scotland, Wales and France in the early 15th century. He was accused of heresy in 1413, he escaped from the Tower, but was caught and hanged in 1417. Obviously, Shakespeare paid little attention to the real facts. "Windsor Mockery" does not belong to his best works. According to the legend, this play appeared only because Queen Elizabeth wanted to see on stage the fat knight from the earlier play King Henry IV in the comic role of a deceived lover.
  • Before Verdi the plot about the fat knight was used by composers C. von Dittersdorf (1796), A. Salieri (1799), M. Balfe (1838), O. Nikolai (1849).
  • Victor Morel, the first performer of the Falstaff part, in 1907 recorded ariettu "Quand'ero paggio" on a record.
  • Falstaff is Verdi’s third opera based on Shakespeare’s plot. Two others - "Macbeth"and"Othello", a libretto for the latter was also written by A. Boito. For many years Verdi hatched the opera's plan for another tragedy of Shakespeare," King Lear ", even began work on the libretto, but for various reasons this work was never created.

  • D. Rossini, the master of the comic opera, once said: "Verdi is a composer of melancholic and serious characters, his tones are dark and tragic, coming from the depths of his nature. I respect him very much, but there is no doubt that he will never write an opera semisteria, like, for example, "Linda di Chamouni," nor, of course, opera buffa, like "Love drink"(author of both - Donizetti) "This statement by the great predecessor Verdi read in 1879 in a newspaper owned by D. Ricordi to his publisher. A letter was sent from the maestro:" I've been looking for a suitable libretto for a comedy for 20 years. And you turn away such publications from my opera, which is not even written yet. "

The best scenes from the opera "Falstaff"

"L'onore! Ladri!" - Falstaff aria (listen)

"Quell'otre, quel tino" - female quartet (listen)

"Tutto nel mondo e burla" - final fugue (listen)

The history of the creation and productions of "Falstaff"

Verdi was 76 years old when he actively began to search for a comic story for an opera. He reread Goldoni, Moliere and Cervantes, not finding the story that would inspire him. He shared his thoughts with Arrigo Boito. He did not say a word to him, set to work on the libretto about John Falstaff, the character of Shakespeare's Windsor Mockery and King Henry IV. In early July 1889, Verdi received the finished text from Boito and was very pleased with it. A few days later he wrote to the librettist that he forgets about disease and old age, and sets about to Falstaff. The maestro asks the coauthor to keep their work secret.

The first was written the final fugue, which is quite atypical for Verdi, who usually composed music according to the chronology of the plot. By March 1890, the first act was ready. Verdi was in no hurry. His creative impulses were followed by periods of depression in him — his age, the loss of his close friends, and the fear of failing at the end of his career. Nevertheless, the work continued. In the summer of 1892, Verdi began to search for the performer of the title party. The name of the main candidate was on the surface - Victor Morel, the first Verdi Simon Boccanegra and Iago. But the conditions on which the baritone agreed to take part in the play, the composer considered unacceptable. Long negotiations led to concessions on both sides.

In September 1892, Verdi handed over the opera to Giulio Ricordi so that it would be staged in the coming season at La Scala. Verdi made a demand - he will fully control the preparation for the production and will be able to recall the opera at any time. The rehearsals began in a state of utter secrecy; neither outsiders nor the press were allowed into the theater. On December 7th, La Scala opened the season, but the premiere was announced with a “maybe” note. Moreover, in the event of failure of the maestro as an alternative, the theater declared "Tannhäuser" R. Wagner - a longtime opponent Verdi, that several angered him.

February 9, 1893 "Falstaff" was first shown to the public. Tickets for the premiere theater sold at a price higher than the usual 30 times. The hall was attended by the whole color of Europe - the aristocracy, artists. Write that the opera was a success - do not write anything. The final applause lasted about an hour. In Milan, 22 performances were given, then in the same composition the opera was shown in other Italian cities. At the premiere in Rome, Verdi was publicly greeted by the King of Italy, Umberto I, who on behalf of the whole nation acknowledged the maestro for his work. For the first few years, “Falstaff” was set everywhere in Europe and America. In Russia, it sounded in Russian in 1894. For the Parisian production, the libretto was translated by Boito himself.

But 10 years after such a successful start, the opera almost disappeared from the international repertoire. It did not have what everyone expected from Verdi - melodies of melodies, bright arias, stunning ensembles, grand finals. Arturo Toscanini took up the revival of the last work of the maestro. He returned Falstaff to both La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera, predicting a great stage future for him. Among the great conductors, opera fans were G. von Karajan, G. Solti, T. Serafin, and K.M. Giulini, L. Bernstein. Today, Falstaff is Verdi’s ninth most popular opera, which is performed annually on world stages about 750 times.

The film "Falstaff"

Many opera productions have found their second life in the recording:

  • Performance Metropolitan Opera, 2015, director R. Carsen, conductor D. Levine, in major roles - A. Maestri (Falstaff), F. Vassallo (Ford), P. Fanale (Fenton), A. Meade (Alice), L Oropesa (Nanette).
  • The performance of La Scala, 2001, directed by P. Cavasillas, in the main parts: A. Maestri, R. Frontali, H.D. Flores, B. Frittoli, I. Mula.
  • Covent-Garden performance, 1999, director H. Burton, in the main roles: B. Terfel, R. Frontali, C. Tarver, B. Frittoli, D. Rankkorere.
  • Performance of the Salzburg Festival, 1982, director and conductor G. von Karajan, in major roles: D. Taddei, R. Paneray, F. Araiz, R. Kabaivanska, J. Perry.
  • Covent-Garden performance, 1982, director B. Large, in the main roles: R. Bruzon, L. Nucci, D. Gonzalez, C. Ricciarelli, B. Hendricks.

Falstaff knows how to laugh at himself and circumstances. It turned out to be the maestro Verdiwho completed his career with this hero. On one of the copies of the Falstaff score, an inscription was found with his hand: “It's over. Go, go, old John ... go for as long as you can… A delightful old outcast, hiding behind many masks, at every time, in every place !! Go ... go ... run ... run ... Goodbye !!! ".

Farewell, maestro ...

Watch the video: The Best Of Opera Masterpieces . 6 Hours CLASSICAL MUSIC NON STOP. (October 2019).

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