Verdi: Falstaff

Album cover art for upc 807280108392
Label: ARTHAUS
Catalog: 101083
Format: DVD

Donald Gramm, Benjamin Luxon, Kay Griffel, Elizabeth Gale, Nucci Condo
The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Glyndebourne Chorus, John Pritchard

Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff

Verdi's final work is a tribute to one of Shakespeare's comic characters, the roguish hero Falstaff.
In order to avoid his bankruptcy, the old knight Falstaff courts Alice Ford and Meg Page, rich townsmen's wives. The two amused ladies as well as Falstaff's former old cronies (Pistola and Bardolfo) and Alice's jealous husband resolve to play a joke on the complacent and clumsy drunkard. But in the end the mocked Falstaff turns the tables and exposes everything as a game. The moral of this opera: "Tutto nel mondo é burla… Ma ride ben chi ride la risata final." (The whole world is but a joke and he laughs best who laughs last.)
This lovely Glyndebourne production by Jean-Pierre Ponelle stars the "excellent" (Gramophone) Donald Gramm, who perfectly embodies the likeable loser Falstaff, supported by a cast of luminaries in the form of Benjamin Luxon, Elizabeth Gale and Kay Griffel.
The late, great American baritone Gramm (1927-1983) had few equals among bass-baritones. As a regular member of the Metropolitan Opera Company (debuting in 1964) his roles ran the gamut from Monterverdi's The Coronation of Poppea through Handel's Messiah and Berlioz's Romeo et Juiliette to Stravinsky's Le Rossignol and Carl Orff's Der Mond.

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