Giuseppe VERDI Falstaff From the Glyndebourne Festival Opera 1976 Commedia Lirica in Three Acts Sung in Italian Donald Gramm, Benjamin Luxon, Kay Griffel, Elizabeth Gale, Nucci Condo
The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Glyndebourne Chorus, John Pritchard
Producer and Designer: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle Televison Director: Dave Heather
Sound Format: PCM Stereo Picture Format: 4:3 Region Code: 0 worldwide Menu Languages: D, F, GB, SP Subtitle Languages: I, D, F, GB, SP Running Time: 118 mins DVD 9/ NTSC
Cat no.:101 083
"Verdi's comic creation is one of the most memorable comedies of all time. Its farrago of farce, flirtation, and foibles rarely flags, producing a work of lighthearted entertainment and deep-rooted humanism." www.classical.net
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.