8.9/10
9
2 user

Falstaff (1995)

| Comedy, Music | TV Movie
When Sir John Falstaff decides that he wants to have a little fun he writes two letters to a pair of Window wives: Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. When they put their heads together and ... See full summary »

Writers:

Carlo Prospers Defranceschi (libretto), William Shakespeare (play)
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Cast

Cast overview:
John Del Carlo John Del Carlo ... Sr John Falstaff
Teresa Ringholz Teresa Ringholz ... Mrs. Ford
Richard Croft Richard Croft ... Mr. Ford
Delores Ziegler Delores Ziegler ... Mrs. Slender
Jake Gardner ... Mr. Slender
Carlos Feller Carlos Feller ... Bardolfo
Darla Brooks Darla Brooks ... Betty
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Storyline

When Sir John Falstaff decides that he wants to have a little fun he writes two letters to a pair of Window wives: Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. When they put their heads together and compare missives, they plan a practical joke or two to teach the knight a lesson. But Mistress Ford's husband is a very jealous man and is pumping Falstaff for information of the affair. Meanwhile the Pages' daughter Anne is besieged by suitors.

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Genres:

Comedy | Music

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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

Italian

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Muntra fruarna i Windsor (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A treasure, both as a production and as an opera...
2 April 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Note that this is not Verdi's opera of the same name, but Salieri's Falstaff. I admit I am more familiar with the Verdi Falstaff and may perhaps prefer it, but Salieri's Falstaff has many charms of its own, with the obvious reasons being Salieri's skilled and very beautiful music reminding me of Mozart(Le Nozze Di Figaro) and Rossini(Il Barbiere Di Siviglia) a bit- even if the music is not exactly instantly memorable it is still beautifully structured with enough of Salieri's style-, and the hilarious libretto. And this production is a treasure, funny, beautifully designed and very well sung and acted.

The costumes are colourful and sometimes amusing, and the settings are authentic and charming. The picture quality is mostly clear and giving the production a certain charm to it, and while an Amazon reviewer criticised the sound I thought it was fine, one of the better balanced sound quality recordings I've heard recently. The stage direction bubbles along very nicely, with the highlight being Mistress Ford coming on in disguise pretending to speak a bit of German and English and Falstaff professes to speak only English and a little German. Listening closely, you'd find that the two characters are actually singing in Italian with laces of German and even French. The whole scene really is a hoot.

Musically, it is just great, with stylish playing from the orchestra and Arnold Ostmann's conducting brisk and assured while never rushing in the arias/ariosos yet still giving the ensembles a sense of life or plodding in the recitatives. The theater is somewhat small, but considering the style of music this worked better than a large building such as the Met where the orchestra could be slightly swamped. And before I forget, I loved the subtitles, very zesty and witty. The comedic moments are a great many, and there is never a dull moment, if anything the mood builds up as the opera progresses.

Other than John DelCarlo, whose Falstaff is vocally robust and dramatically riveting whether it is the comic timing or his imposing physique, the standout was Richard Croft's Ford. Croft is absolutely wonderful here, one of my personal favourite performances of his and this is coming from someone who likes him very much, making the most of his two jealousy arias, athletic command of the stage and of course his voice which shows real virtuosity especially in his second scene. That is not to dispute Jake Gardner's effective Slender or Carlos Feller's grumbling and very amusing Bardolfo(a character I do prefer here to Verdi's Bardolph, who I personally find is often portrayed as too clownish).

As for the women, they are equally good, if not as virtuosic as the men. Dramatically Teresa Ringholz is the one who impressed me, her comic timing is excellent and a big part of why her scene with DelCarlo(the one I mentioned earlier) worked so well. Her singing is tuneful and resonant, if slightly lacking in agility and style. Two things that vocally Dolores Ziegler does have, and while her scenes are not as juicy as that of Ringholz's, Ziegler matches her with the quality of the comic timing. Darla Brooks is good as Betty, though her role is not as prominent or interesting as the rest I feel.

In conclusion, a treasure. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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