Falstaff – from Glyndebourne

Thursday 20th June 7pm

[box office: 01428 642 161]

Throughout his long career, Verdi longed to find a good subject for a comic opera. Towards the very end of it he found that subject, in the vast and jovial shape of Shakespeare’s John Falstaff.

It was the suggestion of his librettist, Arrigo Boito, with whom he had worked on Otello, and Verdi was at first resistant. ‘Did you ever think of the enormous number of my years?’ he wrote in a letter of 1889. ‘Supposing I couldn’t stand the strain? And failed to finish it? You would then have uselessly wasted your time and trouble!’

Boito was having none of this and wrote straight back: ‘There’s only one way to finish better than with Otello and that’s to finish triumphantly with Falstaff. After having sounded all the shrieks and groans of the human heart, to finish with a mighty burst of laughter – now that is to astonish the world.’

And he was right. The result is indeed a triumph, and joyously life-affirming. This revival of the production by Richard Jones, first seen at Glyndebourne in 2009, places the action firmly in Windsor with recognisably English characters. ‘It’s a clever conceit,’ said The Observer, ‘brilliantly executed by the designer Ultz, whose sharp eye for detail, authentic and witty, is part of the charm.’

Cconducted by Vladimir Jurowski with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Falstaff (recorded live in 2009) will be shown at Haslemere Hall on the 20th June 2013.

Sung in Italian with English subtitles

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