Falstaff

PHOTOALBUM

Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Arrigo Boito

Stage Director - Dmitry Bertman
Music Director - Damian Iorio (Italy)

Set and Costume Designers - Igor Nezhny and Tatiana Tulubieva
Playing time - 3 hours
Premiere: October 2, 2001

On «Helikon-Opera» stage the senescent glutton and scapegrace Falstaff turned to young golden-haired dandy with sound stamina, tempted with everything. Infuriated with the same love messages his women created and realized the subtle plan of revenge, but the sensitive pleasure from intrigue with beautiful women have sweetened the bitterest final for Falstaff.
A rarely performed Verdi’s «Falstaf» was staged as a performance about happiness to feel the taste of life, to be filled with its vital juices and to enjoy its aromas, to hear its music and to sense the joy of earth existence.

SYNOPSIS

FIRST ACT

Scene one. Doctor Caius bursts into the tavern named «Garter», where Sir John Falstaff is having lunch drinking much wine, and tries vigorously to find out where his purse has gone, which disappeared mysteriously after yesterday's joint drinking. Naturally, neither Falstaff himself nor his servants Bardolf and Pistol have any idea about it. Caius is forced to leave with no result. However, financial affairs of the boon companions are very bad. Falstaff sure of his human and masculine irresistibility, is writing similar letters to his merry good women - Alice Ford and Meg Page hoping that his ladies will appreciate his merits. The servants refuse to participate in this disgraceful undertaking. Falstaff explains very thoroughly and intelligibly to scoundrels for which purpose their honour may further serve them. The page takes away the letters.

Scene two. In Mr. Ford's garden Alice and Meg, having found that they have received similar messages, quote them to each other laughing and mocking. Their faithful confidante Ms Quickly joins the mocking commentaries of the insulted women. At the same time at the other end of the garden Bardolf and Pistol vividly describe to Mr. Ford to which unforeseen financial and moral expenses his wife's acquaintance with Sir John Falstaff may lead. Mr. Ford is greatly upset. Together with the others in the garden is doctor Caius, a newly bridegroom of Nanetta, the Fords' daughter, who has not yet found his purse, but who has found an ally in the person of Mr. Ford. Nanetta here flirts with Fenton, her chosen one, paying little attention to her father's bans. In different ends of the garden irrespective of each other threads of plot are braided against poor sir John.

SECOND ACT

Scene one. Falstaff suspecting nothing receives back his servants who have repented hypocritically. After some time Ms Quickly comes to the tavern with the mission from Alice Ford, who has assigned the date and with tender greeting from Meg Page. Meanwhile sir John encouraged by his successes is going to the appointment another visitor, Mr. Ford dressed in other clothes is coming to him. He says that with the aid of Falstaff he would like to obtain the favour of a certain Alice, whom he loves hopelessly and long ago. Falstaff not only promises his help, for a separate pay, of course, but he informs the unlucky one that he is hurrying to the appointment with this same lady. Sir John leaves to change his clothes and Mr. Ford with a real Mediterranean spirit is talking about a poor fate of cuckold husbands.

Scene two. In Ford's house Alice and Meg are laughing at Falstaff, hearing Ms Quickly's story. Nanetta does not share their joy, she is telling her mother with tears in her eyes about doctor Caius trying to marry her. Alice sympathizes with her daughter, but at this moment the time of sir John Falstaff's visit is coming. All the people are taking their positions. On appearing, Falstaff, not spending time on sentimentalities, is trying to get down to business. The voice of Quickly is heard, which is warning about Meg's appearance. Falstaff is hiding behind the screen. After Meg Mr. Ford bursts into the house together with servants and sympathizers. While they are rushing about from corner to corner the ladies are hiding Falstaff in the basket with dirty linen, and Fenton and Nanetta are taking his place behind the screens, who don't have anything to do with the matter. The basket with half-choked Falstaff is thrown out of the window. Mr. Ford finds his daughter behind the screens and once more declares to her quite categorically about his views on the marriage.

THIRD ACT

Scene one. Falstaff, sitting at the doors of the tavern is talking regretfully about his fate. The glass of warm wine helps to make these thoughts less sad. Ms Quickly, who appeared suddenly, finishes the beneficial action of a fairy drink - she has brought a letter from Alice with excuses and a request about a new date. It must take place at midnight, in the woods, near the ill-omened oak, on which a certain hunter, Gem, had hanged himself. Other plot¬ters are eavesdropping the conversation not without gloating. Mr. Ford gracefully conse¬crated to ladies' intrigues, thinks this night to marry Caius and Nanetta.

Scene two. Midnight in the Windsor woods. Fenton and Nanetta are getting ready to change clothes and are engaged in their usual love nonsense. An indefatigable Falstaff appears. Suddenly he is surrounded by spirits and ghosts, who pinch and squeeze a poor Lovelace, making him repent of all thinkable and unthinkable sins. When the forest inhab¬itants are taking off their masks, Falstaff understands that he has been fooled again. Ford is trying to complete a merry night by making a wedding of Nanetta and Caius, but thanks to the cunningness of the women, he marries Nanetta to Fenton. Falstaff is pleased that he is not the only fool.

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