Verdi: Falstaff *****
Royal Opera, 6th July 2015
If “all the world’s a jest”, as Sir John Falstaff claims at the end of Verdi’s final operatic masterpiece, then we need players – and directors – with a sense of frivolity. While Robert Carsen’s bed-hopping A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been delighting audiences in Aix-en-Provence, another of his finest creations received its first Covent Garden revival. Carsen’s Falstaff has trotted the globe since its 2012 debut, mostly featuring the reassuringly ample presence of Ambrogio Maestri as the fat knight. Yet not a hint of routine marred the Italian baritone’s performance in this joyous evening, which had me purring with pleasure.
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