The inspirational Vladimir Jurowski conducts Verdi’s glorious swansong, his only true comic opera. An international cast is led by Christopher Purves in the larger-than-life role of the corpulent Falstaff, whose profligacy both outrages and inspires the citizens of Windsor. Richard Jones’ production brings out the humour, bitterness and anger – mixed with tenderness and wisdom – embodied in the Shakespeare plays on which the libretto is based. Recorded live at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 2009, filmed in High Definition and recorded in true surround sound. In Italian with English subtitles. Duration: 136 minutes.
Some of Glyndebourne’s more entrenched punters took umbrage at Richard Jones’ updating of Falstaff to a 1940s Ealing-comedy Windsor. Most, though, as you can hear throughout this film, roared at the gags in a production so sharply coordinated with the music. Five stars!
BBC Music Magazine
Michael Quinn is a widely published music and theatre critic who lives locally. He has written extensively for many leading journals including Opera, Opera Now, Gramophone and BBC Music. A regular contributor to BBC Northern Ireland’s Sounds Classical, he has written more than 400 programme notes for the likes of the BBC Proms, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Kirov Opera, Castleward Opera and Melba Recordings.