New York City Opera. Lincoln Center.
April 2 2008
Falstaff – Ian Opalach
Meg – Heather Johnson
Alice – Pamela Armstrong
Quickly – Ursula Ferri
Nannetta – Anna Skibinsky
Fenton – John Tessier
Ford – Timothy Mix
c. George Manahan
This is a sympathetic production of a unique comic opera involving the twin genius of Shakespeare and Verdi … and one of my favourite works.
The production was simple yet effective, starting with two huge angled white panels forming the walls of our knight’s lodgings as he demanded food and wine while hatching his plot to seduce not one but two local Windsor women. Ian Opalach played Falstaff well, never losing the buffoonery, constant self-confidence and double deflated comeuppance episodes, lastly in the winter snow after midnight. The ‘honour’ monologue was excellent, as was the shorter and less known ‘ode to sherry’.
The rest of the cast were all of equally high calibre and well matched. The young lovers were particularly effective, tenor John Tessier and his Nannetta Anna Skibinsky, whose act 3 ‘aria’ was splendid. The final fugue was the high point it was meant to be (‘Tutto nel mondo e burla’). It is a nice change to end an opera without bodies or blood on stage!
The huge and ‘clunky’ State Theater was 90% full and their audio-enhancement system worked well. All singers could be heard well and without any noticeable amplification, feed-back, etc.