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Verdi's Falstaff at the Maggio Fiorentino, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, starring Nicola Alaimo
Directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf, Ailyn Pérez plays Alice Ford, Simone Piazzola and Ford
Organized by: Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Foundation

Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Foundation Presents

Debuts at Theater of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in a new setting Falstaff, the last work of greens: the November 19 (8 pm) the first, five other performances on the bill until December 5th.

The new production of Falstaff will be directed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, which returns to the Teatro del Maggio less than a month after the last concert, this time marking his opera debut in Florence. The direction is entrusted to Sven-Eric Bechtolf, also returning to the Maggio after the recent success of So do all of them by Mozart. The scenes are from Julian Crouch, the costumes of Kevin Pollard while lights and video are respectively curated by Alex Brok is Josh Higgason. The cast is of absolute importance, formed as always by the casting manager of the Maggio Toni Gradsack, with Nicola Alaimo as Falstaff, Ailyn Pérez as Alice Ford, Sara Mingardo as Mrs. Quickly, Caterina Piva like Meg Page, Simone Piazzola in the role of Ford; complete the singing company Francesca Boncompagni, Nannetta, Matthew Swensen, Fenton, Gianluca Buratto, Pistol, Antonio Garés, Bardolfo and Christian Collia, Dr. Cajus. The Maggio Choir is directed by Lorenzo Fratini.

Falstaff, Verdi's extreme masterpiece of maturity, made his debut with a triumphal success February 9, 1893 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, in the room Pietro Mascagni, Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Giacosa, Giosuè Carducci, Giovanni Boldini, Letizia Bonaparte.

The booklet of Arrigo Boito is based on the Shakespearean comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, integrated by the first two parts of the historical drama Henry IV, where the character of Sir John appears for the first time.

Falstaff is Verdi's only comic opera, with the exception of the juvenile A day of reign, sensational fiasco of 1840. The composer had for several decades cultivated the desire to write a comic opera, declaring on several occasions his fascination for Shakespeare, of which he would have liked to music beyond Macbeth is Othello, King Lear, unrealized project. In a letter at the end of 1890 Verdi wrote: "I have wanted to write a comic opera for forty years, and I have known The Merry Wives of Windsor for fifty years; well… the usual buts, which are everywhere, were always opposed to making my wish pay. Now Boito has dissolved all buts and made me an opera comedy that is unlike any other. I enjoy making music out of it […] The opera is completely comic!".

"After more than fifty years spent in transferring dramas and torments of the human soul to music," comments the Maggio Fiorentino in his presentation, "Verdi greeted the world of opera with the sly smile of someone who has experienced everything to the fullest and continues still doing it. And Falstaff's score abounds in musical experimentation. Just think of the pseudo-symphonic sonata-form that opens the first act, the fugue buffa that closes the opera, a playful page of admirable collective virtuosity, the ductile and flowing declamations that suddenly open up to moments of ample and unexpected cantability. Falstaff is the work of an amusing and amused Verdi. After all, as the final theme reads: Everything in the world is a joke. Man was born a joker. "

Director Sir John Eliot Gardiner emphasizes the relevance of Falstaff, also highlighting the very important work done by the librettist, Arrigo Boito: “It is a fantastic set of arts: visual, literary and musical. The characters are beautifully characterized thanks to the music and the fantastic libretto by Boito, which is obviously based on Shakespeare. Personally I have conducted Falstaff three times, the first in Lyon in 1984 and then in Cagliari in 1998, [...] and I think that Falstaff is still the most unfairly less represented opera in the Verdi repertoire: the joy and good humor that imbue it are truly incredible, they are truly Shakespearean. Falstaff, despite having serious traits within it, is a mockery of the human condition; Verdi was old and wise enough to get the irony out of it, especially about human behavior. […] It is undoubtedly one of the best opera librettos ever written; the collaboration between Verdi and Boito is as strong as the one between Mozart and Da Ponte: there is an incredible synergy in everything, from the way of thinking to the way of defining the traits of the characters ".

A high-level cast on stage, with Alaimo, Pérez and Piazzola in the main roles: the baritone from Palermo Nicola Alaimo, acclaimed Verdi interpreter, is the protagonist in the role of Sir John Falstaff. Alaimo has been confronted on many occasions with the character of Falstaff starting from the debut of the role in 2006 in Pisa, then interpreting him in numerous productions on the major stages of the world, so much so as to make him his workhorse.

Ailyn Pérez - soprano of international fame and constant presence in the billboards of the most famous theaters in the world - is Alice Ford. She is now an acclaimed interpreter of the Verdi repertoire, having played many different roles, and has already played the role of Alice Ford on several occasions, from the Metropolitan in New York to the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich.

In the part of Ford we find the established Verdi baritone Simone Pitch, who debuted the role at the Teatro Real in Madrid in 2019.
Verdi's Falstaff at the Maggio Fiorentino, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, starring Nicola Alaimo


Concert master and conductor John Eliot Gardiner

Direction Sven-Eric Bechtolf

Scenes Julian Crouch
Costumes Kevin Pollard
Lights Alex Brok
Video Josh Higgason

Chorus and Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Choir Master Lorenzo Fratini

Falstaff Nicola Alaimo
Alice Ford Ailyn Pérez
Mrs. Quickly Sara Mingardo
Mrs. Meg Page Caterina Piva
Ford Simone Piazzola
Nannetta Francesca Boncompagni
Fenton Matthew Swensen
Pistol Gianluca Buratto
Bardolfo Antonio Garés
Dr. Cajus Christian Collia



by Giuseppe Verdi

Lyric comedy in three acts by Arrigo Boito


November 21 at 3.30 pm
November 23 at 8pm
November 30th at 8pm
3 December at 8pm
5 December at 5 pm

Who organizes

Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino FoundationIt is one of the 14 Foundations… more

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