‘Falstaff’ makes merry at Valentine TheatreWritten by Alissa Romstadt | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Opera opens its 2009-2010 season with the production of “Falstaff.” Performances will be Nov. 7, Nov. 13 and Nov. 15 at the Valentine Theatre.
“‘Falstaff’ is one of the great comic masterpieces in the operatic repertoire,” said Renay Conlin, Toledo Opera general and artistic director. The opera is based on William Shakespeare’s “Merry Wives of Windsor.”
Sir John Falstaff is a man who has three loves in life: beer, food and women. Short on drinking funds, Falstaff thinks he can talk two wealthy women out of their money by writing them love letters. The women, who are friends, catch on to Falstaff’s scheme and decide to amuse themselves at his expense.
“It’s really funny. We have a really clever and imaginative stage director. I think people will be in stitches laughing,” Conlin said.
“Falstaff” is one of two comedic operas by Giuseppe Verdi. His first comedy failed and Verdi went on to write 26 tragedies without attempting another comedy. It is rumored Verdi was prompted to give comedy another chance and write “Falstaff” after a colleague said “Verdi was incapable of writing a comic opera.”
At the age of 78 Verdi came out of retirement and teamed up with Arrigo Boito to compete the comedy. In 1893, two years after the pair began, “Falstaff” was unveiled.
Conlin said “Falstaff” is a good opera for someone who has never been to the opera.
“It’s a comedy which makes it fun for all. If someone has not been to an opera before, [‘Falstaff’] is a good way to become familiar with this exciting form of entertainment.”
Since the production is not part of a traveling road show, performers have been rehearsing for almost a month, Conlin said.
Performing the role of Falstaff is Scott Bearden. Barbara Shirvis will play Alice Ford and Priti Gandhi will play Meg Page, the two wealthy women.
Ticket prices for ‘Falstaff’ start at $30 and may be purchased online at www.toledoopera.org or by phone at 419-255-SING (7464).
“I try and choose the operas over the course of the season to give the audiences a well-rounded experience, different composers and different genres. I think we have an exciting season coming up and I hope people come out and enjoy it,” Conlin said.
For more information about the Toledo Opera and upcoming shows visit www.toledoopera.org.