FALSTAFF by GIUSEPPE VERDI
Falstaff is innovation, Falstaff is originality, Falstaff is joy and joke, and Falstaff is life. This theatrical Pièce plenty of joy for life is paradoxically a celebration of life through the energy of a youth. Falstaff is a social comedy, told with a smart sight on the society. The opera evolves usual themes like the never died contraposition between young and old, but the master feature appears in its vitality, greed and gluttony for the life, the same appetite for the good food, or the good drinks. How does all this energy conveys in the story happenings? Falstaff is a lot, it’s a ‘too much’ on anything, though usually perceived as great in all its structure and its abundance. The audience is not stifled, it might be just overwhelmed by the spontaneous laughs it provokes.
Finding an opera where comedy and tragedy live in one is hardly. Falstaff is the last opera by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Its magnificence and uniqueness still arouses enthusiasm. Joy, compassion, sympathy, and misery are all present in one work, in which Verdi’s talent gave birth to a brilliant “soundtrack” to a work in origin first written and signed by William Shakespeare.
This opera is one, this opera is unity. As Taviani and Schino (2007) infer, speaking about acting, a story can be effective by its own, but the personalities in it look ‘flat’; just when we read plenty of other stories, the appearance of their characters’ different behavioral aspects moves the audience’s perception, and finally it develops three-dimensional figures. The same applies for scenes and music, whose definition comes just from the mixture of both the two elements. (P. 275)
The spectator is caught by the gestures, extremely expressive and engaging, inasmuch as the connection with time vanishes, and in a snap the audience follows the opera ending, a joyful party, emptied from any kind of worry. The speed of the actions drives the entire story, and this is the main strength, since the audience’s eyelids cannot fall down. Sight and sound work together, participating at an incredible performance, because the music plays a clue presence, accompanying the evolution of the happenings through its ups and downs, its increasing and lowering musical velocity.
Furthermore, the most of the characters are so eclectic to be easily remembered, even though the most memorable is the protagonist Falstaff, with his vices, egoisms and adventures; therefore, each figure creates a different connection with the public, whose thought selects the favorite character, thus driving the spectator to the preferred side when the opera ends. Exactly because the end is one, “everything in the world is a trick,” but about the interpretation anyone is free to add his/her own conclusion. The final scene is a huge party, where all the diners eat and drink waving their glasses in the air and singing the above motto. Withal, what will happen next? What will do the hated-loved Falstaff? What will each personality have learned from the tricks, pains and laughs?
Finding weaknesses is difficult as long as this opera is well promoted anywhere and, considering that Falstaff is a Verdi’s masterpiece, any time it is proposed in a theatre it is always extremely well produced.
Definitely it is worth a dressed up night out at the Opera of the hosting city. Suggestion for the audience: a not full stomach might be appreciated; it will be filled by the abundance of laughs.