Opera Explained – Falstaff- Thomson Smillie
1 Std. 18 Min.
Verdi’s Falstaff repays careful study with real pleasure. It is opera’s happiest irony that the great Italian master should cap a career – distinguished for its blood-and-thunder tragic masterpieces – with the greatest comic opera in the Italian repertory. The genius of Shakespeare is harnessed (in a miracle of compression) by master-librettist Boito to give the eighty-year-old Verdi a superb libretto, on which he lavished more wonderful tunes than most composers manage in a lifetime. Falstaff is the last great Italian comic opera and a worthy end to the tradition.