The Dallas Opera closed its season with a hilarious rendition of Verdi's Falstaff, a comic opera centered on Shakespeare's shining character Falstaff, a drunken knight that has seen better days. This is the first time Falstaff has been presented by The Dallas Opera in its 60-year history. Although an unconventional choice to close the season, Falstaff delivered non-stop laughs, beautiful performances, and staging with perfect comedic timing. I can honestly say I had a smile on my face for the entire performance, laughing at Falstaff's false self-confidence at his skill in wooing women, his drunk acquaintances, and the giddy wives' plotting and revenge. This was a true delight and a thoroughly enjoyable performance that will keep you on the edge of your seat and laughing the whole night through. Additional performances on April 28, May 1 and May 4 with tickets starting at $19 on the Dallas Opera website.
The last of Verdi's 28 masterpieces with a libretto by Arrigo Boito, Falstaff transports the audience to the world of Shakespeare, focused on his work The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV. The story revolves around Falstaff, a knight long past his prime now known for his endlessly inflating waistline and his unpaid bar tab. In a moment of clarity, he devises a plan to pay his bill and live out in comfort for the rest of his days by seducing 2 wealthy wives simultaneously, Alice Ford and Meg Page. Unluckily for Falstaff, the two women are good friends, and soon discover his plan, and plot themselves to teach him some manners for his behavior. The story is intertwined with a pair of lovers, Nannetta and Fenton, who must wed amid Nannetta's father attempting to marry her to an old doctor. These plots are overseen by Mistress Quickly, the resident matriarch of sneaky plans and double-crosses.
This superlative international cast is led by American bass-baritone Mark Delavan in the title role of Sir John Falstaff. The star-studded cast also includes show-stopping soprano Angela Mead as Alice Ford, as well as beloved mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as Mistress Quickly and renowned German soprano Mojca Erdmann as Nannetta in their eagerly-awaited company debuts. Other principal singers in the impressive ensemble are baritone Quinn Kelsey, Spanish tenor Airam Hernández, mezzo-soprano Megan Marino, tenor Alex Mansoori, Italian bass Andrea Silvestrelli and tenor Robert Brubaker.
All photos by Karen Almond, Dallas Opera