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Verdi, Giuseppe - Falstaff [DVD]

4 customer reviews

Price: £18.52 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Verdi, Giuseppe - Falstaff [DVD] + Verdi - Otello [1992] [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Directors: Franco Zeffirelli
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Decca
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jun. 2009
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0020XT9RK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,453 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

The New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by James Levine, perform Verdi's famous opera. The principal singers include Bruno Pola, Tim Wilson, Barbara Bonney, Marilyn Horne, Paul Plishka and Carol Wright. Franco Zeffirelli was producer and set designer.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr Swallow on 7 May 2014
Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding, traditional performance of Verdi's greatest masterpiece. Conducting, singing and acting all top rank. The cast is as good as could have been found at the time, with Freni, Bonney, Horne and Graham all outstanding. As Sir John, Plishka is outstanding - he really looks the part and acts superbly without overdoing things. The smaller parts are all well taken and Levine conducts a really lively performance with great brio. Perhaps the scenery for the fairy scene is a bit overdone, but that's being picky. This is a real fun performance. Just listen to the final fugue and you'll feel better about life! There are other ways of doing this work but this is highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jasper on 8 April 2013
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The music and singing have been rightly praised but it's also worth noting that this is a classic comedy, a Shakespearean farce that's acted every bit as well here as in The Globe's current play in London. Excellent value for money as the disc cost me no more than a cinema ticket.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By KC on 30 Dec. 2013
This production has great singing, acting, sets and costumes. It gives great satisfaction. It's not in HD but otherwise gives full satisfaction. I love Plishka's Falstaff. He sings with real warmth, joviality and pathos, excellent! The cast is universally superb.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Adriano Barros on 2 Mar. 2013
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Pure state of art!... You need to buy this DVD as soon as possible. Very good quality and beautiful sound.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
THE MET "FALSTAFF"...a divine comedy !!! Thanks again DG. 9 Jun. 2009
By Anthony Rossi - Published on Amazon.com
I was not around for this production of Zeffirelli's Met Debut in 1964...but fortunately I was a Met Subscriber by 1992 when this was revised and had it on one of my subscription evenings. When I watched this DVD, all the great memories of the production came back to me. Levine conducted a GREAT CAST (Plishka, Freni, Horne, Bonney, Graham, Pola and Lopardo. Two of the Met's great comprimarios, De Palma and Laciura also make this a perfect "Falstaff".
It is a beautiful no-nonsense staging with all the color, emotion and humor which Verdi intended. Simply, it is fun to watch and everyone on stage is having fun presenting it.
When I saw on the DG web-site that it was going to be released, I checked amazon.com for its availability and noticed the release date of June 30, 2009. I couldn't wait until then...lol. So I went into the Amazon.canada site and it was there....so I purchased it from Canada. Not a great price difference and the shipping was wonderful.
This is a Met performance which you must add to your collection. DG always outdoes itself. Video and audio was fantastic.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A Falstaff of great beauty and tender wit 12 July 2009
By Michael Birman - Published on Amazon.com
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It is to composer and librettist Arrigo Boito and his constant pestering of the octogenarian Verdi that there remained within him one last great comedy fighting to get out that we owe this absolute miracle of an opera. Produced in 1893 as Verdi turned 80 there is much in this masterpiece that can be identified as a modernist neoclassical work. The use of short motifs instead of long arioso melodic lines, the spry and reduced orchestral textures and the lack of a single 'stand and deliver' dramatic declamatory aria all serve to make this more of a 20th century work than an example of 19th century late-Romanticism. Despite his many years of writing for the stage Verdi refuses to give in to either age or time. There is an eternally youthful freshness to this score that is often breathtaking, culminating in the celestial final scene in Windsor Park. Like the enchanted Forest of Arden in As You Like It, we are in a world of nocturnal magic and human redemption that an Ovidian Verdi transforms into a wondrous fugue proclaiming that all the world's a joke. Any successful production of Falstaff must celebrate this magic.

This new DVD release of a performance filmed in October 1992 features Franco Zeffirelli's venerable 1964 production, his first appearance at the Met. Although it occasionally shows its age it is strong enough to overcome some minor shortcomings. Visually stunning in depicting Tudor era Windsor, there is something deeply satisfying in the way the singers interact with their surroundings. Each performance has a calm organic rightness at its core that transcends the frenetic pace of the opera, giving this Falstaff a sense of balance that always remains sure-handed. Paul Plishka is a wonderfully affecting Falstaff, comic yet vulnerable. Mirella Freni is superb as Alice Ford. Barbara Bonney as Nannetta and Marilyn Horne as Mrs. Quickly are excellent. The cast submerge themselves in their roles.

James Levine's conducting of this difficult score approaches perfection. In many ways his vision of the opera is reminiscent of von Karajan's brilliant EMI recording from the 1950s. The Met orchestra are at their early 1990's performance peak. DGG have cleaned up the nearly two decade old video, which is slightly fuzzy but clear. DTS and PCM sound are both excellent with DTS providing a nice sense of space and presence to the proceedings.

There are several fine DVDs of Falstaff now available. My favorite remains the magical and revelatory Solti conducted Falstaff featuring the Vienna Philharmonic from a few years back, also on DGG (DVD 073 4080). But this production gives that one a run for its money. In an ideal world one would own both. This opera exhausts superlatives and fairly cries for a multitude of different interpreters.

Mike Birman
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Captivating, but not a perfect Falstaff. 5 stars to Barbara Bonney. 27 Oct. 2009
By J. Espinosa Ihnen - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I've just watched this Falstaff for the first time. Big names cast, Met forces under Levine, classic Zeffirelli settings... I had great expectations.

Plishka's Falstaff is outstanding, both from the acting and singing point of view. It has everything required: the right age, attitude, voice and comedy doses. Freni's Alice and Horne's Quickly are also quite enjoyable, but they both lack something I would describe as "agility": there's some stiffness in their acting and singing, which is not present in Plishka nor Susan Graham's Meg Page, a small role perfectly rendered. My Top-One lady in this production is Barbara Bonney, just wonderful as Nannetta. Her "Sul fil d'un soffio etesio" is absolutely magic, though the white horse she rides while singing the aria's first part seems to disagree (oh, these regisseurs!...). Frank Lopardo is very good as Fenton, though his voice is a little too spinto for the role, anyway the result is quite pleasing. Bruno Pola seems not at ease with Ford, his emission looses perfection here and there, but all in all, he delivers a solid performance. From the Bardolf-Pistol-Caius trio I pick veteran Piero di Palma (Dr. Caius), for his musical, smooth tone and perfect diction, which old timers like me recognize in so many opera recordings from the 50's and on. The guy set a standard. Levine conducts with his renowned masterful Verdi expertise.

The sound is very good, and balance between stage and pit is well done, not an easy task in this highly complex score. I believe 4:3 image quality isn't up to 1993 standard, and this is a disappointing first impression, but you should soon forget it and get captivated by the performance. There's no interesting bonus material, and we have subtitles in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish (very good), and Chinese. My first impression: four stars and a half.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
an exciting performance 25 Mar. 2010
By David Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is a delightful performance of Verdi's only comic opera. The direction is by Franco Zeffirelli as was the set design. Given that the Met appears to be retiring the classic Zeffirelli sets, in the near future DVD may be the only place to see these wonderful creations. I do not have the expertise to comment on the quality of the singing -- however all appeared to do a great job. What stood out for me was the fantastic acting by Paul Plishka (Falstaff). His facial expressions were amazing and captivating (and something that most people in the MET audience could not see). The DVD quality is wonderful -- the picture has clarity and excellent color saturation. The camera work is very good -- there is none of the jerky cuts that clutter some other opera DVDs. The sound is fine -- I always prefer DTS when it is available compared to PCM or Dolbey 5.1. The DTS provides a reasonable but not fantastic sound stage. On my first sitting I watched the last act at least four times. This is a DVD I will be going back to watch.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Falstaff 17 Feb. 2012
By gdylanr - Published on Amazon.com
Largely considered by astute critics and opera-attending crowds alike to be one of Verdi's greatest works, Falstaff is simultaneously breathtaking and energy-inspiring. Having been composed at the end of this legendary operatic composer's life, Falstaff is a musical rendering of infinite creativity and progressivism. Unlike it's operatic predecessors, Falstaff abolished the recititive-aria compositional formation and instituted an entirely new, fast-paced set of rules for operatic progression. In perfect association with the intrinsic nature of the score, Zefferelli's production is concurrently striking in it's production and costuming and incessant in it's forward motion.

However, the success of this production is due most immediately to the performers. After all, when employing names like Mirella Freni, Marilyn Horne, and Paul Plishka, an astute performance is all but inevitable. Paul Plishka plays the title character Falstaff, the pontificating and rotund knight. His rounded baritone voice is perfectly complemented by his rollicking character portrayal. Mirella Freni and Susan Graham perform the roles of Mistress Ford and Page, respectively. Though characterized by a full-toned soprano voice, Freni occasionally lacks a certain connection to the performance. Alternatively, Graham is astute and engaging as an actress, but lacks the volume and depth in voice that the other characters display. Marilyn Horne is rich and full-voiced as ever and portrays a delightful, if somewhat affected, Mistress Quickley. Pola, Lopardo, and Bonney play their roles excellently. All in all, this is a fantastic recording and should be enjoyed and experienced frequently.
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