Another fifties Falstaff

Directors seem to see the 1950s as the logical time period to stage Verdi’s Falstaff though they come up with very different 1950s.  Robert Carsen set his in a rather dark world that pits the nouveau riche against a declining gentry.  Richard Jones went for a sort of Carry on film aesthetic that was entirely English.  Laurent Pelly in his production filmed at the Teatro Real in Rome in 2019, despite some overtly English elements in the set design,  gives us a distinctly continental European feel.  Indeed Falstaff, Pistola and Bardolfo might easily be hangovers from the more criminal end of the French resistance.  There’s much less of “class struggle” in Pelly’s rather straightforward production.  In fact it seems like a fairly light comedy with the darker aspects emerging only rarely.

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