It was Worth the Wait
Gran Teatre del Liceu
12/09/2010 - & December 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23*, 27, 29, 2010
Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff
Ambrogio Maestri (Falstaff), Ludovic Tézier (Ford), Joel Prieto (Fenton), Raúl Giménez (Doctor Cajus), Francisco Vas (Bardolfo), Carlos Chausson (Pistola), Fiorenza Cedolins (Mrs. Alice Ford), Mariola Cantarero (Nannetta), Elisabetta Fiorillo (Mrs. Quickly), Maite Beaumont (Mrs. Meg Page), Julián Corriŕ (Robin), Pere Bohigas (Mine Host of the Garter Inn)
Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, José Luis Basso (Chorus Master), Fabio Luisi (conductor)
Welsh National Opera (Cardiff) / Opéra national de Lyon (coproduction), Peter Stein (direction), Nick Aston (revival direction), Lucio Fanti (set designer), Moidele Bickel (costumes), Robert Bryan (lighting designer), Ian Jones (revival lighting designer)
A. Maestri & F. Vas (© Gran Teatre del Liceu)
It has been many years since the last Falstaff at the Gran Teatre del Liceu but, fortunately it was worth the wait.
Ambrogio Maestri was a powerful Falstaff with a wide voice and was impressive with his great figure on the stage. Leodovic Tézier, the other barytone in the cast, showed his impeccable singing, specially in his aria of the second act, “É sogno o realtŕ?”. Their second act duet was one of the best moments of the performance, both singers were in great shape.
Mariola Cantarero was the best among the ladies. She sang very well her part and offered an excellent rendition of Nannetta. Her top notes were clear and the her filati were wonderful. Her aria of the third act. “Sul fil d'un soffio etesio” was well sung and one of her best moments.
The young tenor Joel Prieto, as Fenton, winner of the Operalia contest a couple of years ago, has a clear and wonderful voice. He passed the most compromised moment of the performance, without problems and offered a good rendition of the aria "Dal labbro il canto estasiato vola".
Mariola Canterero and Joel Prieto played a very credible young couple in love during all the performance. Their voices match very well and their duets were seamless.
The merry wives were a fine trio as well. Fiorenza Cedolins, as Mrs. Alice Ford, displayed a great character on stage and her singing was right. Maite Baumont, as MegPage, was funny in her scenes with Falstaff, and correct in her vocal part. Elisabetta Fiorillo, as Mrs. Quickley, was very amusing and her singing was sufficient for the part.
The secondary characters of the performance were well served by Francisco Vas, as Bartoldo, Carlos Chausson, as Pistola, and Raúl Giménez, as Doctor Cajus.
Peter Stein's coproduction for the Welsh National Opera (Cardiff) and Opéra national de Lyon was too little for the Gran Teatre del Liceu, one of the biggest opera stages in Europe. Despite this, the revival of this production was fine and, from the parterre, the naďf sets were suited for the plot and with the minimal elements to tell the story.
This well balanced cast offered an aboce average performance where everything was smooth and the orchestra under Fabio Luisi's baton sounded great. I would like to hear the same level of achievement in next performances.
The chorus was excellent despite the fact that they were dancing and singing at the same time. This chorus is one of the big assets of Gran Teatre del Liceu.