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 80-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.
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Narrator David Timson brings his vast knowledge of Shakespeare's much loved comic character and his energetic, talented voice to this discussion of the classic opera of Falstaff. Interspersed with bits of music, Timson interprets the work of Smillie to expound on the history of the work and why it still works for worldwide audiences. Timson's enunciation and rhythm perfectly match this in-depth study and add to his enthusiasm for the story and the music of the opera. Most interesting is the way Timson infuses his delivery with a compelling tone that draws the listener into this fascinating world.
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