Following the exceptional success of Macbeth and Otello, the comic opera Falstaff closes the Verdi-Shakespeare-Surian Trilogy, a unique opera project in Croatia. The last and only Verdi’s comic opera, by which the great Maestro jovially salutes the world at the end of his life path, to be premiered on Monday 7th May 2018 at 19:00 hours at the Rijeka CNT Ivan pl. Zajc, with reruns on 10th and 12th May. The opera production in the direction and dramaturgy of Marin Blažević will be conducted by Maestro Ville Matvejeff.
Naturally, it is the national soloist Giorgio Surian, who is in the title role, to lead the intensive opera ensemble collective performance, full of comic charge and witty plots. It has been with a great success and a number of times that during his rich and brilliant international career Surian has played the famous Shakespeare character, a peculiar, impoverished knight and aged seducer Sir John Falstaff. “Falstaff is aware that he isn’t young any more, but, because of women, he still has the masculine enthusiasm for staying young. He undertakes all the that he can in order to obtain money, not actually caring about love and being aware that as soon as he drinks a glass of wine he becomes absorbed in the fantasy that he is good-looking, still desirable, that he is a cool guy”, says Surian about Falstaff.
The foursome of the “merry wives of Windsor” features great singers and brilliant comediennes, Anamarija Knego (alternating with Ingrid Haller) as Alice Ford, Vanja Zelčić as Nanetta, Ivana Srbljan as Mrs Quickly and Biljana Kovač as Meg Page.
Although with titles named after male characters, all the three operas of the Rijeka Trilogy are dedicated to the female gender. Marin Blažević says: “It is impossible to reduce the four wives of Windsor to symbolic figures or dramaturgical functions as they are established as complex personalities whose characters give form to and direct drama situations. Their principles are irony and invention, resistance and solidarity. These are women who control their rights, despite all who endeavor to deny that right.”
Next to the Rijeka Opera orchestra and chorus, the cast features Robert Kolar, Aljaž Farasin, Sergej Kiselev, Marko Fortunato and Dario Bercich.
The dramaturge–director Marin Blažević, choreographer Selma Banich, costume designer Sandra Dekanić and lighting designer Dalibor Fugošić, namely, permanent members of the Trilogy opera production team of authors, are this time joined by the set designer Dalibor Laginja.
Falstaff was created after the motifs of the Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor and scenes from the two-part history drama Henry IV, while Verdi’s and the librettist Arrigo Boito’s work on the joint project of this opera lasted for almost three and a half years. Boito then said: “…finish with a mighty burst of laughter – that is to astonish the world! »
Although Verdi was seventy-nine years old at the time, Falstaff sparkles with freshness and originality, witty remarks and humour, providing a profound insight into human nature and a subtle feeling for drama.
This opera definitely represents one of the zeniths of the Italian opera literature being a music-and-stage masterpiece esteemed by the greatest conductors of the twentieth century, as Toscanini, Karajan and Solti.
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