24 April 2018

Everything in the world’s a joke; joking is a man’s vocation.

Falstaff, lyric comedy in three acts, the final part of the Trilogy Verdi – Shakespeare – Surian, has its premiere at the CNT Ivan pl. Zajc on 7th May at 19 hours!

Giorgio Surian, our national soloist, is in the title role!

A corpulent old knight Sir John Falstaff is planning to improve his financial and love situation by sending the same love letters to two wealthy, married women, thus setting in motion the explosion of a comic, romantic chaos.

The character we laugh at and laugh with at the same time, Falstaff, is an incredibly lively personality, the intersection of contrary character features, old and fat, while behaving as if he were young and attractive, a boaster, a liar… yet it is precisely due to this that he delights, in his search of self-gratification he makes others laugh.

Through history, many attempted to adapt Shakespeare’s plays to the art of opera. This has resulted with about three hundred operas, out of which only few successful ones. However, among the successful ones, there are no less than three Verdi’s operas, namely, Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff.

Verdi and librettist Arrigo Boito worked together for almost three and a half years on Falstaff using the motifs of the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor and scenes from the two-part history drama Henry IV. Boito said: »…finish with a mighty burst of laughter – that is to astonish the world!»

Verdi was 79 years old, while Falstaff is bursting with freshness and originality, jokes and humour with a profound insight into human nature. The score finishes with a multi-layered fugue honouring joy and laughter, “Everything in the world’s a joke; joking is a man’s vocation”.

It was first performed at La Scala in Milan, in the year 1893.

Falstaff had its first performance at the Rijeka National Theatre in 1958, while its second premiere was in 2003.