Teatro Vallarta December 14 at 12 Noon. For the first time at the Met since 2005 and with unquestionable expertise, director James Levine leads one of the titles that have consecrated Verdi. Ambrogio Maestri (whom we remember as "Dulcamara" Elixir of Love), plays the bright and loud Sir John Falstaff, in this story set in the British countryside in the mid-twentieth century. He is accompanied on stage Angela Meade, Stephanie Blythe, Lisette Oropesa and Franco Vassallo.
The Garter Inn. Dr. Caius bursts into Falstaff’s room, accusing his henchmen Bardolfo and Pistola of robbing him. Falstaff dismisses his claims, then informs Bardolfo and Pistola that in order to repair his finances he plans to seduce Alice Ford and Meg Page, wives of prosperous Windsor citizens. When Bardolfo and Pistola refuse to deliver letters to the ladies, Falstaff ridicules their newfound sense of honor and throws them out.
Alice and Meg, together with Alice’s daughter Nannetta and their friend Mistress Quickly, laugh over the identical love letters they have received from Falstaff. Ford, Alice’s husband, arrives. With him are Caius, whom Ford favors as Nannetta’s future husband; Bardolfo and Pistola, who are now seeking employment from Ford; and Fenton, who is in love with Nannetta. Ford becomes jealous when he learns of Falstaff’s plan to seduce his wife. While Alice and Meg plot how to take revenge on their suitor, Ford decides to pay a visit to Falstaff in disguise.
Feigning penitence, Bardolfo and Pistola rejoin Falstaff’s service. Quickly arrives to tell Falstaff Alice is awaiting him that afternoon while her husband is out. Falstaff is overjoyed. Bardolfo announces “Mister Fontana” (Ford in disguise), who offers a surprised Falstaff money if he will seduce Alice. “Fontana” explains he is unhappily in love with her, and if she were to be seduced by Falstaff she might be more likely to accept him. Falstaff replies that he already has a rendezvous with Alice that afternoon. Left alone, Ford explodes with jealousy. At Ford’s house, Falstaff begins his seduction of Alice.
Meg interrupts, as planned, to announce (in jest) that Ford is approaching, then Quickly suddenly appears in a panic to inform Alice that a jealous Ford really is on his way. As Ford rushes in with a group of townsfolk, Falstaff tries to hide, eventually ending up in a laundry basket. The men ransack the house. Hearing the sound of kissing, Ford is convinced he has found his wife and her lover, but is furious to discover Nannetta and Fenton instead. Alice instructs her servants to empty the laundry basket out of the window, and to general hilarity, Falstaff is thrown into the River Thames.
At the inn, Falstaff laments the wickedness of the world. Quickly appears again to tell him that Alice still loves him and proposes a new rendezvous that midnight in Windsor Park. Ford, Mannetta, Meg, and Alice prepare the second part of their plot: they will disguise themselves as fairies to punish Falstaff. Falstaff arrives at the park. Alice appears and declares her love for him, then runs off as the “fairies” approach, who pinch and poke the terrified Falstaff. In the midst of the attack he recognizes Bardolfo. He realizes he has been duped but takes it in good humor. Ford, who was about to give his daughter to Caius, is tricked into blessing Nannetta and Fenton. All agree that the whole world may be nothing but a jest, but he who laughs last, laughs best.
Production a gift of the Betsy and Ed Cohen/Areté Foundation Fund for New Productions & Revivals, and Harry and Misook Doolittle Additional funding from The Gilbert S. Kahn & John J. Noffo Kahn Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. William R. Miller A co-production of the Metropolitan Opera; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Teatro alla Scala, Milan; the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto; and De Nederlandse Opera, Amsterdam
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December 14, 2013/12: 00 h / FALSTAFF Verdi / Duration: 3.30 h