Levine returns with ‘Falstaff’

Dec 06, 2013
The long-awaiting return of James Levine to the Metropolitan Opera takes place in “Falstaff,” featured Live in HD Saturday, Dec. 14.

Rockland — The Live in HD high-definition simulcast series of productions from the New York Metropolitan Opera to the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., continues Saturday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m. with Giuseppe Verdi’s take on Shakespeare’s jolly “Falstaff.”

Produced by Robert Carsen, this is the first new Met “Falstaff” since 1964 and it signals the return of conductor James Levine to the podium. Adapted by Arrigo Boito (from Shakespeare's plays “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and scenes from “Henry IV”), this “commedia lirica” in three acts is an admired favorite with critics of Verdi’s because of its brilliant orchestration, scintillating libretto and refined melodic invention.

Carsen’s production sets the venerable mainstay in the English countryside in the mid-20th century with Ambrogio Maestri (last season’s Dulcamara in “L’Elisir d’Amore”) singing the title role opposite a marvelous ensemble that includes soprano Angela Meade (as Alice Ford), mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe (as Mistress Quickly), soprano Lisette Oropesa (as Nanetta) and baritone Franco Vassallo (as Ford).

Set designer is Paul Steinberg, costume designer is Brigitte Reiffenstuel and lighting designer is Peter Van Praet, in partnership with Carsen. One of the undisputed masters of “Falstaff,” Music Director James Levine conducts Verdi’s opera for the first time at the Met since 2005. “Falstaff” is 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.

An encore broadcast will take place Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m. Tickets are $27, $15 for students; encore tickets are available day-of-show for $23/$5. The Met Live in HD season is sponsored by Allen Insurance and Financial. For more information on all upcoming live concerts, films, HD broadcasts and events at the Strand, visit rocklandstrand.com; call 594-0070; or email info@rocklandstrand.com.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Pictured from left are Lisette Oropesa as Nannetta, Angela Meade as Alice, Stephanie Blythe as Mrs. Quickly and Jennifer Johnson Cano as Meg Page. (Photo by: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)
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