21 December 2011 | TheLittleSongbird
Tied with the 2001 production as the best Falstaff I've seen
I give the slight edge to the 2001 production for its authenticity, but this Glyndebourne performance is wonderfully sung and lots of fun. I've also seen the Bryn Terfel, Renato Bruson and Willard White productions, all very good and interesting in their own way, but not quite as fun or as authentic as the two I've listed as my favourites.
The picture quality is crisp and the camera angles are interesting and serve their job well. Sound also has great clarity. The sets are very cleverly designed, and the costumes are beautiful. Bardolph and Pistol's may be exceptions but this worked I felt.
On a musical front, this Falstaff excels also. There is one slight disappointment with a slightly out-of-synch beginning act 3 Pizzica chorus, otherwise the chorus are involved and well balanced, the orchestra play the sparkling score by Verdi with passion and the conducting is charismatic.
Donald Gramm is superb as Falstaff. His voice mayn't be the largest I've heard, but it is a very firm and rich voice that he uses musically, especially in the understated Va Vecchio John. His presence is fun and charismatic while not resorting to mugging. Of the support cast Benjamin Luxon's Ford and Elizabeth Gale's Nannetta, though Kay Griffel as Alice and Max-Rene Cosotti as Fenton are pleasant surprises also. Nucci Condo is excellent also as Mistress Quickly, one of the better ones I've seen and heard actually.
So all in all, brilliant and in the top three of the best Falstaff productions I've seen. 10/10 Bethany Cox