Scottish Opera: Falstaff
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 21, Thu 26, Sat 28 Jun
If you go to only one opera this year, you could do a lot worse than choosing Scottish Opera’s current production, Falstaff. Composed when he was approaching 80, this was Verdi’s last opera, and it’s hard to believe that such radiant sparkle came in the wake of no less than 24 tragic works. Based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, the piece tells of Sir John Falstaff, a likeable rogue who thinks he has winning ways with the ladies, but all does not turn out as planned.
Dominic Hill’s new production is full of energy, with lots of bright wit and colour, not least from Falstaff himself, brilliantly captured by Peter Sidhorn. Not only is he in perfect physical rotund shape for the part, but he portrays his wily character with warmth, clarity and a sense of fun. In a consistently strong cast, Lucy Crowe as Nannetta also stands out. An intuitive stage presence seems to create an intimacy with the audience and the purity of her voice is ideal for sweet young love.