Arts & Entertainment

FALSTAFF

Giuseppe Verdi was as prodigious as he was prolific, composing operas for more than 50 years. Falstaff was the last of his 29 operas, composed when Verdi was nearly 80.

This summer season Opera Australia features no less than three of the maestro’s masterpieces: Il Trovatore from his middle period (1853), A Masked Ball from his later period (1859) and Falstaff which was composed in 1893, some eight years before Verdi’s death.

Falstaff is based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor and along with Macbeth and Othello completes a trilogy of Verdi treatments of Shakespearean dramas.

Sir John Falstaff is one of Shakespeare’s great comic figures: a fat middle-aged man who attempts to seduce two different married women with identical love letters only to have the recipients swap notes and conspire to teach him a lesson.  The usually young and dashing Warwick Fyfe is transformed into a randy, rowdy and round Falstaff whose comedic performance is enhanced by Andrew Jones as Ford, the husband Falstaff fails to cuckold. The Elizabethan period set is spectacular providing an excellent setting for what promises to be an amusing night at the opera.

Until Mar 16, Sydney Opera House, $44-306, 9250 7777, sydneyoperahouse.com