FALSTAFF

by Giuseppe Verdi

No witching powers I claim,
Yet I’ve a certain je ne sais quoi,
I confess.

Sir John Falstaff is the ultimate human juxtaposition - old yet immature, hapless but manipulative, decent yet wickedly indecent. Also a man of many appetites, the lecherous Falstaff can’t resist his favorite vices - food, women and wine. Suddenly finding himself broke, he hatches a plot to cure his woes - he sends identical love letters to two married women to get his hands on their wealthy husbands’ purse strings. Falstaff doesn’t bank on getting found out and with the help of some ‘merry wives’, husbands and supernatural creatures, he gets his due and finds out the joke is on him.

A brilliant comedy based on a character from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, this period piece boasts an updated twist, pops of color and designs from a modern point of view for modern tastes.


The run time for Falstaff is 2 hours and 40 minutes, including intermission.
All performances at the San Diego Civic Theatre
The Civic Theatre Concourse opens 2 hours before each performance with a fun outdoor cafe with food vendors, bars, and a Hollywood-style Step and Repeat where you can take photos and win tickets (weather permitting).Free backstage tours beginning at 5:30pm for the 7pm performance and 12:30pm for the 2:00pm performance - available to ticket holders.

Attend a pre-opera lecture for Falstaff one hour before each performance (6:00pm for the evening performances, 1:00pm for the Sunday matinee). Held in the Orchestra section and free to all ticketed patrons.


In Italian with projected English supertitles - Learn more »


OPERA SPOTLIGHT

Produced by San Diego Opera and UCSD-TV, the award-winning San Diego Opera Spotlight gives you a unique and entertaining look behind-the-scenes of Falstaff


Spotlight on Falstaff

STARS IN THE SALON

Falstaff - Thursday February 9, 2017 at 5:30pm

Join the stars of Falstaff in Stars in the Salon. This is a thrilling experience for anyone who loves opera. We welcome our distinguished guest panels for a provocative look at the music, characters and behind-the-scenes work which is so important to each production. The Civic Theatre’s beautiful Beverly Sills Salon acts as the setting for this enjoyable discussion where audience members have a chance to meet the stars and ask their own questions of the leading singers, conductors and directors first hand! All sessions are open to the public and free of charge.


FALSTAFF
ACT I

Scene 1. Dr. Caius rails at Sir John Falstaff, whose cohorts, Bardolfo and Pistola, had gotten Caius drunk and robbed him the night before. Falstaff exchanges insults with Caius before the doctor departs in high dudgeon.

After receiving the Garter Inn’s bill, Falstaff realizes how little he has left to pay it. He berates Bardolfo and Pistola for costing him so dearly. There may be a solution, should Falstaff earn the favors of two married ladies, Alice Ford and Meg Page; the knight believes that each holds her household’s purse-strings. Falstaff has written love letters to them both, but Bardolfo and Pistola refuse to deliver the letters, declaring that their honor prevents them from obeying. After ordering a page to do the deed, Falstaff lectures the two on the subject of honor.

Scene 2. As Mistress Quickly and Nannetta, the Fords’ daughter, look on delightedly, Alice and Meg Page discover that their letters from Falstaff are identical. They vow to teach the knight a lesson.

Bardolfo and Pistola warn Ford to beware of Falstaff, who has designs on his wife. Alice withdraws in haste, along with Meg and Quickly. This allows Nannetta to snatch a few moments with Fenton, her sweetheart.

Fenton hides when the ladies return, Alice having decided to invite Falstaff to an assignation, for which she will feign interest in his wooing. She asks Quickly to deliver her invitation in person at the Garter Inn. Meanwhile, after hearing from Bardolfo and Pistola that Falstaff can be found at the Garter, Ford hatches a scheme of his own.

ACT II

Scene 1. Bardolfo and Pistola beg Falstaff for forgiveness. Quickly arrives and, while obsequiously praising Falstaff’s prowess as a seducer, informs him that Alice can receive him that afternoon. The knight is doubly joyful when Quickly mentions that Meg, like Alice, also burns with love for him. After Quickly leaves, Falstaff looks forward to new conquests.

Another guest is announced, “Master Brook” – actually Ford in disguise. Falstaff accepts a bag of gold coins from “Brook,” who confesses his love for the married Alice Ford. He begs Falstaff to woo her on his behalf. Falstaff assures “Brook” that Alice will soon be his. The knight explains that he intends to make Alice’s foolish husband a cuckold this very day, when he will be wooing the lady himself. He goes off to dress for the occasion, leaving Ford seething with jealousy. When Falstaff reappears, grandly attired, Ford forces himself to continue the masquerade.

Scene 2. Quickly gives Alice and Meg details about her meeting with Falstaff. The ladies become frantic, however, upon realizing that Falstaff will actually be arriving within moments. They are briefly interrupted by Nannetta, who tearfully reveals that her father has insisted on her marrying Dr. Caius. Her mother, however, declares that the wedding ever take place.

Alice gaily prepares the room. Falstaff appears, and has only just begun his gallant wooing when Quickly hurries in, feigning anxiety over the impending arrival of Meg. To avoid an unpleasant confrontation, Falstaff hides behind a screen. Meg melodramatically wails that Ford is on his way home, hell-bent on murdering Falstaff. She and Alice can barely contain their laughter, but when Quickly reappears, shouting that Ford really is on his way home, Alice finally understands that there is serious trouble ahead.
Ford enters with Bardolfo, Pistola, and Caius. While they search the rest of the house, Falstaff is crammed into a laundry basket. Now needing her servants’ assistance, Alice goes to find them. Meanwhile, Ford is continuing his search when a kiss is heard. Since Ford sees neither Alice nor Falstaff, he assumes the kiss is theirs. On a count of three, the screen is opened and Ford is furious to find Nannetta with Fenton, whom he dismisses rudely. Thinking Falstaff is still in the house, he races after him, whereupon Alice’s servants are ordered to take the basket to the river. Alice then leads her husband to the window to let him watch the basket being dumped into the Thames.

ACT III

Scene 1. Barely recovered from the afternoon’s indignities, Falstaff is weary of the world until wine revives his spirits. Quickly appears, asserting Alice’s innocence while handing Falstaff a letter from Alice herself. The knight reads it, unaware that he is being observed by Alice herself, along with Nannetta, Ford, Caius, and Fenton. In the letter Falstaff, disguised as the “Black Huntsman,” is invited to meet Alice at midnight in the park at Herne’s Oak.

Once Falstaff has taken Quickly inside to continue their conversation, Alice explains the evening’s plan: Nannetta will be disguised as the queen of the fairies, with Meg as a wood-nymph, and Quickly as a witch. Falstaff will be taunted by all manner of ghosts and devils. Ford takes Caius aside to let him know that he can expect to wed Nannetta that night.

Scene 2. Fenton sings a love song. Nannetta joins him in its final lines, only to be interrupted by Alice, who hands Fenton a monk’s costume, saying she will explain everything later.

Falstaff creeps in, sporting antlers on his head. He listens intently as Windsor’s clock strikes midnight. When he sees Alice, he has only a brief moment with her before she pretends to be frightened of ghosts and runs off. Falstaff hides, and watches in wonder, convinced that the disguised Nannetta is indeed the queen of the fairies. The knight is suddenly confronted by Windsor’s townspeople, playing all manner of otherworldly creatures who pummel him into submission. Things become clear to him, however, when he recognizes Bardolfo, whom he thrashes soundly. Once the Fords’ identities are revealed, Alice asks her husband to bless the union of two couples. When they unmask, it turns out that Dr. Caius has married Bardolfo! His longed-for bride, Nannetta, however, has wed her beloved Fenton. Ford finally understands that – like Falstaff and Caius – he, too, has been made a fool. He joins the knight in inviting the crowd to dinner. Falstaff leads everyone in praising folly, declaring that the whole world is a comedy and man is born a fool.

This synopsis originally appeared in the program of Lyric Opera of Chicago and is reprinted with permission.

FALSTAFF POST-OPERA CAST PARTY

Saturday, February 18 after performance
The US Grant Hotel

Join us immediately following the opening night performance when we’ll journey a few short blocks to The US Grant. We’ll meet the artists from Falstaff and enjoy a wine and champagne reception with light hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Post-Opera Cast Party tickets are $100 per person. ADD TO YOUR TICKET ORDER TODAY!


STARS IN THE SALON - Hosted by David Bennett, General Director

Falstaff - February 9, 2017 at 5:30pm

Join the stars of Falstaff in Stars in the Salon. This is a thrilling experience for anyone who loves opera. We welcome our distinguished guest panels for a provocative look at the music, characters and behind-the-scenes work which is so important to each production. The Civic Theatre’s beautiful Beverly Sills Salon acts as the setting for this enjoyable discussion where audience members have a chance to meet the stars and ask their own questions of the leading singers, conductors and directors first hand! All sessions are open to the public and free of charge.

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