Opera composer Giuseppe Verdi ended his long, illustrious career with a laugh.
At age 80, he shared his final work, “Falstaff,” with audiences. The popular comic opera premiered in 1893 and was quite a departure from the composer’s body of dramatic works. It’s one of just two comedies Verdi composed and has remained one of his most endearing pieces. Soon, Houstonians will experience the revelry of this classic at the University of Houston.
UH’s acclaimed Moores Opera Center will present “Falstaff’ Oct. 21 – 24 in the Moores Opera House (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard). The opera will be performed in Italian with English surtitles.
“Falstaff” is adapted from Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and follows a crooked knight (the title character) as he attempts to seduce and con two rich married women, Alice and Meg. The wealthy wives see through his charms and are determined to turn the tables on him. Meanwhile, Alice’s husband, Ford, has his own plans for Falstaff. In spite of the tomfoolery, romance is in the air as Alice and Ford’s daughter, Nanetta, finds love with dashing suitor Fenton.
“The final number in this opera, which is essentially Verdi’s last operatic piece, has the line ‘all the world’s a joke,’” said Buck Ross, director of the Moores Opera Center and the opera’s director. “It tells you something about his attitude at that stage in his career and his life.”
Ross added that “Falstaff” is fast-paced and a perfect showcase for faculty and student performers. With its ensemble numbers and large cast (10 principal roles), audiences will enjoy a range of voices that are emerging from the Moores Opera Center.
“Falstaff” reflects Verdi’s affinity for the Bard. The composer also adapted Shakespeare’s works for operas “Macbeth” (1847) and “Otello” (1887).
“Verdi revered Shakespeare,” Ross said. “He was lured out of retirement to compose ‘Otello’ and ‘Falstaff.’ There have been other operas inspired by Shakespeare’s works, but Verdi’s are certainly the most famous.”
Tickets are $20 and $10 for students and seniors. A season pass covering four season operas is available for $60. For additional details on tickets, call the Moores box office at 713-743-3313 or visit the Moores box office Web site.
|WHAT:||The Moores Opera Center presents "Falstaff"|
7:30 P.M., Oct. 21, 24
8 p.m., Oct. 22
2 p.m., Oct. 23
|WHERE:||UH Moores Opera House - Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard|
|WHO:||UH Moores Opera Center - www.music.uh.edu/opera/|