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Gerald Finley (c) Bill Cooper

Verdi Falstaff

From 14 June TO 24 June 2022
Wiener Staatsoper - Wien
Program

Verdi : Falstaff

Cast
  • Conductor
    Giampaolo Bisanti
  • Director
    Marco Arturo Marelli
  • Performers
    Sir John Falstaff: Gerald Finley
    Alice Ford: Eleonora Buratto
    Ford: Boris Pinkhasovich
    Mrs Quickly: Monika Bohinec
    Nannetta: Vera-Lotte Boecker
    Fenton: Frédéric Antoun
    Meg Page: Margaret Plummer
  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Wiener Staatsoper - Wien Location Opernring 2 - 1010 Wien Autriche

  • Venue's Capacity: 1709

The Vienna State Opéra is much more than just a local institution; it is a vital part of the city's identity and a national landmark.

As of the 17th century, the Hapsburgs lavishly patronized the opéra. Family members Ferdinand III and Leopold I composed for the théâtre, while Charles VI tried his hand at conducting the orchestra, and the Empress Maria-Theresa often mingled with the corps de ballet.

During the 19th century, the Karntnerthor-Theater was demolished and the présent building was constructed on the famous " Ring ". It was here that Mahler, with the help of the set designer Alfred RoUer, imposed a new style of performance, based on audacious stagings and a very précise interprétation ofthe score, which demanded countless rehearsals.

After the fall of the Hapsburgs, Richard Strauss took over the reins of the newly baptized Vienna State Opéra. Curiously enough, only one of Strauss'operas, THE WOMAH WITHOUT A SHADOW, was premiered in Vienna. Clemens Krauss and Karl Bôhm were to follow in his footsteps. Under Bôhm's direction, the Opera created its own Company, which was to serve as a model for several générations. Even the bombs that destroyed the opéra house in 1945 could not prevent singer s such as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Irmgard Seefried, Sena Jurinac or Erich Kunz from becoming legendary.

One musn't think that the Viennese applaud only their homegrown stars. In 1955, when Maria Callas came to sing LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR in the reconstructed building with Karajan conducting, the public blocked traffic to pay tribute to the diva... in the street! Karajan succeeàed Karl Bôhm, and invited many international stars to corne sing on the Viennese stage. Works were henceforth sung in their language of origin, and coproductions with La Scala permitted the disco-very of voices such as that of Mirella Freni in LA BOHEME.

Ioan Holender has suceeded in deftly combining these international distributions with an ensemble System. He has scheduled many works never heard on the Viennese stage, which are now included in the Opera's répertoire, such as Verdi's JERUSALEM and Enesco's OEDIPE, furthering a policy instated under Claudio Abbado's brilliant direction. Whatever changes may now occur, the Opera will continue to stage at least 300 performances per season (an absolute world record ren-dered feasible thanks to the în-house technical crew, which hires no less than 250 people), and the public will continue to applaud the finest orchestra any amateur could wish for in the pit : the Vienna Philharmonie !

Wiener Staatsoper

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

Falstaff

THE INCREDIBLE OPERA OF FALSTAFF

Giuseppe Verdi's comedic operatic work is amongst one of the great composer's best loved works. Based in part around the Shakespeare plays of The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV, the opera is now recognised as something of a classic. After an initial reluctance from theatre goers to warm to the themes and melodies found within, the opera has received praise and respect since the 1930s onwards. The many studio recordings and live performances based around the world have brought it to the attention of opera lovers everywhere. 

HISTORY

Verdi's comedic opera is set in Windsor, England at the end of the 14th Century. It is largely concerned with the humorous consequences of the arrogance and bluster of the central character as he attempts to seduce two married ladies. The hilarious twists in the plot can act as a symbol for the ongoing confusion in human nature and the timeless class struggles and problems of identity that remain consistent and relevant today. 

Act 1 

The first act details Falstaff's attempts to woe the married Alice Ford and Meg Page with letters of love. He attempts to enlist the help of his friends Bardolfo and Pistola to deliver the letters. The men refuse, but the letters still manage to find their way to the ladies in question. The situational comedy of such action provides the ideal starting point for the opera. 

Act 2 

The misunderstandings and dramatic comedy are intensified in the second act as Alice Ford's husband becomes embroiled in the story. He hatches a plan with Bardolfo and Pistola to discredit their former friend by conspiring to make him look ridiculous in his pursuit of Alice. However, Ford is himself taken in by the emotional confusion of love and is soon sick with anger at Falstaff's desire for his wife. 

Act 3 

The culmination of the amusing cross purposes and miscommunication arrives once Ford realises his error in judgement in suspecting his wife of an affair. In working out the perfect punishment for the fat foolish knight, the crux of the opera is wonderfully delivered. Dealing with a light touch the essential motivations and romantic impulses of human relationships, Verdi is able to bring a timeless story of passion, crossed wires and tomfoolery to the world stage. Leaving the audience with a sense of happy goodwill in the face of the perplexities of life, the opera can be counted on to raise the spirits. 

MAIN ROLES

Sir John Falstaff, a fat arrogant knight, baritone
Ford, a rich man, baritone
Alice Ford, his wife, soprano
Nannetta, their daughter, soprano
Meg Page, a wealthy married woman, mezzo-soprano
Fenton, one of Nannetta's suitors, tenor

Wiener Staatsoper

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