Choice: Opera: Falstaff, The Coliseum
Wednesday 03 December 1997
Why should you go and see ENO's Falstaff? Let me count the reasons. Amanda Holden's English translation positively bounces thanks to excellent diction, aided and abetted by the construction of Laura Hopkins' vivid designs. It's like watching a boisterous Jan Steen painting come to life. She also turns the Act Three inn scene out of doors with a de Chirico perspective-style townscape. That then leads to a magical and thoroughly Christmassy transformation scene into an unusually snowy Windsor Forest. Matthew Warchus directs with a keen eye for detail, encouraging splendidly vigorous, well-timed performances from a strong cast, notably Rita Cullis as Alice Ford, a woman not to be trifled with. The orchestra play with vigour and dash for Oliver von Dohnnyi and Alan Opie's performance as the blustery knight is big, bold, sonorous but never over the top. What more could you want? Closes tonight. David Benedict
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