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Falstaff (1999)

TV Movie  -  Comedy | Music
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The comic misadventures of Sir John Falstaff, adapted from "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Henry IV" by 'William Shakespeare'. Sir John Falstaff and his rascally friends, Bardolph and ... See full summary »



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Title: Falstaff (TV Movie 1999)

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Cast overview:
Bryn Terfel ...
Barbara Frittoli ...
Roberto Frontali ...
Désirée Rancatore ...
Kenneth Tarver ...
Bernadette Manca di Nissa ...
Diana Montague ...
Robin Leggate ...
Peter Hoare ...


The comic misadventures of Sir John Falstaff, adapted from "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Henry IV" by 'William Shakespeare'. Sir John Falstaff and his rascally friends, Bardolph and Pistol, are partying at the Garter Inn in Act I. Jack, of course, can't afford to pay for his food and drink, so he plans to seduce Alice Ford and Meg Page, some wealthy wives of Windsor town. These two ladies meet Alice's daughter Nannetta and Mistress Quickly and discover that they have received identical love letters from him. They decide to teach him a lesson. Ford also learns of Falstaff's plan and plots with young Fenton (who loves Nannetta) to take revenge on Falstaff. Ford speaks to Falstaff disguised as Fontana, saying that he wishes also to seduce Alice but wants Falstaff to corrupt her first. Fat Jack visits Alice, but the tryst turns into chaos when Ford and the other men storm in. Meg hides Jack in a laundry basket. Alice orders the servants to dump the dirty linen, Falstaff included, into... Written by Fiona Kelleghan <>

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Comedy | Music





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Falstaff or Lysistrata?
1 February 2006 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

The Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel is, of course one of the great singers currently before the public and also among the most ubiquitous. He does not disappoint here and the singing of the rest of the cast is excellent as well.

The staging is modern as has been mentioned and sometimes sets are a little too cute for my taste. Many of the men's costumes can best be described as "phallic" with huge protuberant codpieces including that of Sir John (Bryn) himself. This is a "subtle" attempt to be "bawdy". A trapdoor in the middle of the stage provides the entrances and exits and this adds to the "cuteness" of the staging.

There are also heads of stags in a line which provide the thematic "horns" (symbol of cuckoldry) and also provide hiding places for various cast members.

Bryn and others are apparently made up to gross out the audience. His "fat suit" is on display at various times especially in the final scene where he is nearly "nude" except for briefs over the fat suit. Also in the final scene, Alice, who is trying to get revenge on Falstaff, lies down in a sexual pose which I don't imagine anyone in her position would really do, if she really disliked the man.

This is one possible approach which to me is another example of opera directors and designers overstepping their marks.

Worth a watch but I'm not sure I would want to own this disk.

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