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Monday, April 25, 2011

Verdi's "Falstaff" @ Utah Opera (SLC: May 14 - May 22)

Date: April 25, 2011

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilarie Ashton
Public Relations Manager
(801) 869-9027, hashton@usuo.org


SALT LAKE CITY –Utah Opera will present a classic comedy, Verdi’s “Falstaff,” at the Capitol Theatre on May 14, 16, 18 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and May 22 at 2:00 p.m.

Verdi’s opera follows Falstaff, a saucy womanizer who, seeking to better his own fortunes, attempts to woo two wealthy matrons, and gets his comeuppance at the hands of those he first sought to trick. Verdi's voice finds its most brilliant expression in this delightful comedy.

The character Falstaff made his first appearance in Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” history plays, and quickly became a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. Verdi’s “Falstaff” employs the memorable character to incite a comedic plot taken from another of the Bard’s classic plays, “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

Cast members include Steven Condy as Falstaff, Cynthia Clayton as Alice, Michael Chioldi as Ford and Aaron Blake as Fenton, Directed by Christopher Mattaliano. The Utah Symphony will accompany each performance, conducted by Robert Tweten. The opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.

With two twenty-minute intermissions, approximate final curtain time will be 10:15 p.m. for evening performances and 4:45 p.m. for the matinee.

Paul Dorgan will deliver a free Opera Preview Lecture on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the 4th floor meeting room of the Salt Lake City Library. Dr. Dorgan studied at the Dublin College of Music, and spent two summers at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He continued his piano studies at Ohio State University, which conferred on him a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts. Dr. Dorgan has worked with Cincinnati Opera, L’Opéra du Montréal, Opera Columbus, Utah Opera, Opera Memphis and Tampa Opera. He has published articles, and many American opera companies use his supertitle translations. He has adjudicated for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and for NATS.

Utah Opera Principal Coach Carol Anderson will offer an Opera Prelude Lecture, free of charge, in the orchestra seating level of Capitol Theatre one hour before curtain of each performance.

Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Q&A session, free of charge, immediately following each performance in the Founders room on the mezzanine level at Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South).

Tickets for the performances range from $15 to $85 and can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office or by visiting www.usuo.org. Students can purchase discounted tickets with a student ID. Season ticket holders and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). Ticket prices will increase $5 when purchased on the day of the performance.

Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Libretto by Arrigo Boito based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor & Henry IV

Dr. Caius A. J. Glueckert*
Falstaff Steven Condy
Bardolfo Todd Miller
Pistola Branch Fields
Meg Page Cynthia Hanna
Alice Ford Cynthia Clayton
Nannetta Sharin Apostolou
Dame Quickly Melissa Parks
Ford Michael Chioldi
Fenton Aaron Blake**
Innkeeper Scott Noel

Conductor Robert Tweten
Director Christopher Mattaliano
Set Designer Wolfram Skalicki
Costume Designer Susan Memmott-Allred
Lighting Designer Nicholas Cavallaro
Wigs and Make-up Designer Jennifer Lloyd
Chorus Master Susanne Sheston
Musical Preparation Carol Anderson, Laurie Rodgers, Willem van Schalkwyk*
Stage Manager Daniel Sokalski
Assistant Stage Manager Amy Soll

* Utah Opera Resident Ensemble Artist
** Former Utah Opera Resident Ensemble Artist


ACT I - Sir John Falstaff, the portly rascal of Windsor, sits in the Garter Inn with his “bad companions” Bardolfo and Pistola. When Dr. Caius enters to accuse the three of abusing his home and robbing him, Falstaff dismisses the charges with mock solemnity. He then up braids his friends for being unable to pay the bill. Seeking to better his fortunes, Falstaff plans to woo wealthy matrons Alice Ford and Meg Page. He produces love letters to both, but his henchmen decide their ethics forbid them from delivering the notes. Falstaff gives them to a page boy instead and lectures his cronies on honor as he chases them from the inn. In her garden, Alice and her daughter, Nannetta, talk to Meg and Dame Quickly, soon discovering that Falstaff has sent identical letters. Outraged, they resolve to punish him, then withdraw as Ford arrives with Caius, Fenton, Bardolfo and Pistola, all warning him about Falstaff’s designs. Briefly alone, Nannetta and Fenton steal kisses until the women return, plotting to send Quickly to Falstaff to arrange a rendezvous with Alice. Next Nannetta and Fenton are interrupted by Ford, who also plans to visit Falstaff. As the women reappear, all pledge to take the fat knight down a peg or two.

ACT II - At the inn, Falstaff accepts Bardolfo and Pistola’s feigned penitence for their mutiny. Soon Quickly curtseys in to assure the knight that both Alice and Meg return his ardor. Arranging a meeting with Alice, Falstaff rewards Quickly with a pittance and then, alone, preens himself. The next visitor is Ford, disguised as “Master Brook” and pretending an unrequited passion for Alice. Employed to break down the lady’s virtue,
Falstaff boasts that he already has set up a tryst and steps out to array himself. Ford, unable to believe his ears, vows to avenge his honor. Regaining his composure when Falstaff returns, he leaves arm in arm with the fat knight. In Ford’s house, Quickly tells Alice and Meg about her visit with the knight at the inn. Nannetta does not share in the fun: her father has promised her to Caius. The women reassure her before hiding, except for Alice, who sits strumming a lute as her fat suitor arrives. Recalling his salad days as a slender page, he is cut short when Quickly announces Meg’s imminent approach.
Falstaff leaps behind a screen, and Meg sails in to report that Ford is on his way over in a fury. Quickly confirms this, and while Ford and his men search the house, Falstaff takes refuge amid the dirty linen in a laundry basket. Slipping behind a screen, Nannetta and
Fenton attract attention with the sound of their kissing. While Meg and Quickly muffle Falstaff’s cries for air, Ford sneaks up on the screen, knocks it over and pauses briefly to berate the lovers as the chase continues upstairs. Alice orders servants to heave the basket into the Thames, and then leads her husband to the window to see Falstaff dumped into the muddy river.

ACT III - At sunset outside the inn, Falstaff bemoans his misadventure while downing a mug of warm wine. His reflections are halted by Quickly, who insists that Alice still loves him and proves it with a note appointing a midnight rendezvous in Windsor Park. Alice, Ford, Meg, Caius and Fenton sneak in as Falstaff enters the inn with Quickly, who tells him the gory tale of the Black Huntsman’s ghost, often seen in Windsor Park at midnight. Alice and the others take up the story, plotting to frighten Falstaff by dressing up as wood sprites. In moonlit Windsor Forest, Fenton sings of love and receives a monk’s costume for the masquerade; Nannetta is queen of the fairies, Meg a nymph and Quickly a witch. Everyone takes off as Falstaff lumbers in, got up as a huntsman and wearing antlers. Scarcely has he greeted Alice than Meg warns of approaching demons. As the knight cowers, Nannetta calls the forest creatures to their revels. They torment Falstaff until he begs for mercy. When the conspirators unmask, Sir John takes it like a sport. Ford betrothes Caius to the queen of the fairies (now Bardolfo in disguise) and unwittingly blesses Nannetta and Fenton. Ford too has been duped, but he can forgive as well, and Falstaff leads the company in declaring the world is but a jest.


Christopher Mattaliano (Oregon)
Stage Director
Most recently at Utah Opera, I Pagliacci / Carmina Burana
Hugo Weisgall’s Esther, New York City Opera;
L’Heure Espagnole / L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Portland Opera;
Pagliacci / Carmina Burana, Portland Opera;
The Barber of Seville, Portland Opera;
Rigoletto, Portland Opera
Candide, Portland Opera

Robert Tweten (Santa Fe)
Most recently at Utah Opera, Don Giovanni
Tosca, Edmonton Opera;
Die Zauberflote, Sarasota Opera;
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Calgary Opera
Gianni Schicchi/I Pagliacci, Calagry Opera;
Fidelio, Edmonton Opera;
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Vancouver Opera

Sharin Apostolou (New York)
Utah Opera Debut
L‘Enfant et les Sortilèges, Portland Opera;
Dido and Aeneas, Macau International Music Festival-China;
Norma, Caramoor Festival
Tanglewood Institute Fellow

Aaron Blake (California)
Most recently at Utah Opera, Gianni Schicchi
Anna Bolena, The Dallas Opera;
Roméo et Juliette, The Dallas Opera;
Rigoletto, The Dallas Opera
Idomeneo, Opera San Jose;
Lucia di Lammermoor, The Dallas Opera;
Elixir of Love, Utah Opera

Michael Chioldi (New York)
Most recently at Utah Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor
Nixon in China, Long Beach Opera;
Hamlet, Washington National Opera;
Salome, Saito Kinen Festival, Matsumoto, Japan;
Le Nozze di Figaro, Macau International Music Festival, China
Messe Sollenelle, Monte Carlo, Monaco and Nice, France;
Lucia di Lammermoor, Washington National Opera

Cynthia Clayton (California)
Alice Ford
Most recently at Utah Opera, Tosca
Madama Butterfly, Houston Grand Opera;
Tosca, Houston Grand Opera;
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Reno Philharmonic
Il Trovatore, Opera Grand Rapids

Steven Condy (Pennsylvania)
Most recently at Utah Opera, Don Pasquale
The Pirates of Penzance, Arizona Opera;
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Opera on the James;
Tosca, Houston Grand Opera
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of San Antonio

Branch Fields (New York)
Most recently at Utah Opera, Gianni Schicchi
Dessau’s Passover in Exile, American Symphony Orchestra
Il barbiere di Siviglia, Opera on the James
La Bohème, Dicapo Opera Theatre
South Pacific, Utah Festival Opera
Boris Godunov, Utah Festival Opera

Albert J. Glueckert (Oregon)
Dr. Caius
Most recently at Utah Opera, La Boheme
Current Resident Ensemble Artist with Utah Opera;
Young Artist with The Santa Fe Opera;
Les Contes des Hoffmann, The Santa Fe Opera;
Die Zauberflöte, San Francisco Lyric Opera;
Wozzeck, Ensemble Parallel
Silent Night, Minnesota Opera;
Werther, Minnesota Opera;
Resident Artist with Minnesota Opera;
Boris Godunov, Utah Festival Opera

Cynthia Hanna (South Carolina)
Meg Page
Utah Opera Debut
Salome, Ariadne auf Naxos, Carmen, Washington National Opera;
Madama Butterfly, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Opera North;
Debussy's La Damoiselle elue, Mozart's Requiem, Bernstein's Mass, Utah Symphony
Idomeneo, Florentine Opera;
Lucia di Lammermoor, Dallas Opera;
Tesori's A Blizzard in Marblehead (world premiere), Carmen, Glimmerglass Opera

Todd Miller (Utah)
Most recently at Utah Opera, Gianni Schicchi
Solo Recital at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square
Britten's Saint Nicholas Utah Choral Artists
Messiah Tenor Soloist Utah Voices

Melissa Parks (New York)
Dame Quickly
Most recently at Utah Opera, The Gondoliers
Le Grande Macabre, New York Philharmonic;
Sweeney Todd, Teatro Communale di Bologn;
The Mikado, Michigan Opera Theatre;
The Marriage of Figaro, Madison Opera
Cunning Little Vixen, New York Philharmonic;
The Medium, Michigan Opera Theatre;
The Marriage of Figaro, Michigan Opera Theatre.


Hilarie Ashton
Public Relations Manager
801.869.9027 office
801.335.9387 cell

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