Salieri: Falstaff

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Falstaff
PERFORMER: Romano Franceschetto, Lee Myeounghee, Giuliano de Filippo, Chiara Chialli; The Madrigalists of Milan, Guido Cantelli Orchestra/Alberto Veronesi
Salieri’s Falstaff celebrates its bicentenary this year and it’s extraordinary to think of this charming, old-fashioned farce sharing bicentenary honours with Haydn’s Creation and Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto. But make no mistake: Falstaff was a rousing success in Vienna in 1798 and Beethoven even wrote piano versions on one number, ‘La stessa, la stessissima’, possibly in honour of his teacher (Salieri taught Beethoven how to set Italian words). Alberto Veronesi has assembled a cast of flexible Italian or Italian-trained voices and this is an idiomatic performance and a highly professional recording – a little boxed, but probably reproducing the typical sound of a crowded opera house in the 18th century. The booklet’s English is rather startling at times, and it omits to inform us that the continuo is, in fact, played by a fortepiano. However, there is much excellent music, such as the finale to Act I. HC Robbins Landon