LABELS: Chandos Opera in English
WORKS: Falstaff (in English)
PERFORMER: Andrew Shore, Yvonne Kenny, Ashley Holland, Susan Gritton, Barry Banks, Rebecca de Pont Davies, Alice Coote; English National Opera Chorus & Orchestra/Paul Daniel
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3079(2)
This recording was made last year at the end of the run of ENO’s revival of Matthew Warchus’s lively production. It was sheer delight on stage, and it is an equally joyous experience on disc. What a strong cast it has, with every role vividly portrayed, and Paul Daniel conducting Verdi’s gloriously life-enhancing score as confidently and enthusiastically as he did in the theatre.
The merry wives of Windsor are a splendid team, with Yvonne Kenny a delectable Alice Ford, her radiant soprano clearly relishing the role, and Alice Coote a sumptuous Meg Page. The quartet of scheming women is completed by Susan Gritton, a sweet-voiced Nanetta, and Rebecca de Pont Davies making the most of her opportunities as Mistress Quickly. Ashley Holland brings Ford excitingly to life in his jealousy aria, and Toby Spence’s youthful lyric tenor makes him an ideal Fenton.
The success of a performance of Falstaff depends greatly on the singer of the title role. Fortunately, Andrew Shore is completely convincing as the fat knight, his interpretation detailed and his voice firm and authoritative. His diction, too, is absolutely clear, as is that of the entire cast, which is just as well, for this is the latest in Chandos‘s ‘Opera in English’ series. It is serious competition for the currently available recordings in Italian.