Verdi: Falstaff - Fischer-Dieskau, Lorengar, Mathis, Wixell, Alva, Little, Johnson; Maazel. Tokyo (D.O.B. tour), 1970
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Star-power will not make Falstaff a success, but on this occasion it certainly doesn’t hurt. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau seems an incongruous fit in the title role. An artist who grew to epitomize elegance and good taste, on paper at least, seems at odds with the portly knight’s amoral world-view. So it is a testament to DFD’s artistry that he can delve into the base world of inns and thieves and emerge smelling like roses. Despite the fact that Alice’s music contains very few moments to shine vocally, Pilar Lorengar still manages to seduce both knight and audience with her plummy soprano. Edith Mathis brings an excellent mix of ingenue and ample lush tone to the role of Nannetta. Luis Alva is a little light as Fenton. He conveys all of the character’s youth, but I found myself wanting a little more meat in his sound during his Act III aria. Ingvar Wixell is stunning as Ford. Lorin Maazel is perhaps ideally suited to tackle this opera. His superb stick technique, meticulous musical approach and impeccable taste make for some very fine ensemble-making. The sound is excellent.