Opera Scotland

Falstaff 1894Royal Italian Opera Company

Read more about the opera Falstaff

Sir Augustus Harris brought his company on a brief tour to Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1894. One highlight of this visit was undoubtedly the first performances in Scotland of Verdi's wonderful final comedy. Not only was this a mere eighteen months after the premiere at La Scala, but the cast included three men who had actually created their roles in Milan - the Ford (Pini-Corsi), Fenton (Pellagalli-Rossetti) and Pistol (Arimondi).

The American baritone David Bispham was noted for his performances at Covent Garden and the Met as well as for Mapleson. The Ravogli sisters had a great success performing together in the title roles of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, a work that was not universally popular at the time.

The Edinburgh Evening News said Verdi 'has absolutely caught the Shakespearian vein: the piece rollicks along.. ...to the performance last night, nothing but praise can be awarded.' The critic of the Scotsman commented in more detail on the individual performers. Of the Falstaff, 'his rich and mellow baritone voice manipulated with great art, enabled him to do all justice to his music; and in the nuances he employed in his interviews with Dame Quickly, Mr Ford, Mrs Ford and the rest, he revealed a true artistic interest....Scarcely less praiseworthy is the Ford of Signor A. Pini-Corsi....his voice is of a peculiarly penetrating timbre, and in the role of the jealous husband he had many opportunities of demonstrating its sonority.'  He praised, too, the rest of the cast.

Regarding the performance in Glasgow the following week, the Herald critic said of Bispham's Falstaff 'his excellent baritone was used with fullness of tone in the vocal blusterings of the rotund knight, and with modulated tenderness in the amorous passages. The Ford of Signor A Pini-Corsi was vocally and dramatically a capital performance...a scena given to Ford in the second act was splendidly carried through by the artist, who had quite an ovation at its close.'  Of the orchestral contribution - 'Signor Seppilli was the conductor, and carried his forces through this exacting work without a hitch.'

Performance Cast

Sir John Falstaff a knight

David Bispham

Pistola Pistol, a follower of Falstaff

Vittorio Arimondi

Bardolfo Bardolph, a follower of Falstaff

Antonio Rinaldini

Caius Dr Caius, a Frenchman

Iginio Corsi

Meg Mistress Page

Aurelia Kitzu

Alice Mistress Alice Ford, wife of Ford

Sofia Ravogli

Nannetta daughter of the Fords

Pauline Joran

Quickly Mistress Quickly, a confidante of Alice and Meg

Giulia Ravogli

Ford a merchant of Windsor

Antonio Pini-Corsi

Fenton a young gentleman

Paolo Pellagalli-Rossetti

Performance DatesFalstaff 1894

Map List

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

11 Sep, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

17 Sep, 19.30

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