Music: Opera Blooms in Brooklyn

A bold new venture begins at a house older than the Met

Terrible are the humiliations that Shakespeare inflicts on the aging Sir John Falstaff. Stuffed into a hamper of dirty laundry to escape a jealous husband, the portly knight gets ignominiously flung into the Thames. "Oh, oh, oh," he finally cries as the supposedly merry wives of Windsor burn him with their tapers. In setting this black comedy to music, Verdi and his librettist, Arrigo Boito, degrade the hero still further. "Lord, make him impotent," the women chorus as everyone flails and pummels the fallen hero. And yet after his punishment on the stage of the Brooklyn Academy of Music last week,...

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