One of his generation’s greatest talents, Fritz Reiner took the Met podium more than 150 times in just a four-year period between 1949 and 1953. Much of his work with the company focused on the grand Germanic masterpieces of Wagner and Strauss, but he also conducted some lighter fare—like Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni—as well as the U.S. premiere of Stravinsky’s neoclassical The Rake’s Progress. His only Verdi opera with the Met, he led the composer’s comic final opera, Falstaff, three times, including in this memorable radio broadcast. Reiner paces a remarkable cast in this gem of the Italian operatic repertoire. Baritone Leonard Warrens takes on the larger-than-life title role, alongside the legendary Regina Resnik as Alice Ford, baritone Giuseppe Valdengo as her perpetually jealous husband, and mezzo-sopranos Cloe Elmo and Martha Lipton as her fellow merry wives of Windsor. On the cusp of remarkable careers, soprano Licia Albanese and tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano round out the principal cast as the young lovers Nannetta and Falstaff.
Feb 26, 1949
1 HRS 56 MIN
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus