"All the world's a joke," says Falstaff, and these words are truly given weight by Ambrogio Maestri, one of the finest Falstaffs of our time. The Italian baritone brings a powerful, versatile voice to his role, but also brings to his character a hilarious buffo quality. Daniele Gatti, one of the most acclaimed opera conductors working today, leads a stunning cast of singers, including Barbara Frittoli as Alice Ford. This boisterous production by stage director Sven-Eric Bechtolf delivers a Falstaff that is a fireworks display of high spirits. "Bechtolf turns Verdi-¦s last opera "musically and dramaturgically into a feast of life and of love of life."