Opera lovers in the Los Angeles area know that Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff is scheduled to perform throughout the month of November. Helmed by Director Lee Blakeley and LA Opera Music Director James Conlon. Falstaff is centered around a portly knight who courts two different women in an attempt to improve his love life. Hilarity ensues.
However, most are unaware of the play’s food-centric qualities. Many of the props on stage are edible and items throughout the performance are in the spirit of the fall harvest. A turkey is prepared and cooked for every show by the Prop Master, Allen Tate, and used during the performance. The reason for all the hurrah surrounding the giant bird? Turkey was a symbol of being at the top of the class system in the 14th century, the play’s time period.
Among the edible arrangements throughout the play, whatever wasn’t eaten was painted to look juicier for the next performance. The staff prepared months in advance to see if the performers had any food allergies before coming up with the play’s menu.
Falstaff is currently playing at the LA Opera through December 1. Opera fans, turkey fans, or anyone looking to try something new be sure to check it out. Falstaff is completely in Italian with projected English translations. The running time is 2 hours and 40 minutes, so sit tight.
Check out more photos from our behind-the-scenes tour of Falstaff below:
A prop of a rotisserie chicken used during the performance. It could very well have been real at some point during the rehearsals.
The detail that went into the set design is pretty amazing.
Props to the prop team (heh heh) for the the work they put into everything.
Director Lee Blakely and the famous oak tree from the opera.
The orchestra, led by Music Director James Conlon, rehearsing.
A severed pig’s head used during the third act and also the third pig head I’d seen in the last two weeks.
The cast performing a live rehearsal.
The production of Falstaff, in full costume, rehearses the first act of the show.