Verdi's last opera, Falstaff, was his last opera for a good reason: old dude was in his 80s when he wrote it and he died less than a decade after its premiere (in his regal suite at Grand Hotel Et De Milan).
So it's actually quite fitting that Opera di Roma launched (this past Friday) their 2010 season opener with a Falstaff manned by men in their twilights. The opera house resurrected Franco Zeffirelli's (he's 87-years-old) classic & beloved production, which had already been used nine times since it premiered in 1956.
On the podium, Israeli conductor Ascher Fisch needs to keep track of his star Sir Johns for the run. The lead is being split between four singers: Renato Bruson (at 76-years-old), Ruggero Raimondi (at 69-years-old), Juan Pons (at 64-years-old), and the youngest, Alberto Mastromarino (who ironically doesn't divulge his age).
Renato Bruson sang the premiere with Myrto Papatanasiu (Alice), Carlos Álvarez (Ford), and Laura Giordano (Nannetta). Too bad Leo Nucci is currently here singing in James Conlon's unforgettable Rigoletto for Scala..he coulda been a contender!
(Above: Bruson with Carlos Álvarez)