Wikipedia:Peer review/Falstaff (opera)/archive1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Falstaff (opera)[edit]

Toolbox

* Further information

This peer review discussion has been closed.
Verdi's last opera, a glorious comedy, has an interesting history. After a triumphant premiere the work fell into neglect, but is nowadays a firm fixture in the repertory all round the world. Two editors, Viva-Verdi and Tim riley, have made substantial additions to the article in the past twelve months, and we have combined our new material into what we think is a coherent whole. We have FAC in mind, and would be glad of comments from colleagues on prose, balance, structure, images and pretty much anything. – Tim riley (talk) 23:10, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Brianboulton comments[edit]

I'm a little stressed for time this weekend, so just a few comments to get you going, as it were. I will try to give it more detailed attention next week.

  • Lead: I don't think that at the moment the lead fully summarises the article. There ought to be a line summarising what the opera is basically about; giving the Shakespeare plays on which it is based won't help everyone. Also, the composition history isn't mentioned in the lead, nor, apart from the critics' comment about a lack of melody, is the musical style.
    • Good points both. Shall revisit. Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Conception: The one-line paragraph "The secret was kept for the following eighteen months" is somewhat novelettish, definitely not encyclopedic. I recommend you lose it.
  • Uncited statements:
  • "...things went fairly smoothly in January 1893 up to the premiere performance on 9 February, after which the composer, in traditional fashion, stayed in Milan until the night of the third performance".
  • Rejigged and citation (which covers all) moved down. Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Musical score details
  • Could the inline quotes be differentiated from the text more clearly? I occasionally found it hard to identify what was quote and what was text.
    • Could you mention an example so that I can see what needs doing? Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I noticed some inconsistencies in page range formatting, e.g. 113–130 v. 714–15 etc
    • Yes, the result of two editors working at once. I'll make them consistent. Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

This is just a bit of surface-scratching for the moment. I will return to it as soon as I can. Brianboulton (talk) 23:48, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

More detailed comments:

Conception
  • "dozens of passages from Henry IV" seems a bit loose. Literally dozens? Or merely "numerous"?
    • Yez, dozens. I was amazed. Hepokoski devotes four pages to mentioning some of them, and I don't think that's an exhaustive list. Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Verdi received the draft libretto a few weeks later" – no date reference given for "a few weeks later"
    • We don't know the exact date. The best we could do is "some time before 6 July 1889", which I've added. Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "He had earlier set an adaptation of Macbeth (1847) and had considered King Lear as a subject..." – and of course Otello, which you have linked to Shakespeare in the lead but not in the text.
  • Paragraphs should not begin "But..."
    • I could wheel Fowler in on my side, but I've expunged it. Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Give year for 10 July
Composition
  • "A contemporary English critic..." – can he be identified? I assume you mean contemporary with the opera's creation, not contemporary with now.
    • The latter, definitely. One Richard Alexander Streatfeild, of whom I have never heard, writing in 1895. Does it help to name him, do you think? Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Boito planned to take the completed first act to Verdi at Santa'Agata..." It seems that this is what he did, rather than what he planned to do
  • "Verdi had agreed in a letter to Ricordi..." Ricordi should be fully introduced; I assume it is Giulio Ricordi?
    • Quite right. Done. Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "it has been noted that" – by whom?

More to come Brianboulton (talk) 11:37, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

All good stuff. Looking forward to more when you're ready. Tim riley (talk) 18:09, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Just making a comment on the last bit, Casa Ricordi might be a better link. Best.4meter4 (talk) 17:31, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Continuing: Not a lot more, in truth. A highly readable article, not overburdened with technical or exclusive prose.

Composition
  • "Verdi and Strepponi" – who was Strepponi?
  • Giuseppina Strepponi was Verdi's second wife and a celebrated soprano. I clarified the information and wikilinked her in the article. Best.4meter4 (talk) 13:56, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Thank you for that, 4meter4. We'd be grateful, too, for any other thoughts you may have on the article as it stands. Tim riley (talk) 14:49, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Premieres
  • "encouraged the composer to agree to go to" is clumsy - suggest delete "to agree". Also, "on 14 April" rather than "of"
  • I think I would probably promote poor old Umberto (assassinated, I believe) in the list of the grandees, e.g. "together with King Umberto I and other major royal and political figures of the day."
  • "...the autograph is essentially a reliable source, augmented by contemporary Ricordi editions for the few passages that Verdi omitted to amend in his own score." This passage left me scratching my head – it does not in my eyes point to a definitive score. And the wording "omitted to amend" is most curious, as though this was some dereliction on his part.
    Well, it was a dereliction really. He kept tinkering with the vocal and orchestral parts (and Ricordi tried to keep up with his changes) but he didn't always remember to amend his manuscript full score. Perhaps we need to say so in as many words. I'll ponder.
  • "made his own translation, with the help of a Parisian poet" – so not quite his own, then?
    • Hmm. True. I'll examine my conscience. Tim riley (talk) 14:49, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Renascence
  • Can you check the von Rhein quote to see that he actually wrote "on the order of", which doesn't sound right?
    • I'll do if I can, but may have to ask my fellow conspirator for help on this. I'll see what the British Library has to offer. Tim riley (talk) 14:49, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
      • Checked: we have correctly quoted him. Tim riley (talk) 12:02, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Roles table
  • The "Falstaff" link should be extended to the full name of the character
    • As suggested by Guillaume Tell below, I've removed the links from the characters' names, as they aren't really helpful in the context of the opera rather than Shakespeare's original. Tim riley (talk) 10:13, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Music
  • Second paragraph is approx 80% quotation. I think it would be preferable to increase the paraphrase.
  • Verdi's statement that "I am not writing a comic opera" seems at odds with what is written in the "Conception" section.
    • If I spoke Italian, other than menu and wine list Italian, and had access to Verdi's original words I might be more confident in guessing, as I tentatively do, that "comic" here means "buffo", as opposed to "comedy" in the sense of the Bard's comedies such as As You Like It. I'll ponder this point. Tim riley (talk) 14:49, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

General point: the format of placing the "Roles" table and the synopsis after the compositional and performance history, rather than before it, is at odds with the style of other opera articles taken to FAC – those that I've been concerned with, anyway. Is there a rationale for this?

Viva-Verdi and I are between a rock and a hard cliché here. The WP opera project customarily puts the sections in the order we have followed here, and we are loth to flout that convention. On the other hand, from earlier discussions I think it is true to say that Viva-Verdi and I agree that the order followed in the existing opera FAs is more sensible. (Some of our discussions were over lunch in London, so that I have the pleasure of quoting Viva-Verdi viva voce.) I think it might be best to await other comments here and (God willing) at FAC, and follow the consensus, which I hope will be of the Boultonian persuasion. Tim riley (talk) 14:49, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

I've not done a sources check, but that can await the FAC. Brianboulton (talk) 13:18, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for these, Brian. All grist to the mill. Silence from me, above, indicates assent. Tim riley (talk) 14:49, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

from Smerus[edit]

Excellent article which I greatly enjoyed, congratulations. I really have nothing worth saying; only two points occurred to me, neither of which are germane to the topic. One: was Verdi perhaps being sarky to Boito about him wasting time which could have been used to complete Nerone?...when Boito had already been tinkering with it for ten years or so.... Two: I didn't know that Benjamin Lumley, who had orginally commissioned the Tempest libretto in a vain attempt to lure Mendelssohn to grand opera, had offered it to Verdi. He eventually gave it to Halévy, whose version turned out to be a gigantic flop.....still, as they say, tutta la vita è burla.....Best, --Smerus (talk) 17:24, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for both of those! Delightful sidelong glances. I had no idea about the gestation of Nerone (though I bet my co-conspirator Viva-Verdi did). The Lumley point is ad rem and I'll follow it up. Tim riley (talk) 14:58, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Comments from Cg2p0B0u8m[edit]

These are my comments:

  • should the fact that it is an Italian opera be mentioned in the lead?
  • Under 'Conception' "He had earlier set operatic adaptations of..." Why not give the dates of the suggested projects? Or maybe this phrase might be linked with the bit about the Tempest in the first sentence of this section.
    • Dates - good idea. Will do.
  • I think it would be useful to mention somewhere that there were many portrayals of the story in opera before Verdi and one survives on the fringe of the repertoire up to today. Grove Opera lists them in the Shakespeare article. At the time of the premiere audiences were familiar with the Nicolai; maybe this is why the opera did not catch on in German centres (and Roger Parker discusses aspects of this in the Glyndebourne book I mention below)
    • Excellent point. I'll follow this up.
  • 2nd para of premiere - original company = original cast ?
    • Interchangeable, I think. Tim riley (talk) 10:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • 3rd para of premiere - Gossett disagrees = Gossett disagreed
    • There is a strange custom that a statement in a book, however old the book and however dead the author, is referred to in the present tense, as with "Hepokoski considers" earlier in that same para. Tim riley (talk) 10:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • In 'Neglect' (and also in the lead) I feel that too much emphasis is put on this. Clearly there were fewer performances, but I had a quick look at Loewenberg and it was still being premiered through the 90s and beyond. The Opéra-Comique revived it in 1901-2 and Kaminski mentions Toscanini visits to Buenos Aires. "After the initial excitement, audiences quickly diminished. Operagoers were nonplussed by the absence of big traditional arias and choruses." just needs toning down (nonplussed?). There is also some story I've seen that Ricordi insisted on people taking Manon Lescaut as well as Falstaff if they wanted to perform the latter. Likewise in the Resascence section is concentrating on the big names and big houses accurate - (there are interesting things among early pirate recordings in your discography ref 50) ?
    • I don't think "nonplussed" is too strong: that "Is this our Verdi?" quote makes the point, I'd say. Tim riley (talk) 10:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • I think you are a Beecham fan, so I will be careful... but his comment is a bit of a 'rent-a-quote'. Sorry Sir Thomas, Falstaff is not Don Carlos, Aida or a Shakespearian tragedy, it is a rumbustious comedy. Broad and impressive tunes would be a bit difficult to squeeze however much the public might want them.
    • Tommy can take it! As I hope the text shows, time has proved him wrong and Toscanini right. But his view was pretty widespread at the time. Tim riley (talk) 10:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • I had a feeling that Giulini was considered to be quite an important interpreter of Falstaff (put in the lead instead of Bernstein) - yes you do mention him
  • I am not an expert on referencing but are the two 'Osbornes' sufficiently separated in the referencing system?
    • Aaagh! No they aren't! Thank you for spotting. I'll amend. Tim riley (talk) 10:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • If you can access the Glyndebourne programme book from 2009 there is an excellent article by Russ McDonald 'Shakespeare Transposed' from a literary viewpoint which has useful things in it "multiplicity transmuted into music" (it may possibly be the same as your DVD notes...)
    • I saw Falstaff at Glyndebourne a few years ago. Perhaps it was 2009. I'll have a rummage through my pile of programmes. Thank you for the suggestion. Tim riley (talk) 10:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Overall, of course it is very good which is why I didn't have that many comments!

I hope this rambling is helpful? Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 21:19, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Very helpful indeed – warm thanks! Tim riley (talk) 10:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

From 4meter4[edit]

Great work on the article. I made a few minor copy editing changes to the article. I have only two suggestion to make. First, in the Conception section. I found this long sentence a little awkward to read: "Verdi still had doubts, and on the next day sent another letter to Boito expressing his concerns, which related to "the large number of years in my age", his health (which he admits to being good), his ability to complete the project: "if I were not to finish the music?", and stating that this would all be a waste of the younger man's time and be a distraction for the librettist in composing his own new opera (which became Nerone)." My personal preference would be to break it up somehow.

Second, I think the perfomance history in the Renascence section should be expanded to include some more notable productions post 1941 to the present. 4meter4 (talk) 20:47, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for these points. I'll certainly redraw the long sentence. Happy to flesh out the postwar prods a bit, but would be grateful for any pointers that come to your mind. Tim riley (talk) 22:24, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
One that comes to mind is the Robert Carsen's new production set during the 1950s which premiered at the Royal Opera in London and then came to the Met, La Scala, and the Canadian Opera Company. (see [1], and [2]) I would also suggest looking at what DVD recordings their are as a possible guide for inclusion.4meter4 (talk) 00:14, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Comments from Sarastro[edit]

Don't be fooled by the name, I profess no great operatic knowledge. Having said that, this is a splendid, easy read. I may have missed some things in my ignorance, but I could only find two very minor points:

  • ”but owned and frequently re-read Shakespeare's plays in Italian translations by Carlo Rusconi and Giulio Carcano, which he kept by his bedside, where they have remained since his death.”: Assuming that this isn’t a typo, and that his bedside still exists (presumably in a museum-type affair), could we elaborate just a touch so that it isn’t so jarring?
    • Definitely. I wrote that bit, and I felt at the time it wasn't quite right. Shall redraw. Tim riley (talk) 22:27, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
  • ”In a gloomy mood, Falstaff curses the sorry state of the world. Some mulled wine soon improves his mood.”: mood…mood
    • The value of peer review! That jingling duplication leaps out at me now you've mentioned it. Shall fix. Thank you very much. Tim riley (talk) 22:27, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Otherwise, I think this one should have no problems at FAC. Sarastro1 (talk) 20:26, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Comments from GuillaumeTell[edit]

I haven't read very much of the article so far (hoping to do more tomorrow and/or over the weekend), but what struck me immediately was the roles table. When I first looked, there was a blue link for Mistress Quickly - but no mention there of the opera except in the small print at the bottom. Now there is a blue link for Sir John Falstaff with a rather similar look - except that there are screeds of stuff about real people/characters/etc who don't relate to the opera. In fact, just about all of the characters listed appear in The Merry Wives, so why aren't they all blue-linked in some way? Personally, I'd delink anything in the roles table and perhaps add a short paragraph relating the people in the table to the MWW and perhaps vice versa if necessary. --GuillaumeTell 22:29, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Good point—thank you. I've delinked as suggested. I could run up a brief pen picture of the characters, raiding the various sources. I don't think, if memory serves, any other operatic FAs have such a section. I think the excellent synopsis (not my work, so I can say that) covers this. Tim riley (talk) 12:02, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Comments from the Dr.[edit]

Coming tomorrow..♦ Dr. Blofeld 19:18, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Can you think of a word a bit more polished than "fat" in the lead and body? The "fat knight" seems funny. Maybe "stout" would be better? ♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:52, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
    • The thing is, he's so often referred to as "the fat knight" (try Googling the phrase) that it's pretty much his strap line. Tim riley (talk) 08:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Pink box? Tim riley (talk) 08:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
    • Open to alternatives.
  • "The house is now a museum, and the volumes remain there". Sorry, where was this?
    • Good point. I'll footnote this, I think. Tim riley (talk) 08:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Hamburg isn't linked but Milan is. If anything Milan is more a world city.
    • Both should be, I think. Shall do. Tim riley (talk) 08:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "When Karajan was in a position to do so he added Falstaff to the repertoire of his opera company at Aachen in 1941,[49] and he remained" repetition of he, I think you can remove he in the second instance.
  • Even on Safari which uses the standard small wiki text the "Poster for original cast performance, Trieste, 1894" pushes out the header for Neglect which is against MOS guidelines I believe. You might want to place a {-} break after that section to avoid it happening on different screen.
    • I don't understand. Is this to do with hand-held devices? Happy for you to make any necessary adjustment. Tim riley (talk) 08:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Looks in great shape, seems most issues have already been addressed by the myriad of comments here!♦ Dr. Blofeld 11:15, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for your input, Doc. Greatly appreciated. Tim riley (talk) 08:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Comments from GabeMc[edit]

Lead
  • "The work, described by its creators as a commedia lirica, premiered on 9 February 1893 at La Scala, Milan."
Will the casual reader understand the meaning of commedia lirica? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:00, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand it. I've added a footnote explaining why the literal translation is to be regarded with caution. Tim riley (talk) 12:12, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Falstaff, written when Verdi was approaching the age of eighty, was the last of his twenty-eight operas, and was only his second comedy. It was his third work based on a Shakespeare play, following Macbeth and Otello."
Consider: "Verdi wrote Falstaff, which was the last of his twenty-eight operas, as he was approaching the age of eighty. It was his second comedy, and his third work based on a Shakespeare play, following Macbeth and Otello", or similar.
Better. Done. Tim riley (talk) 12:12, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "After the initial performances in Italy, other European countries and the US the work was neglected until the conductor Arturo Toscanini insisted on its revival at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York."
I think you need a comma after US.
Done.
  • "Some felt that the piece suffered from a lack of the full-blooded melodies of the best of Verdi's previous operas, a view strongly contradicted by Toscanini."
Comma splice? It seems there is a comma separating two independent clauses. Consider: "Although some felt that the piece suffered from a lack of the full-blooded melodies of the best of Verdi's previous operas, Toscanini strongly contradicted this view", or similar. Also "full-blooded melodies" strikes me as an unencyclopedic phrase.
I think the construction is all right, but I take your point about "full-blooded". Shall ponder. We need to convey somehow that in earlier works Verdi was, so to speak, painting in oils with bold strokes but in Falstaff is much subtler and delicate. Tim riley (talk) 12:12, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Among those most closely associated with the title role have been Victor Maurel (the first Falstaff), Mariano Stabile, Giuseppe Valdengo, Tito Gobbi, Geraint Evans and Bryn Terfel."
Consider: "Several actors are closely associated with the title role, including Victor Maurel (the first Falstaff), Mariano Stabile, Giuseppe Valdengo, Tito Gobbi, Geraint Evans and Bryn Terfel", or similar.
Yes, good. Done.
Conception
  • "Verdi liked it, but replied that 'to deal with it properly you need a Rossini or a Donizetti.'"
Its my understanding that one ought not introduce a direct quote with a subordinating conjunction.
So I was taught when a schoolboy, I admit. Sometimes the flow of the prose justifies breaking the rule, I think, but in truth this is not one of those times. Shall amend. Tim riley (talk) 14:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "In 1850 he considered"
At the start of this paragraph you used a comma after the introductory phrase, which is optional as long as the article is consistent.
This is always tricky. American editors have no problem: to them a comma is mandatory. Englishmen have to make their own calls. I put one in where I think it will help the reader and leave it out where I think it won't. I can't do consistency over this, alas. Tim riley (talk) 14:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "For a comic subject Verdi considered"
Again, this introductory phrase need not be set-off with commas, but in other places you do set them off.
  • "Verdi still had doubts, and on the next day sent another letter to Boito expressing his concerns, which related to "the large number of years in my age", his health (which he admits to being good), his ability to complete the project: "if I were not to finish the music?", and stating that this would all be a waste of the younger man's time and be a distraction for the librettist in composing his own new opera (which became Nerone)."
This sentence is quite wordy, IMO. Consider splitting it into two.
I've changed this in response to an earlier editor's comment to the same effect. Tim riley (talk) 14:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Yet, as his biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz notes, 'Verdi could not hide his delight at the idea of writing another opera'."
This might be a matter of taste, but it seems wrong to start this sentence with the adverb yet.
Better than "nonetheless", "nevertheless" or similar, though, I think. Tim riley (talk) 14:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "The secret was kept for the following eighteen months."
I always avoid using one-sentence paragraphs, particularly at the end of a section, as it gives the impression that something is missing.
Removed. Tim riley (talk) 14:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "By 1889, Verdi had been an opera composer for more than fifty years."
Consider: "By 1889, Verdi had been composing operas for more than fifty years", or similar.
  • "In his tragic operas Verdi introduced moments of comedy in, for instance, Un ballo in maschera and La forza del destino."
Consider: "Verdi introduced moments of comedy in his tragic operas, including Un ballo in maschera and La forza del destino", or similar.
Better. Tim riley (talk) 14:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "In 1850 he considered but finally rejected a suggestion of writing an operatic version of Shakespeare's The Tempest for Covent Garden."
Consider: "In 1850, he considered writing an operatic version of Shakespeare's The Tempest for Covent Garden, but ultimately rejected the idea", or similar.
Yes, an improvement. Tim riley (talk) 14:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Following the success of Otello in 1887 he commented, 'After having relentlessly massacred so many heroes and heroines, I have at last the right to laugh a little.'"
Other may disagree, but IMO you need a citation to follow each and every quote.
I entirely concur. Shall attend to this. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Boito was doubly pleased with The Merry Wives as a plot."
Consider combining this paragraph with the preceding one and swapping out this use of Boito with a pronoun.
Having added a sentence to the preceding paragraph since you wrote your comment I have rather sabotaged this suggestion. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "at a time when his interest had been piqued by reading Shakespeare's play (and several others):"
Consider dropping: "(and several others)", as it seems a bit off-topic.
Yes.
  • "The composer did not speak English, but owned and frequently re-read Shakespeare's plays in Italian translations by Carlo Rusconi and Giulio Carcano, which he kept by his bedside, where they have remained since his death."
Since the sentence mentions his reading of Shakespeare's plays in Italian, consider: "The composer could not read English", or similar.
Logical, but the jingle of read/re-read within a few words is not ideal. Tim riley (talk) 14:09, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Good point. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Verdi still had doubts, and on the next day sent another letter to Boito expressing his concerns, which related to 'the large number of years in my age', his health (which he admits to being good), his ability to complete the project: 'if I were not to finish the music?', and stating that this would all be a waste of the younger man's time and be a distraction for the librettist in composing his own new opera (which became Nerone)."
This is a bit wordy. Consider splitting this into two sentences.
Redrawn. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "On 10 July, he wrote again"
Omit again.
OK. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Composition
  • ""That act has the devil on its back; and when you touch it, it burns" Boito complained."
Even if accurate to the OS, there ought not be a coordinating conjunction following a semi-colon. The principle of minimal change and MOS:QUOTE support this type of typographical adaptation.
Ah, well I go into battle under the flag of H W Fowler on this point. He held that it was a superstition to believe one can't begin a sentence with a conjunction, and so do I, and a fortiori a clause after a semicolon. It's pistols at dawn on this point, definitely. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Boito was overjoyed, and Verdi reported that he was still working on the opera but the two men did not meet again until October or November."
Fix this run-on by adding a comma before but.
Now I look at it, it's rather an odd sentence even with a comma. The bits of the sentence don't seem to belong together. Shall ponder. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Eventually Maurel became compliant enough to be cast."
Consider: "Maurel eventually became compliant enough and Verdi cast him as Falstaff", ""Maurel eventually became compliant enough to be cast", or "Eventually, Maurel became compliant enough to be cast", or similar.
Yes. The last, I think. Will do Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Boito's original sketch is. lost, but surviving correspondence shows that the finished opera was not greatly different from his first thoughts."
There's a minor tense issue here.
Yes, I think the present tense at the second mention will do very well. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "He wrote to Boito in August 1889 telling him that he was writing a fugue: 'Yes, Sir! A fugue ... and a buffa fugue', which 'could probably be fitted in'."
Although convenient, you shouldn't introduce a direct quote with a subordinating conjunction.
I like to think of this usage as what Fowler called a "Sturdy Indefensible", that is, something that doesn't stand up to strict analysis but is established practice. You are, of course, absolutely correct, but in truth I think the prose flows better this way. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Good point, but does it flow better that way because its the only way to phrase it, or because its a convenient way? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "He was sorry, nonetheless, to see the loss of Falstaff's second humiliation, where he is obliged to dress up as the Wise Woman of Brentford to escape from Ford"
The pronoun seems to refer to Verdi. Consider: "where the character is obliged to dress up", or similar.
How about "see the loss of Falstaff's second humiliation, dressed up as the Wise Woman ..."? Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Does that put two Falstaffs in close proximity? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
No, it's fine, and shorter. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Verdi, like Boito, was anxious to do justice to Shakespeare"
Consider: "Verdi and Boito were anxious to do justice to Shakespeare, Verdi explained", or similar. Also, "to do justice to" is jarring and it should be smoothened, IMO.
Have you any thoughts on another way of saying "do justice to"? I'm scratching my head a bit. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Consider: "Verdi and Boito were anxious to successfully adapt Shakespeare for opera, Verdi explained", or similar. It loses a little bit of the meaning, or the meaning is made more subtle, but "to do justice to" roughly equals "to successfully adapt", IMO. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
So it does, and that is just what they were anxious to do. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "By early 1891 he was declaring that"
There is some inconsistency with the use of commas after introductory phrases, as in the preceding paragraph you write: "In November, Boito took the completed first act to Verdi at Santa'Agata" and the article body starts with "By 1889, Verdi had been an opera composer for more than fifty years."
You're right. Probably the result of combining the prose of an adopted American (Viva-Verdi) and a stay-at-home Englishman (me). I think before FAC we'd better go through the whole article removing all commas and then reinserting only the ones that are strictly necessary. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "By early 1891 he was declaring that he could not finish the work that year, but in May he expressed some small optimism, which by mid-June, had turned into"
1) Comma use after introductory phrases. 2) Excessive use of the passive voice. Instead of "he was declaring that" consider: "he declared that". 3) Omit the comma in: "which by mid-June, had turned into".
Agree on the punctuation; not so sure about the phrasing. Shall ponder. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Redrawn. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Boito was overjoyed, and Verdi reported that he was still working on the opera but the two men did not meet again until October or November."
Consider moving the comma that now follows overjoyed to before but.
Redrawn. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Then the Verdis were in Genoa for the winter where they were both ill, and two months of work were lost."
Consider: "The Verdis then travelled to Genoa, where they stayed for a winter during which they both became ill, losing two months of work."
Not keen on that: it reads as though both Mr and Mrs Verdi were doing the work. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Good point. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "but at first the singer sought contractual terms unacceptable to Verdi"
Consider: "but at first the singer sought contractual terms that were unacceptable to Verdi".
Will do. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Redrawn. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "things went fairly smoothly in January 1893"
fairly is an excess modifier.
Not needed, I concur. Removed. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Premieres
  • "After Verdi and Strepponi left Milan on 2 March"
While I often catch myself overusing had, it seems to me that left should be in the perfect past.
OK done. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "On 4 February 1895"
I believe this full date needs comma after the year.
Over my dead body. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • This section seems to eschew use of a comma after introductory phrases, whereas elsewhere in the article they are used; make consistent.
  • "The first performance of Falstaff was at La Scala in Milan on 9 February 1893."
Consider: "Falstaff premiered at La Scala in Milan on 9 February 1893", or similar.
Not keen on "premiere" as an intransitive verb. Not familiar in British usage. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Tickets for the first night were thirty times the usual price"
Consider: "Tickets prices for the first night reached thirty times the usual price", or similar.
The shorter version seems better to me. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Critics from all over Europe were present, together with royalty, aristocracy and leading figures from the arts."
It seems a bit odd to mention critics before royalty, aristocracy and leading figures from the arts. Consider: "Royalty, aristocracy and leading figures from the arts joined critics from all over Europe at the performance", or similar.
I suppose it was putting the cognoscenti before the Establishment, but I don't mind re-ordering. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "The performance was a huge success; numbers were encored, and at the end the applause for Verdi and the cast lasted an hour."
Do multiple sources agree on the amount of time that the encore lasted, because an hour seems a bit dubious—I've seen 10-15 minutes of applause at the end of shows that seemed like an eternity.
Pretty solidly backed up by the sources. He had to take more than thirty curtain calls, which at two minutes each time to get the curtain up, give him time to bow, and then get the curtain down again seems about right from the arithmetical point of view. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "For some of these he altered his manuscript, but for others musicologists have had to rely on the numerous full and piano scores put out by his publisher, Ricordi."
Maybe its just me, but this seems a bit confused.
I'll ponder and clarify if possible. When he made a change to the orchestral or vocal parts during rehearsals or later he usually amended his own manuscript score, but sometimes forgot. His publishers were vigilant and did what they could to incorporate all his running changes in the published version, but in the circumstances it is not surprising that the published scores don't always match the manuscript score.
  • "Ricordi attempted to keep up with the changes, issuing new edition after new edition"
"issuing new edition after new edition" is redundant; consider: "issuing several new editions", or similar.
  • "the orchestral and piano scores were often mutually contradictory."
What does mutually contradictory mean?
That one contradicted the other and vice versa.
Neglect
  • "He was appointed musical director of La Scala in 1898, and programmed Falstaff from the start of his tenure."
There is a comma separating the two verbs in a compound predicate.
Redrawn
Renascence
  • "who were was among his répétiteurs at Salzburg. "
    • Good grief! Amended. Thank you. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Leonard Bernstein conducted the work at the Met and the Vienna State Opera, and on record."
Consider: "Leonard Bernstein conducted the work at the Met, the Vienna State Opera and on record."
The prepositions are clearer in the existing version I think.
Act I
  • "To Ford's disapproval, Fenton is in love with Nannetta. Finding a moment to be alone, Fenton and Nannetta exchange lovers' banter."
It might be better to avoid naming then renaming Fenton and Nannetta in such close proximity. Consider: "To Ford's disapproval, Fenton is in love with Nannetta, and the pair exchange lovers' banter during a private moment together", or similar.
  • "In these two identical letters, Falstaff professes his love for each of the women, although it is really their husbands' money that he covets."
Unless contained in quoted material, I avoid using really as an unencyclopedic substitute for in actuality. Consider: "Although Falstaff professes his love for each of the women in these two identical letters, he is primarily interested in their husbands' money", or similar unless this changes the meaning that I'm missing.
  • "They are furious about them and in conjunction with Mistress Quickly and Nannetta Ford, resolve to punish the knight."
Except for a mention in Roles, I'm not sure that its clear here that Falstaff is a knight or that he is fat. It might be good to add a touch more background to this section, but maybe I'm just unfamiliar with the conventions.
All Act I comments dealt with. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Act II
  • "Engraving by Ettore Tito of act 2, scene 2, from the original production."
The first line of the image caption is an incomplete sentence, which I think is fine as long as it doesn't end with a terminal punctuation. Maybe the following sentence demands it; I'm not sure. Also, "Ford and the servants creeps towards Fenton and Nannetta", maybe its a matter of Engvar, but should creeps be plural here?
  • "They think that they will at last catch Falstaff with Alice, but instead find Fenton, who is ordered by Ford to leave."
1) "They think that they" is jarring; smoothen this out. 2) I think "ordered by Ford" contains a squinting modifier; consider: "whom Ford orders to leave", or similar.
  • "the women declare that that will not happen."
While this is technically correct I wonder it its not unnecessarily jarring to many readers.
  • "Mistress Quickly announces Falstaff's arrival, Mistress Ford has a large hamper and a screen placed in readiness."
Comma splice.
All Act II comments dealt with. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Act III
  • "Nannetta will be disguised as Queen of the Fairies, Caius will wear a monk's costume"
Comma splice.
That's all right as the second of three on the list, with an "and" before the third.
Music
  • "There are orchestral bits which are just as funny to listen to as the comic instrumental bits"
This non-restrictive phrase should have a preceding comma.
I am loth to alter a quote, and i.m.o. it's a defining phrase in any case (i.e. there are bits that are funny as opposed to bits that are not.)
  • "and Die Meistersinger which is an outstanding Wagnerian opera."
Ibid.
I'll check the source. I'm pretty certain this a translation from Toscanini's original Italian, and so a little silent help with the punctuation is justifiable.
  • "In critical analyses of the opera the extent to which Falstaff is a "Shakespearian" opera has often been debated."
This seems fragmented; smoothen it out.
Yes. Done. Tim riley (talk) 09:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

... In progressCompleted. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 21:51, 2 March 2014 (UTC). GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:00, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

You have devoted much care to these very detailed comments and I am enormously grateful. I look forward to more when you have time and inclination. Tim riley (talk) 16:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad that a few of my suggestions rang true. I'll continue my review shortly. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
A few? A few?. A lot. More please. Tim riley (talk) 19:08, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Dr. Blofeld 19:19, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Comments by Wehwalt[edit]

Sorry to be late to the ball. A noble effort. I'm working somewhat slowly on this, here are a few initial comments and I'll move forward from there:
Lede
  • "round the world". This troubles me slightly, would not "around the world" be better. I have no great objections to informalities but I don't see what's to be gained from it.
    • Amended. It hadn't occurred to me that it was an informality. Perhaps it's a matter of US/UK usage. Tim riley (talk) 10:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Conception
  • Can a date be assigned to Rossini's comment? I also notice you use "said", back to back. At least one should be changed. Some reviewers don't like the word to be used instead of "stated" or synonym.
    • Changed one "said" to "commented". I haven't seen a date for Rossini's remark. It was quoted in the memoirs of the sculptor Giovanni Dupré in 1879. Verdi saw the remark when Ricordis published excerpts from Dupré's book in their house magazine later in 1879. He got v. huffy about it and Ricordi had to soothe him. Tim riley (talk) 10:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "privately worked", perhaps make it clearer Verdi was not told.
  • "many earlier composers had" strike "earlier" as redundant.
  • "The house is now a museum, and the volumes remain there." This brief journey to the present should perhaps be made into a footnote.
  • Did Boito work from the English, or from an Italian translation if so whose?--Wehwalt (talk) 05:19, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
    • I don't think I've seen mention one way or another, but it's a very good point and I'll put it on my list for a rummage at the British Library. Tim riley (talk) 10:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Thank you very much for these points. I look forward to more in due course, but I'm conscious of your poor arm and I don't want you to hurry with further comments. There is no rush whatever. Tim riley (talk) 10:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Thank you but if I don't do all of these I will get hopelessly behind, and thanks for your good wishes. I am able to type without difficulty, and my doctor assured me I will be able to play the piano, assuming breaking one's arm grants one the ability. Onward with the few remaining:
  • Resuming
Is there space someplace for a brief introduction to who Falstaff is, what plays he appears in (or his death referred to in), and that The Merry Wives of Windsor was (if I recall correctly) written because of the popularity of the character in Henry IV. A paragraph, perhaps.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:06, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Very good idea. I've written a paragraph on this. It runs to more than 200 words, and so I have put it in the footnotes. Tim riley (talk) 11:18, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Composition
  • "and when you touch it, it burns" Boito complained" drawing your attention here for the need of possible punctuation after "burns".
  • "Eventually Maurel became compliant enough to be cast." Since we do not know that Maurel's demands were actually unreasonable, rather than regarded as such by Verdi, perhaps simply note the two men reached an agreement.
  • "but that he retained control over every aspect of the production." Shouldn't the verb be "would retain control"?
  • I understand you want to finish with the quote. However, the lead-in is very long. Perhaps shorten "describes various aspects of how he portrayed the characters Nannetta and Fenton in his libretto" to "describes his portrayal of Nannetta and Fenton"
Premieres
  • "Tickets for the first night were thirty times the usual price." From the box office or from touts?
    • Those were the official prices; heaven knows what the touts were getting for them. Clarified in text. Tim riley (talk) 11:18, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "The first performance abroad was in Vienna, on 21 May 1893." You had two paragraphs earlier listed "Trieste" before Vienna in the list of places they took the opera too. At that time, Trieste was part of the Austria-Hungary Empire.
Music
  • I'm not fully understanding the Meistersinger bit. Do you mean in writing a comedy? Because Verdi had certainly written Aida since Meistersinger debuted. Can you clarify? And does this late style include Otello? If so, that should probably be alluded to.
    • Yes, comedies. Clarified. Tim riley (talk) 11:18, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Well done.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:06, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you very much, Wehwalt, for your suggestions. Some distinct improvements made as a result. Tim riley (talk) 11:18, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this remarkably thorough peer review. Now closing. Tim riley (talk) 12:04, 7 March 2014 (UTC)