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Giuseppe Verdi

Falstaff

Librettist: Arrigo Boito
Based on The Merry Wives of Windsor and King Henry IV
as translated by Giulio Carcano (Italian) and Victor Hugo (French).

Cast of Characters
(in order of vocal appearance)

  • Falstaff, (baritone) a down and out Knight
  • Alice Ford, (soprano) Ford's wife
  • Nannetta, (soprano) her daughter
  • Meg Page, (mezzo-soprano) her neighbor
  • Dame Quickly, (mezzo-soprano) another neighbor
  • Fenton, (tenor) Nannetta's suitor
  • Ford, (baritone) Wealthy Burgher
  • Bardolfo, (tenor) one of Falstaff's cronies
  • Pistola, (bass) another of Falstaff's cronies
  • Dr. Caius, (tenor) French Professor
  • Innkeeper, townspeople, servants, pages and maskers.

Setting

Windsor, England; during the reign of Henry IV in the early 15th Century.

Premiere

9th February, 1893; La Scala, Milan.

Plot

Sir John Falstaff is running out of money and looking for a quick fix. He sets his sights on Alice Ford and Meg Page. He writes letters to each and asks for a date. Alice and Meg receive the letters and discover them to be from the same author. Ford becomes involved when he assumes a disguise and visits Falstaff. Everyone plots to gain something from the action. Falstaff – the wealth of Ford; Ford – his wife's infidelity; and Alice – to teach her jealous husband and womanizing Falstaff a lesson or two.

Copyright © 1996, Stephen L. Parker

Trumpet