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Verdi, G. (1813-1901)


Composed 1889-1890; revised 1893 and 1894.
First performed February 9, 1893.
Libretto by Arrigo Boito (in Itarian),
after Shakespeare.

A Summary of gFalstaffh

Act 1
During the reign of Henry IV (1399-1413), in the middle of England, Windsor, a fat elderly knight, Sir John Falstaff, drinks alcohol at the Garter Inn. But he does not have any money, so he wrote love letters to two rich married women, Alice and Meg. Alice and Meg know that both of them were given the same letter from Falstaff, and they both get very angry. In addition, Alicefs husband, Ford, also knows about Falstafffs letter, and he gets angry, too.

Act 2
When Ford is away from home, Alice invites Falstaff to her home. According to her plan, Meg suddenly appears to surprise him. But, Meg informs Alice that Ford is coming home soon.
Falstaff is surprised! Alice advises him that he should hide himself in the large laundry basket. When Falstaff hides himself in it, Alice orders her servants to throw the laundry basket out the window into the river. The women and Ford are satisfied when they see Falstaff soaking wet.

Act 3
There is another problem. Ford wants his daughter, Nannetta, to marry a doctor, Caius. But, Nannetta has a lover, Fenton.
Alice and Meg invite Falstaff to Windsor Great Park at midnight. Falstaff is pleased and goes there. But, he is surrounded by villagers disguised as fairies. Falstaff believes that any person who sees fairies is dead. When he lies himself down on the ground, all the people poke him to punish him.
And then, according to Fordfs plan, he attempts to announce to the villagers about the marriage of Nannetta to Dr. Caius. But, Alice, that is Nannettafs mother, interrupts his plan, and Nannetta can announce to everyone that she will marry her lover, Fenton. Ford also reluctantly accepts this.
Falstaff says, gTutto nel mondo e burla (Everything in the world is a joke)h and everyone starts laughing.

A Comment on gFalstaffh

This opera, gFalstaffh is Giuseppe Verdifs last opera. When he was 79 years old, the world premiere of this opera was held in Milano. When he was young, he continued to compose his operas for 10 hours a day. But, he composed gFalstaffh for 2 hours every day. Verdi said that he composed this opera for his enjoyment. This opera was completed as an outstanding comedy. Before that, Verdi composed a lot of tragedies. Due to the success of this opera, gFalstaff,h he could leave a totally different impression in people around the world.

Verdi likes the character of Falstaff best. He hung a picture of Falstaff on the wall in his room. Arrigo Boito who is the scriptwriter of Verdifs previous work, gOtello,h recommended Verdi to compose this opera based on Shakespearefs drama, gHenry IVh and gThe Merry Wives of Windsor.h Both Verdi and Falstaff were old. I think that after Verdi finished composing his last opera said, gEverything in the world is a joke,h just like Falstaff.

I heard Verdi began to compose this opera from the part of Fuga in the final act. One of the distinctive features of this opera is the precise ensemble.
At that time, Wagnerfs opera had great influence on opera composers all over the world. Though Verdi didnft recognise Wagnerfs opera, he changed his viewpoint of Wagnerfs opera in his later years. But, Verdi was never influenced by Wagner. Verdi accumulated his original opera composition techniques. Verdifs opera had significant influence on Italian operas. gFalstaffh is an Italian heritage.

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