The libretto (plot) is the substance of Shakespeare's comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor. A trio of beautiful, and now revengeful ladies see Sir John Falstaff for what he is: an old, ... See full summary »



(libretto), (plays)


Cast overview:
Renato Bruson ...
Leo Nucci ...
Dalmacio Gonzalez ...
Michael Sells ...
Francis Egerton ...
William Wildermann ...
Katia Ricciarelli ...
Barbara Hendricks ...
Brenda Boozer ...
Lucia Valentini-Terrani ...
Mrs. Quickley


The libretto (plot) is the substance of Shakespeare's comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor. A trio of beautiful, and now revengeful ladies see Sir John Falstaff for what he is: an old, conceited, drunken fool. The women discover (literally comparing notes) very unsavory aspects of Falstaff's bloated personality. They (and others) set out to make a fool of this conceited womanizing hedonist, who counts with more than those three enemies in town. Written by carioca-6

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Comedy | Music





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A great cast in a fine production
18 July 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As much as I like the 1999 production with Bryn Terfel, I do prefer this one from 1982. One major reason is Carlo Maria Giulini's conducting which is very musical and restrained yet also passionate. The orchestra are also magnificent, with a rich vibrant sound.

The costumes and sets are appealing, likewise with the lighting, while the sound and picture quality are first rate, and while he has done better work before and since Brian Large does an exemplary job with the video directing especially in Act 2 Scene 2.

The staging is conservative yet inspired (with neither Ford or Falstaff doing their imitation of Alice which can be rather vulgar for some), perhaps rather pedantic and square at first, but once the story gets going it gets wittier.

The story is always entertaining, the characters likable and compelling my favourites in this case being Nanetta and Falstaff and the music, while I don't put Falstaff as a whole in my top 5 of Verdi's best operas despite being his final masterpiece, is fantastic.

The distinguished cast in this production prove themselves to be very great here. My personal favourite here is Barbara Hendricks' sparkling Nanetta(her rendition of the Fairy Queen's song is a joy), but I also loved Brenda Boozer's Meg Page, who was very beautiful, extravagant and witty. Katia Ricciarelli excels also as Alice Ford, and the late Lucia Valentini-Terrani's Mistress Quickly is excellently projected vocally.

Leo Nucci is perfect as the blustering yet also quite poised(here that is) Ford as well. Dalmacio Gonzalez is young and handsome, and he does look the part of Fenton and sings beautifully, if not quite commanding the stage as he could've done, while Bardolph is a little too clownish at times for my tastes. Renato Bruson, one of my favourite new-found singing-actors is a superb Falstaff, he is a fine actor with wit, charm, charisma yet he is also nuanced and debonair and I can't praise enough his excellent technique and rich velvety voice.

In conclusion, a great cast, an excellent conductor and a fine production. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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