Verdi’s glorious Shakespearean comedy features a brilliant ensemble cast in Robert Carsen’s celebrated staging. Baritone Michael Volle sings his first Verdi role at the Met as the caddish knight Falstaff, gleefully tormented by a trio of clever women who deliver his comeuppance. Reuniting after their acclaimed turns in the production’s 2019 run are soprano Ailyn Pérez as Alice Ford, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano as Meg Page, and contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux as Mistress Quickly. Soprano Hera Hyesang Park and tenor Bogdan Volkov are the young couple Nannetta and Fenton, and Maestro Daniele Rustioni conducts.
A co-production of the Metropolitan Opera; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London; Teatro alla Scala, Milan; the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto; and Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam
Production gifts of the Betsy and Ed Cohen/Areté Foundation Fund for New Productions & Revivals and Harry and Misook Doolittle
Additional funding from The Gilbert S. Kahn & John J. Noffo Kahn Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. William R. Miller
Languages sung in Falstaff
Title languages displayed for Falstaff
Met Titles In
Timeline for the show, Falstaff
Estimated Run Time
2 hrs 45 mins
Acts I & II
World Premiere: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 1893. A deeply human comedy full of humor and genuine emotion, Verdi’s last opera is a splendid finale to an unparalleled career in the theater. The story is an amalgamation of scenes from Shakespeare, primarily drawn from the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor. It centers on the remarkable personality of Sir John Falstaff, one of literature’s most compelling characters. With a supremely well-crafted score, which has long commanded the respect even of Verdi’s critics, it is an astounding work and among the greatest operatic comedies of all time.
In a remarkable career spanning six decades, Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) composed 28 operas, at least half of which are at the core of today’s repertoire. Falstaff was his final work for the stage. The remarkable librettist Arrigo Boito (1842–1918) was also a composer (his opera Mefistofele, based on Goethe’s Faust, premiered in 1868), as well as a journalist and critic.
Robert Carsen and Peter Van Praet
The opera is set in and around the town of Windsor, west of London, in the first decades of the 15th century. The current Met production places the action in mid-20th century England, after the Second World War—an era when long-established social norms were rapidly changing and the aristocracy lost much of their wealth and influence.
Falstaff marks a stylistic departure for Verdi and occupies a category of its own, without parallels in the history of the genre. The musical ideas come fast and abundantly, moving from one to the next organically and without discernible breaks. The orchestra carries the story and occasionally makes literal comments on the action. At other times, it represents the overall spirit of the proceedings, such as in the remarkable prelude to Act III, which contains all the sweeping crescendo of a Rossini overture in less than a minute.