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Written in 1841, Nicolai’s delightful interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor was an important contribution to early German romantic opera. Merry wives Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page teach the lecherous knight, Sir John Falstaff, a much-deserved lesson after they each receive identical letters from him proposing illicit affairs. While the ladies scramble to trap Falstaff and prove their fidelity to their jealous husbands, the Page’s daughter Anne tries to thwart her parents’ plans to marry her off to rich, ridiculous suitors, rather than her beloved, Fenton. Finally, the entire community comes together to scare Falstaff straight during a midnight rendezvous in Windsor Woods. Sparkling orchestration, soaring arias, delightful characters, and hilarious situations abound in this charming opera.
Sung in German with English supertitles.