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by Giuseppe Verdi


  • Falstaff, Baritone, a down and out Knight - Jose Eduardo Andrade (see biography)
  • Alice Ford, Soprano, Ford's wife - Eve Edwards (see biography)
  • Nannetta, Soprano, her daughter - Delia Zielinski (see biography),
  • Meg Page, Mezzo-Soprano, her neighbor - Kathryn Rictor (see biography)
  • Fenton, Tenor, Nannetta's suitor - William Edward Clark (see biography)
  • Bardolfo, Tenor, one of Falstaff's cronies - Pat Sanders (see biography)
  • Pistola, Bass, another of Falstaff's cronies - Kirby Weimar (see biography)

Dates & Locations

  • Saturday June 2, 2007, 8 pm - Mt. Gretna Playhouse, Mt. Gretna, PA - Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students, Tickets will be available at the door, No credit cards please
  • Saturday June 16, 2007, 8 pm - First Baptist Church, 3375 Druck Valley Road, York, PA - Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students, Tickets will be available at the door, No credit cards please
  • Sunday June 17, 2007, 8 pm - Camp Hill United Methodist Church, 417 S. 22nd St. Camp Hill, PA - Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students, Tickets will be available at the door, No credit cards please





Giuseppe Verdi’s opera FALSTAFF is based upon Shakespeare’s great comic character who appears in several of his plays, notably THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.

Elizabethan audiences loved this character and were “heartbroken” when Shakespeare included a report of the jolly, fat knight’s death in HENRY V. Whenever great comic characters in world theater are discussed, one may be certain that Falstaff will be one of those first mentioned—such has been his appeal over the centuries. Opera lovers may be very thankful that Arrigo Boito, a composer in his own right, approached the aging Verdi, who had determined that he would compose no more operas, with two brilliant librettos based upon Shakespeare plays—OTELLO and then Falstaff. Verdi was a life-long admirer of Shakespeare’s plays and even though plagued by ill health and advanced age, he could not resist the librettos. His opera OTELLO is something of a “miracle” in opera, but FALSTAFF is perhaps an even greater “miracle”! It is Verdi’s last opera, and it is a comic opera, written after a long list of tragic masterpieces. Hearing it one would think that it had been written by a composer in the full and happy bloom of youth at the height of his powers, not by an old man who never expected to live long enough to complete it!

Yet, this is a “new” Verdi who would seem to be at the height of his powers. The music bubbles with life and enthusiasm and perfectly characterizes the principal players and the situations in which they find themselves. It is a musical ode to life and love and happiness and joy!! No one can leave the theater after a performance of FALSTAFF without feeling that he or she has just participated in a celebration of life! Center Stage Opera will perform this masterpiece at three area locations in June, 2007.


Act I. Scene 1. An enraged Dr. Caius enters Falstaff’s room to accuse Pistol and Bardolph of getting him drunk and then stealing all his money. Both men assure Falstaff that Caius is lying and proceed to push him from the room. When Falstaff, who is in dire need of money, describes his plan to secure money from two wives of wealthy men, and instructs each man to deliver a letter, his two lowlife sidekicks refuse to help him in his “dishonorable” plans. In a fury, Falstaff summons a page to take the letters and then delivers a lengthy description of the true meaning of “honor,” after which he grabs a broom and chases the two men out of his room!

Scene 2. In the garden of Ford’s home, his wife and daughter, Alice and Nannetta, meet with their neighbors Meg Page and Dame Quickly. When Alice reveals to them that she has received a letter from Falstaff, Meg responds that she has also received a letter. When the two women read their letters aloud, everyone realizes that the words of both are exactly the same. They immediately set out to come up with a plan to punish Falstaff for daring such effrontery. In another part of the garden, Ford enters with Bardolph and Pistol (who have told Ford of Falstaff’s plan to seduce his wife), and Dr. Caius, and Fenton (a young man in love with Nannetta (but discouraged by Ford who wants his daughter to marry Dr. Caius.) The men have met to solidify their plan to punish Falstaff. Bardolph will introduce Ford to Falstaff as a certain Master Brook , a man of great wealth who will offer Falstaff gold to gain his confidence, and then expose him for the charlatan that he is.. The women return discussing their plan: Dame Quickly will visit Falstaff to arrange a rendezvous between Alice and him. They also have plans for what they will do to the fat knight during the rendezvous. At various times as the men and women make their plans, Nannetta and Fenton are able to steal brief moments of happiness together.

ACT II. Scene 1. At the Garter Inn, Pistol and Bardolph return to beg Falstaff to forgive them, which, of course, Falstaff does. Bardolph then announces Dame Quickly, who wishes a private word with Falstaff, who dismisses the two men. As planned and rehearsed, she tells Falstaff that Alice loved the letter and that she would be happy for him to visit her when her husband is away —between two and four every afternoon. Falstaff immediately accepts the invitation. Dame Quickly then tells him that Meg Page is also completely smitten with knight, but, sadly, her husband is rarely away from the house. Falstaff dismisses her , telling her to convey his respects to the two fortunate ladies. No sooner has she left than Bardolph announces Master Brook ( Ford’s disguise as part of the plan). Brook(Ford) describes himself as a man of wealth who will pay anything if Falstaff will seduce a certain Alice Ford. He almost weeps as he describes how much he loves her and how she continues to spurn him. When Falstaff asks Brook (Ford) why he would want him to seduce Alice, Brook (Ford) replies that if she would once yield to a man other than her husband she would surely yield to another suitor as well. Falstaff astounds Brook (Ford) when he tells him that he already has a meeting with Alice. He is certain that he will make a pathetic fool of her idiot husband, and he accepts the purse of gold offered by Brook (Ford). He exits to prepare himself to meet Alice. Left alone, Ford asks himself if he is dreaming or if all of this is real. He curses the faithlessness of women and his own trusting nature in trusting Alice too much. Falstaff returns, dressed in his best finery, and after debating who should go first, they compromise and leave together arm-in-arm.

Scene 2. In a room in Ford’s home, Dame Quickly entertains Alice and Meg by her meeting with Falstaff who may be expected at any moment. When Nannetta enters almost in tears, she tells them that her father has insisted that she marry Dr. Caius. The ladies calm her by telling her that that is a marriage that can never be. Dame Quickly, who has been watching at the door announces that Falstaff is coming. Alice sits in a chair pretending to read as the others exit. Falstaff enters and ardently professes his professes his love for her. When she makes a reference to his size, he replies that she should have seen him when he was a page to the Duke of Norfolk, both gallant and slender. They are interrupted by Dame Quickly who enters to tell Alice that Meg Page is rushing to see her. They hide Falstaff behind a screen just as Meg enters to tell Alice that her husband has learned that her lover is in the house and is on his way to catch them. Noise is heard outside, and Ford, Fenton, Bardolph, Pistol, and Dr. Caius rush in. He accuses Alice of hiding her lover, and he and the others leave to search the rest of the house.At this point the ladies bring the quaking Falstaff from behind the screen and stuff him into a laundry basket. Fenton returns alone, and he and Nannetta hide behind the screen.When the men return, Ford is furious at finding nothing. When first one and then another kiss is heard behind the screen, the men prepare to attack it. Moving the screen, they discover Nannetta and Fenton; Ford is furious with both of them for he has forbidden their seeing one another. The two lovers exit hurriedly. Alice whispers to Ford who then directs the other men to pick up the laundry basket and throw it out the window.When everyone knows what the basket contained, there is a unified cry of joy and laughter!!

ACT III. Scene 1. Outside the Garter Inn, Falstaff sits in a chair, wrapped in a blanket, with his feet in a tub of hot water, and a towel over his head. A tankard of wine sits on a table beside his chair. He calls to the innkeeper to bring more wine. He muses on what has happened to him, the treatment of a knight, a gentlemen, by cruel people in a cruel world. When the innkeeper brings another bottle of wine, Falstaff’s mood changes as he drinks. He ceases feeling sorry for himself to revel in the heart-warming effect of wine. When Dame Quickly enters with a note from Alice, he responds violently,cursing all those who have brought him to this downfall. However, Quickly assures him that Alice is innocent, that she still loves him, and that she wishes to meet him that night in Windsor Park. As he reads the note, Alice, Nannetta, Fenton, Ford, and Dr. Caius enter in the background, unseen by Falstaff. Quickly tells him that he is to come dressed as the Black Huntsman a man who hanged himself at a certain spot that is now considered haunted. Falstaff rises and tells Quickly to tell him the rest of the story inside the inn. They exit as Quickly continues the story and Alice picks up on it as she and the others enter. The group discusses plans for the coming evening, and Ford takes Dr. Caius aside to tell him to come dressed as a monk and to lead Nannetta to him so that he may bless their union.

Scene 2. At night in a clearing in Windsor Park, Fenton enters and sings a serenade that ends in a duet with Nannetta who is dressed in a white gown and veil as Queen of the Fairies. Alice enters and separates them, telling Fenton to put on the monk’s robe that she has brought so that Ford’s trickery will be turned against himself. Dame Quickly and Meg Page enter just as Alice gives warning that Falstaff is near. Dressed in a hunting outfit and wearing a pair of horns attached to his head, Falstaff enters cautiously.The distant bells chime midnight.When Alice enters, she warns that Meg is following her, but Falstaff assures her that two will be greater fun than one, that they can share him. Meg is heard screaming in the distance, and Nannetta enters calling to the fairies to come to her. Falstaff, having heard that looking upon fairies brings death , falls to the ground to hide. As Nannetta continues her song, she is joined by Alice, Meg, and Quickly. When Bardolph, Pistol, Ford, and Dr. Caius enter, Falstaff’s torment begins. With sticks they poke, and pinch, and beat him. Finally, when all have abused and insulted Falstaff, he is helped to his feet. Ford announces a wedding between the fairy queen and a monk (Bardolph and Dr. Caius). However Alice leads in another couple (Nannetta and Fenton) who also wish to be married, and Ford agrees,and the weddings take place. However, when the couples remove their masks, Ford and Dr. Caius are horrified. With the help of Alice, and with the help of the others, Ford, Falstaff, and Dr. Caius are brought to realize how foolish they have been. A magnificent fugue builds upon the familiar truth that all the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players, as the opera ends!!


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