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UBC Opera: The Merry Wives of Windsor

March 26, 2023 @ 2:00 pm

$20 – $45

Based on the play by William Shakespeare


Otto Nicolai | Composer
Salomon Hermann Mosenthal | Librettist

UBC Opera Ensemble
Norbert Baxa  | Conductor
Nancy Hermiston | Director
With Members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra

Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth I requested Shakespeare write a play showing the character of Falstaff in love, and the result is a story so perfect for the operatic stage it has been been the basis for no fewer than ten operas. Based on Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor is Otto Nicolai’s last and most famous opera, and is surely one of the most stellar adaptations (alongside the likes of his contemporary Verdi’s Falstaff). While Otto Nicolai may no longer command the same recognition as the likes of Verdi, his music is no less engaging, filled with delightful melodies, toe‑tapping rhythms, and clever harmonies to match the twists and turns of this light-hearted plot.

When down-on-his-luck nobleman Falstaff is discovered to be courting two married women at once, the ladies, Frau Fluth and Frau Reich, take it upon themselves to teach him a lesson. Their husbands, Herr Fluth and Herr Reich, are unwittingly drawn into this plot to ridicule Falstaff. Amidst the chaos, Frau Reich’s daughter Anna is fending off the suitors chosen by her parents while pursuing her penniless love, Fenton. Disguises and hijinks abound as these merry wives use all their cunning to corral Falstaff into the most unlikely of situations, greeted by suspicious husbands at every turn! As everyone assembles in Windsor Forest at night for a masked ball, all schemes are revealed, true love is honoured, and all reconcile and laugh in shared merriment.