Falstaff is an opera in three acts by the Italian composer Giuseppe
Verdi. The libretto was adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeare’s The
Merry Wives of Windsor and scenes from Henry IV, parts 1 and 2. The work
premiered on 9 February 1893 at La Scala, Milan. Falstaff was the last
of Verdi’s 28 operas, his second comedy, and his third work based on a
Shakespeare play, following Macbeth and Otello. The plot revolves around
the thwarted, sometimes farcical, efforts of the fat knight, Sir John
Falstaff, to seduce two married women to gain access to their husbands’
wealth. The premiere was greeted with enormous enthusiasm, but after the
initial performances the work fell into neglect: many operagoers felt
that it lacked the full-blooded melodies of the best of Verdi’s previous
operas. The conductor Arturo Toscanini strongly disagreed, and insisted
on its revival at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York from
the late 1890s into the next century. The work is now part of the
regular operatic repertory. Singers closely associated with the title
role have included Victor Maurel (the first Falstaff), Mariano Stabile,
Giuseppe Valdengo, Tito Gobbi, Geraint Evans and Bryn Terfel.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Having been pardoned by the regent Eudokia Makrembolitissa for
attempting to usurp the throne, Romanos IV Diogenes married her to
become Byzantine emperor.
The Times, the first newspaper of that name, began publication
in London as The Daily Universal Register.
Lachlan Macquarie became Governor of New South Wales,
eventually playing a major role in the shaping of the social, economic
and architectural development of the colony in Australia.
Second World War: The German Luftwaffe launched Operation
Bodenplatte in an attempt to cripple Allied air forces in the Low
A nightclub fire in Bangkok, Thailand, killed 66 patrons
celebrating the new year.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
Not adroit; awkward, clumsy, inept.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
I believe in aristocracy … — if that is the right word, and if
a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and
influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the
plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all
through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when
they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent
victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them
perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for
others as well as for themselves, they are considerate without being
fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they
can take a joke.
–E. M. Forster
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