The plays of Shakespeare inspired Verdi’s deepest resources. Macbeth (1847) was one of the composer’s earliest operatic-dramatic triumphs and Otello (1887) was among his latest. At the end of his life Verdi astonished a public accustomed to his tragic fervor with Falstaff, a gem of pure comedy.
Verdi’s last great work premiered in the composer’s 80th year. This reproduction of the complete and unabridged score brings the final proof of the maestro’s universality to the many students, musicians, and opera lovers who would see for themselves the summation of Verdi’s brilliant orchestral and compositional powers. Ricordi was Verdi’s original publisher; this reprint of his edition contains the standard, definitive score and includes English translations of the original front matter. Falstaff benefits from Verdi’s understanding of Wagner and other operatic innovators. Nevertheless, between its concise but forceful orchestration and its copious melodic invention, it remains singularly Verdian. Its wit astonishes as much today as it did in 1893.