Sir John Falstaff is an anarchist who obeys only the reign of his own enjoyment, an egoist who feeds only his power-hunger and his own flesh, and who would prefer to raze the small-minded morals of his contemporaries like the walls of a fortress by seducing two women at the same time. Needless to say, his plan is thwarted, but those trying to expose him also fail to emerge unruffled from the confusion they unleash around him which only the audience can keep track of, and even that barely. Tutto nel mondo burla, but these jokes are only funny because falling into the abyss actually does pose quite a serious risk. Arrigo Boito, the librettist of Otello, distilled a sophisticated, ingenious libretto from Shakespeare The Merry Wives of Windsor, driving Verdi to highly complex compositional heights. This performance is by Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg.