Falstaff 2016/17 025 © Herwig Prammer

Opera comica in two acts (1799)              

Music by Antonio Salieri                

Libretto by Carlo Prospero Defranceschi

based on the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597) by William Shakespeare.

In Italian with German surtitles

Production of Theater an der Wien

Premiere: Wednesday, 12 October 2016, 7 pm until 10 pm (Intermission: 8.25 pm)

Performances: 14 / 16 / 19 / 21 / 23 October 2016, 7 pm





200 years after Shakespeare, 100 years before Verdi, 217 years before today: Salieri's opera Falstaff, ossia Le tre burle to a text by Carlo Prospero De Franceschi and based on Shakespeare's Elizabethan comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor premiered at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna on 3 January 1799. Antonio Salieri, born in 1750 in Legnano near Verona, moved to Vienna as a young conductor where he quickly became a protégé of Christoph Willibald Gluck. Barely over the age of twenty, Salieri managed to establish himself at the Vienna court as a successful composer of opera. By composing in various genres of theatrical music he quickly acquired the ability to express himself more trenchantly and directly than almost any other Italian composer of his day.


Sex and crime in Windsor: adultery, jealousy. Two identical love letters cause a scandal at a society reception given by Mr and Mrs Slender. Even the Queen herself is not amused. Completely overestimating his attractiveness to women, Falstaff, a corpulent drinker and swindler, is pursuing two ladies at the same time with a view to cheating them out of their money. The wives of Windsor join forces and take the opportunity to convince their husbands that the accusations of adultery levelled against them are unfounded. Posing as a German lady, Mistress Ford praises Falstaff's irresistible charm. Mr Ford feigns raging jealousy to expose Falstaff's scheme until he learns that his wife has arranged to meet him. Mr Slender believes that his wife has already been unfaithful to him. The dream of love and devotion temporarily turns into a nightmare that brings the protagonists to the brink of disaster. In the end, the husbands and wives confess their carefully planned plots to each other and together they plan a night-time adventure as a further humiliation. Falstaff exposes the men and women of high society as victims and desperately comical puppets of their own libido and jealousy and ultimately becomes the tragic hero and scapegoat of a bigoted society.




René Jacobs


Torsten Fischer

Set & costume design

Herbert Schäfer und Vasilis Triantafilopoulos

Light design

Torsten Fischer und Ralf Sternberg


Herbert Schäfer


Pavel Strasil

Sir John Falstaff

Christoph Pohl

Mrs Alice Ford

Anett Fritsch

Mr Ford

Maxim Mironov

Mrs Slender

Alex Penda

Mr Slender

Arttu Kataja


Mirella Hagen


Robert Gleadow


Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin


Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Ltg. Erwin Ortner)


Photos Gallery

Falstaff 2016/17

Premiere: October 12th, 2016
Director: Torsten Fischer
Conductor: René Jacobs
New production of the Theater an der Wien
Photos: © Herwig Prammer