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The character of Sir John Falstaff – a vain, corpulent and cowardly knight - appears in Shakespeare’s two 'Henry IV' plays and 'The Merry Wives of Windsor'. Falstaff has also inspired a number of great classical works.
The 79-year old Verdi was persuaded out of retirement by the librettist Boito to compose his 28th and final opera, based on 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' and scenes from 'Henry IV', parts 1 and 2. In it the vain old knight attempts to seduce two married women for purely mercenary reasons. Pictured are Yvonne Kenny and Stephen Richardson in a 2006 production at the Sydney Opera House.
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