back to news April 23, 2012

School of Music Stages 'Falstaff'

The School of Music will stage Falstaff, Giuseppe Verdi’s comic masterpiece, on May 4 at 8 pm and May 6 at 3 pm in Mershon Auditorium. The opera, sung in Italian with English supertitles, will feature a cast of undergraduate and graduate students from the school’s opera program, and welcomes guest artist Todd Thomas as Falstaff. Guest director is A. Scott Parry, a stage director from New York City.

The three-act opera – Verdi’s last – is adapted from Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor as well as scenes from Henry IV. Long a favorite of audiences and performers, the production includes brilliant orchestration, witty libretto and refined melodic invention. Music director Marshall Haddock will conduct the Ohio State Symphony Orchestra for each performance.

“We have brought together a team of artists from across campus and beyond to give the students in the opera program an opportunity to work with professionals in the field on perhaps the greatest operatic comic masterpiece ever composed,” said Patrick Woliver, associate professor of voice and opera. “This ensemble of students surrounds Todd Thomas as Falstaff, and brings magic to Verdi’s adaptation of the Bard’s ‘horny, fat old knight.’”

He added that stage director Scott Parry always has “something special up his sleeve. And Verdi’s brilliant orchestration is an opportunity for the student musicians to shine under the baton of Maestro Haddock.”

Falstaff focuses on the antics of Sir John Falstaff, a portly, old rascal of Windsor who, being short of drinking funds, writes love letters to two wealthy married women. Discovering his trickery, the women decide to teach Falstaff a lesson.

“The comedic characters provided by Shakespeare are wonderfully drawn in Verdi’s musical setting and provide a chance for each performer to step forward and shine. . . and the students are attacking their roles with gusto!” said Parry. “This opera is an energetic tour de force that, like the ignited fuse on a stick of dynamite, never stops moving to its bombastic conclusion. The audience can expect this quicksilver pace to keep them on the edge of their seats.”

Tickets are $15 reserved seating and $8 senior citizens and students. Tickets are available at or the Wexner Center Ticket Office (614) 292-3535.

The School of Music's production of Falstaff is part of the Year of Shakespeare organized by the OSU/Royal Shakespeare Company Program, with partners across the university including the Arts Initiative, the Wexner Center for the Arts, OSU Libraries, Departments of English and Theatre, and School of Teaching and Learning. For further details see