Embrace love and laughter in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ joyful take on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor.
Vaughan Williams wasn’t trying to outdo Verdi (who’d written an opera about Shakespeare’s comic character) when he wrote Sir John in Love.
He had a very different vision for his Falstaff.
In his music he manages to bring the loveable old rogue to life with all the warmth, humour, cheekiness and gentle melancholy of the original play.
The story is all twists and turns, mistaken identities and dastardly schemes as Falstaff tries to have his cake and eat it.
Vaughan Williams wrote his own libretto, sticking closely to the language of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor and weaving in English folk songs along the way.
The setting of Greensleeves in Act 3 is some of Vaughan Williams’ most loved music.
Featuring the composer’s trademark rich harmonies, expressive rhythms and gift for beautiful sentimentality, this is a journey into a glorious, idealised old England.
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