Nicolai's 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' From Belgium

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Nicolai's 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' from the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Belgium.

Of the successful Shakespeare-based operas, this gem is often overlooked. Using the same story that later inspired Verdi's "Falstaff," Otto Nicolai's colorful score for "The Merry Wives of Windsor" combines the sparkle of Italian opera with the budding style of German romanticism.

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents "The Merry Wives of Windsor" from the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège, Belgium, starring bass Franz Hawlata as Falstaff, along with soprano Anneke Luyten and mezzo-soprano Sabina Willeit as Alice Ford and Meg Page — the Merry Wives — in a production led by conductor Christian Zacharias.

Sir John Falstaff: Franz Hawlata (bass)
Alice Ford: Anneke Luyten (soprano)
Meg Page: Sabina Willeit (mezzo-soprano)
Fenton: Davide Giusti (tenor)
Anne Page: Sophie Junker (soprano)
Mr. Ford: Werner Van Mechelen (baritone)
Mr. Page: Laurent Kubla (bass)
Slender: Stefan Cifolelli (tenor)
Dr. Caius: Patrick Delcour (bass)

Liège Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
Christian Zacharias, conductor