“For forty years I have wanted to write a comic opera”. When Verdi wrote these words in 1890, he had already bid farewell to the stage not once but twice, with Aida and with Otello. Fifty years earlier, he had tried his hand at opera buffa with Un giorno de regno. The piece was a flop and, since his wife died during its composition, the failure left him highly embittered. Was it the desire to ward off the ill fortune that appeared in so many of his operas that made him take up his pen again one last time? Or was it the shadow of Shakespeare? Or perhaps the libretto written by the talented Boito, inspired by Henry IV and The Merry Wives of Windsor, overcame his reluctance?“I am having fun…” Verdi repeated continually when composing Falstaff. The composer views the escapades of the old penniless and pot-bellied knight, who wants to deceive the wives and ends up routed, in a dirty washing basket and tossed into the river Thames, with the clear-sighted, distant and mischievous gaze we recognise from his later photographs. At the age of eighty, his composing was leisurely and liberated from the rules. Arias, duets and ensembles merge together in the same musical movement, continuous and boisterous, making Falstaff an unsurpassed operatic comedy that, a century later, continues to give us the gift of joyous laughter.