Giuseppe Verdi

28 September - 18 November 2023

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Merry wives and mischief

Join Shakespeare’s beloved rogue in this irreverent comedy that will have you rolling with laughter. Falstaff may be down on his luck, but he still thinks he’s the most charming man in Windsor. When he targets two wealthy wives he believes he’s hit the jackpot, but these women are no pushovers and they concoct a plan to teach Falstaff a lesson he’ll never forget…

Verdi’s score bursts with energy and wicked humour, finishing with a famous fugue finale. With its unforgettable characters and unexpected twists, this new production promises to be a riot!

“charmingly retro”
★★★★★ — The Arts Desk

“wonderfully articulated and crisply sung”
★★★★ — The Telegraph

“it sparkles… outstandingly vibrant, witty and detailed playing”
★★★★ — The Times

“its carbon footprint might be small, but this Falstaff has a huge smile on its face”
★★★★ — The Guardian

Part of our Green Season.

Supported by the Falstaff Circle.

From £16*

Running time
Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes including one interval

Sung in English with English titles

Audio described, signed and relaxed performances

Content guidance
Contains depictions of drug and alcohol misuse and mild bad language

Save with…
Season Ticket Packages
Under 30s membership
New to opera discounts

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.


Now open from Tuesday to Saturday, Kino is our restaurant and bar located in Leeds on New Briggate, presenting the best independent food, wine and beer.

For pre-show dining we recommend booking no later than 90 minutes before the start of the performance.


Scene I: Sir John Falstaff is drinking with his servants Bardolph and Pistol when Dr Caius bursts in him and accuses him of theft. Falstaff laughs it off, but when Caius has gone, admits that he is seriously short of cash, so has hatched an (absurd) plan to seduce the wives of two wealthy men — Alice Ford and Meg Page — to get his hands on some money. He has written them both a love letter, and tasks Bardolph and Pistol with delivering them.  

Scene II: At the Ford house, Alice and Meg have received Falstaff’s love letters. They compare them and see that they are identical. Together with governess Mistress Quickly and Alice’s daughter Nannetta, they decide to teach Falstaff a lesson, and plot to send him an ‘invitation’ from Alice via Mistress Quickly… 

Meanwhile, Bardolph and Pistol warn Ford of Falstaff’s plan of seduction, and Ford decides to visit Falstaff in disguise to set a trap for him. 

Scene I: Mistress Quickly visits Falstaff and tells him that Alice will be alone at home from two o’clock until three o’clock for an rendezvous.  

After she leaves, Ford arrives in disguise as a stranger and confides his own (fictional) failed attempts to seduce Alice. Falstaff boasts that in half an hour’s time, Alice will be his, explaining he already has a secret meeting with her himself. Ford – not knowing of the ladies’ plan – is upset and jealous, but hides his feelings.  

Scene II: Back at the Ford’s, Quickly reports that Falstaff has accepted Alice’s invitation. Nannetta is unhappy because Ford is forcing her to marry old Dr Caius, but Alice, Meg and Quickly promise to prevent it so she can marry he true love, Fenton.  

Alice is then left alone to receive Falstaff who tries to impress her with tales from his youth. Meg interrupts, panicking as Ford has returned home unexpectedly. They urge Falstaff to hide in a big laundry basket. Ford, convinced that his wife has betrayed him, searches the house. Instead of Alice and Falstaff, he finds Fenton and Nannetta together! Alice orders the servants to dump the laundry basket – with its contents – into the Thames.  

Scene I: A cold and soggy Falstaff consoles himself with wine. Mistress Quickly arrives with a new invitation: Alice will meet Falstaff at the great tree in Windsor Park at midnight, where he must be disguised as the ghost of Herne the Hunter. Alice then enters to plan the midnight masquerade, assigning disguises to all.  

Ford is plotting too – he secretly tells Caius to dress as a monk, and he will marry him to Nannetta, but Mistress Quickly overhears. 

Scene II: In Windsor Park, Fenton meets Nannetta, who is disguised as Queen of the Fairies. Alice enters with a monk’s habit for Fenton to wear. Falstaff arrives as midnight chimes and Alice joins him, but he is terrified by all kinds of ‘supernatural creatures’ (the others in disguise) who torment him. Eventually everyone unmasks, except two veiled couples who step up to be married. Ford performs a double wedding, but when the couples are unveiled, he realises he has unwittingly married Nannetta to Fenton. Falstaff, pleased to find himself not the only dupe, proclaims that we are all figures of fun.  


British Sign Language Introduction

Audio Introduction

This audio introduction gives detailed information about the story, the sets and costumes, the cast list, and the dates and venues of the performances.

It is to aid customers who are blind or partially sighted. Please note, the story and the details of the sets and costumes contain spoilers, so avoid them if you would prefer not to know what happens!

A large print transcript of the audio introduction is available to download.

Cast & creative

A man with a beard wearing a shirt.
Henry Waddington


A woman with shoulder length dark hair.
Kate Royal

Alice Ford

Helen Évora

Meg Page

A woman with dark hair and freckles.
Isabelle Peters


A man wearing a shirt with long dark hair.
Egor Zhuravskii


A bald man with a goatee.
Richard Burkhard


A woman with shoulder length hair smiling.
Louise Winter

Mistress Quickly

Paul Nilon
Paul Nilon

Dr Caius

A man wearing a shirt with short hair.
Colin Judson


Dean Robinson


Image of conductor Garry Walker
Garry Walker

Conductor (EXC. 18 NOV)

Martin Pickard

Conductor (18 NOV)

A woman with blonde hair.
Olivia Fuchs


Leslie Travers

Set Designer

Gabrielle Dalton

Costume Designer

A woman wearing a fleece with her hair tied in a pony tail.
Paule Constable

Lighting Designer

A man with short hair and stubble.
Ben Pickersgill

Lighting Designer

A woman with long curly hair.
Lauren Poulton

Movement Director


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