Verdi finished his sublime final opera when he was almost 80 years old, capping a fruitful career with a bawdy adaptation of scenes from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV. His classic operatic farce charts a knight’s gold-digging efforts to seduce two married women, leading to belly-flopping failure on both counts. The score, meanwhile, is a complete tour de force, demonstrating the old master’s still-youthful panache, as well as his profound insight into human nature.
Verdi’s comic masterpiece stars Paul Plishka in the title role. The 1992 telecast also features legendary Met artists Mirella Freni and Marilyn Horne, alongside Barbara Bonney, Susan Graham, and Bruno Pola.