Frau Fluth and Frau Reich compare two dubious-looking love letters – both with identical wording, and both signed by Sir John Falstaff, an ageing bon vivant not only seeking a dalliance but, secretly, also eying off the two women’s considerable fortunes. This proves to be a very misguided idea indeed, for Frau Fluth and Frau Reich have a whole host of revenge acts up their sleeve – acts from which virtually no one is spared. Jealous husbands, bogus brides and shady sons-in-law all get involved, before the smug suitor is ultimately dealt his punishment with relish as the intrigue reaches its climax.
In his score for Shakespeare’s work, Otto Nicolai artistically combines the ardency of German Romanticism with the melodious richness of Italian opera. His ability to create a sense of irony through music is perpetuated by director Noa Naamat, who explores the characters’ interpersonal fault lines, discusses the notion of shifting gender roles and, above all, focuses on the comedic nature of the acts performed by the two female protagonists.