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Antonio Salieri

Antonio Salieri’s setting of Falstaff, is an operatic version of Shakespeare’s play, The Merry Wives of Windsor. The knock about comedy of Shakespeare’s original – it is his only small-town drama – which has caused Shakespeareans to look down on the play are the very things that make for an excellent opera buffa. Central to both works is the scene in which Falstaff, hiding from Mr Ford in laundry basket, is carried out under his nose.

Conductor – Steven Devine
Director – Michael Burden
Repetiteurs – Jonathon Swinard, Benjamin Holder
Leader – Caroline Balding


Sir John Falstaff – Giles Underwood
Master Ford – Kevin Kyle
Mistress Ford – Rachel Shannon
Master Slender (6, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17) – Thomas Kennedy
Master Slender (9, 10) – George Coltart
Mistress Slender – Merryn Gamba
Bardolf, Falstaff’s servant (6, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17) – Thomas Kennedy
Bardolf, Falstaff’s servant (9, 10) – George Coltart
Betty, Mistress Ford’s maid – Kate Semmens

Cover Cast

Sir John Falstaff – Dominic Bowe
Master Ford (6, 9, 10, 16) – Nick Pritchard
Master Ford (12, 13, 15, 17) – William Blake
Mistress Ford – Robyn Parton
Master Slender – Tom Bennett
Mistress Slender – Esther Brazil
Bardolf, Falstaff’s servant – Tom Bennett
Betty, Mistress Ford’s maid – Julia Sitkovetsky

Act I
‘Sir’ John Falstaff arrives uninvited at a party given at Mr and Mrs Slender’s home in Windsor. He is broke, and sees the opportunity to replenish his resources and improve his lifestyle by wooing his hostess, Mrs Slender, and her friend, Mrs Ford, as a way to their husband’s fortunes.

Retiring to the Capricorn Inn, he writes identical love letters to both women. When they compare notes, they realise his game, and plot revenge. Mr Ford is now suspicious of his wife’s fidelity.

Mrs Ford then disguises herself as a German woman, and visits Falstaff. Following in her wake, her husband, planning to catch Falstaff and his wife in flagrante, calls disguised as a ‘Mr Brook’, and furthers Falstaff’s plan to call on his wife when ‘her husband’ is out.

When Falstaff calls on Mrs Ford, the first trick is played out. As Falstaff makes a play for Mrs Ford, they are interrupted by the maid, Betty, with the (false) news at Mr Ford is at the door. They tip Falstaff into a laundry basket to ‘hide’ him, intending to tip him into the Thames. To general consternation, Mr Ford then does arrive and orders a search of the house. However, the ‘laundry’ is removed under his nose, and the women are able to mock Ford for his apparently unfounded jealousy.

Act II
Although they came near to disaster, the ultimate success of their plan has spurred Mrs Ford and Mrs Slender to further exploits, and Betty visits Falstaff to set up another assignation. But ‘Mr Brook’ also visits and finds out the truth about the laundry basket…. this time, Falstaff’s overtures to Mrs Ford are again interrupted by the return of Mr Ford. To conceal Falstaff, he is disguised as the Ford’s cook’s old aunt, someone loathed by Mr Ford. When Ford arrives, he heads straight for the laundry basket; to find it empty! And takes his wrath out on the ‘aunt’ whom he beats out of the house.

Mrs Ford and Mrs Slender decide to call a halt, and to confess all to their husbands, and together, they decide on one last trick to settle the matter. ‘Mr Brook’ and the ‘German Lady’ again visit Falstaff; they finally make a ‘cuckold’ of him, by persuading him to dress as Herne the Hunter with horns, and to meet Mrs Ford at Herne’s oak in the Windsor Forrest. Mrs Ford and Mrs Slender meet Falstaff at the tree, flatter him, and then disappear. Falstaff, frightened, imagines he is bewitched, and is so panicked that he fails to spot Mrs Ford’s true identity when she then appears as the teasing ‘Queen of the Fairies’. In the end, Mrs Ford and Mrs Slender reveal their true identities, and make Falstaff promise that he will err no more.

Book Now

6 July – Download form here

7 July – Download form here

9 July – New College Old Members’ night – call (01865) 279337, or email [email protected]

10 July – The Art Fund – Call (01865) 553 912

12 July – Download form here; or, OXPIP – Call (01865) 778 034

13 July – Friends of the Oxford Botanic Gardens – (07722) 605 787, or [email protected]

15 July – New College Old Members’ night – call (01865) 279337, or email [email protected]

16 and 17 July – Friends of Welsh National Opera – (01865) 865 806

Michaelmas 2010 Recitals

Every Friday, New College Ante-chapel
1.15pm, £2/£1 concessions

Week 1, October 15: Nick Daly – baritone
Week 2, October 22: Lucy Cox – soprano
Week 3, October 29: Dominic Bowe – baritone
Week 4, November 5: David Lee – tenor
Week 5, November 12: Rachel McCarthy – mezzo
Week 6, November 19: Laura Nakhla – mezzo
Week 7, November 26: Sarah Noyce – soprano
Week 8, December 3: Ben Sheen – counter tenor

Summer Recital Series

Various dates, New College Ante-chapel
1.15pm, £2/£1 concessions

30th Henry Jones – counter tenor

7th Alex Pullinger – counter tenor
14th William Knight – tenor
21st Peter Harris – tenor
28th – Julia Sitkovetsky – soprano

4th Grace Newcombe – soprano
11th Nick Daly – bass
18th Omar El-Okdah – baritone.

Winter Recital Series

Various dates, New College Ante-chapel
1.15pm, £2/£1 concessions

22 Alex Vinall
29 Guy Cutting

5 Freya Hopper
12 Omar El-Okdah – CANCELLED
19 Aileen Thomson
26 Paola Cuffolo

5 Anna Schors
12 Rob Opoku

Giancarlo Menotti’s The Medium

Musical director: Nicholas Pritchard
Director: Michael Burden

4, 5 and 6 March 2010, New College Ante-chapel


Monica                 Anna Aspasia Sideris
Toby                 Krishna Omkar
Madame Flora         Amy Williamson
Mrs Gobineau         Julia Sitkovetsky
Mr Gobineau         George Coltart
Mrs. Nolan           Taya Smith

Director: Michael Burden
Musical director: Nicholas Pritchard
Repetiteurs: Jonathon Swinard, Benjamin Holder
Technicals: Stephen McGlynn


£10/£5 concessions
Oxford Playhouse Box Office
(01865) 305 305
on the door

Autumn Recital Series

October 16th – Anna Sideris, soprano

23rd – Lucy Matheson, soprano

30th – Genevieve Dawson, jazz alto

November 6th – James Potter, counter-tenor

13th – Elizabeth Burrowes, soprano

20th – Sam Glatman, bass

27th – Sarah Jenks, soprano

December 4th – Matthew Silverman, baritone


Francesco Cavalli

7 (Preview), 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18 July 2010

Also, 24 and 25 July 2010 at West Green House

For bookings please use the numbers below. For the 7th and 13th please download the forms.

Wednesday 7 – New Chamber Opera – Download form

Fridays 9 & 16 – New College Development Office – (01865) 279 337

Saturday 10 – Friends of the Bodleian Library – (01865) 277 234

Sunday 11 – The Art Fund – (01491) 641 259

Tuesday 13 – New Chamber Opera – Download form

Wednesday 14 – Friends of the Oxford Botanic Garden – (01844) 214 468

Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 – Friends of the Welsh National Opera – (01865) 865 806

Summer Recital Series

May 1st – Nick Daly, Baritone

May 8th – Cathy Bell, Mezzo-Soprano

May 15th – Alexandra Coghlan, Soprano and Rory McCleery, Counter-Tenor

May 22nd – Nick Hewlett, Tenor

May 29th – George Coltart, Bass

June 5th – Paola Cuffolo, Soprano

June 12th – Oxford University Gilbert and Sullivan Society

June 19th – Will Blake, Tenor