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Falstaff can refer to the character from Shakespeare's plays Henry IV (parts 1 and 2), and The Merry Wives of Windsor (see "Falstaff" in Wikipedia[1]), but also a South African dramatic work and a number of operas bearing this title.

Falstaff by Ian Ferguson

The original text

Written in 1976, the work is based on and a combination of the Fallstaff [2] scenes from Shakespeare’s plays Henry IV (parts 1 and 2), and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1976: Staged by PACT at the Alexander Theatre, directed by Ken Leach, with Richard Haines (Falstaff), Ian Steadman (Bardolph), Nigel Daly (Francis), Michael Richard (Pistol), Dennis Schauffer (Chief Justice), Michael McCabe (Henry IV), Errol Ross (Prince Hal), Paul Slabolepszy (Poins), Nigel Vermaas (Nym), Don McCorkindale (Shallow), Dale Cutts (Fang), Anthony James/David Lewis (Westmoreland/Snare) and Lesley Nott/Annelisa Weiland/ Dorothy-Ann Gould (Doll Tearsheet). Costumes by Patricia Slavin, set by Ken Leach and incidental music composed and performed by David Lewis.

1984: Presented by CAPAB Drama in July with performances at the 1984 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, at the Guild Theatre in East London, the Opera House in Port Elizabeth, the H.B. Thom Theatre in Stellenbosch and on 1 August at the Nico Malan Theatre in Cape Town. The director was Ken Leach, decor, after the original design by Leach was by Peter Cazalet, costumes by Penny Simpson and lighting by Malcolm Hurrell. The cast: Ron Smerczak (Falstaff), Romano Gorlei, Mark Graham, Jakes Jacobs, David Clatworthy, David Dennis, David Alcock, Gary Carter, Russel Savadier, Roger Dwyer, André Roothman, Diane Wilson, Antoinette Kellermann, and Shirley Johnston.




PACT theatre programme, 1976.

CAPAB theatre programme, 1984.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Falstaff - the operas

A number of operas by this name have been written over the years, most of them largely based on The Merry Wives of Windsor, with material from Shakespeare's Henry IV, (Parts I and II) added. Composers and librettists include Antonio Salieri and Carlo Prospero Defranceschi (1799); Michael William Balfe and S. Manfredo Maggione (1838); and Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito (1893). A "symphonic study" called Falstaff was also written by Edward Elgar in 1913.

Performance history in South Africa

1970: Presented by CAPAB Opera in collaboration with UCT.

1977: Presented by CAPAB Opera.

1987: Verdi's opera presented by CAPAB Opera (21 March – 4 April)

See further: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falstaff_(opera)


Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

Alexandra Xenia Sabina Mossolow. 2003. The career of South African soprano Nellie du Toit, born 1929. Unpublished Masters thesis. University of Stellenbosch.

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