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Verdi was concerned about working on a new opera at his advanced age, but he yearned to write a comic work and was pleased with Boito's draft libretto.

It took the collaborators three years from mid-1889 to complete.

Some felt that the piece suffered from a lack of the full-blooded melodies of the best of Verdi's previous operas, a view strongly contradicted by Toscanini.

Conductors of the generation after Toscanini to champion the work included Herbert von Karajan, Georg Solti and Leonard Bernstein.

It was his second comedy, and his third work based on a Shakespeare play, following Macbeth and Otello.

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Verdi disagreed and said that he longed to write another light-hearted opera, but nobody would give him the chance.

Culkin had his moments where he pulled Alig off well, and in others, you could tell he was trying to stretch the character into places he wasn't meant to go.

And if he was, Culkin certainly wasn't the actor to do it. Highly recommended if you're interested in how some of the 80's really played out.

Although the prospect of a new opera from Verdi aroused immense interest in Italy and around the world, Falstaff did not prove to be as popular as earlier works in the composer's canon.

After the initial performances in Italy, other European countries and the US, the work was neglected until the conductor Arturo Toscanini insisted on its revival at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York from the late 1890s into the next century.