The romantic bumblings of the Shakespeare-inspired character Falstaff are reimagined in disco-era America in ├█╠ĎË░¤˝AVÔÇÖs new production of ÔÇťThe Merry Wives of Windsor.ÔÇŁ ├█╠ĎË░¤˝AVÔÇÖs version of Otto NicolaiÔÇÖs 1849 operatic comedy will be presented in three performances, Feb. 16-18, by a 43-piece orchestra and cast of 32.
ÔÇťWhen our team began design discussions, we were all drawn to the early 1970s, a time of generational conflict and social upheaval that could illuminate the charactersÔÇÖ conflicts in our story,ÔÇŁ director Karen Coe Miller said of the productionÔÇÖs design inspiration. ÔÇťShakespeareÔÇÖs archetypal characters have their antecedents in ancient Roman comedy, and are still recognizable in any TV sitcom.ÔÇŁ
ÔÇťThe Merry Wives of WindsorÔÇŁ centers on the scheming Sir John Falstaff, who plans to strike it rich by seducing the wives of two wealthy businessmen. The women, however, discover his scheme and enjoy exacting their revenge.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and 17, with a 2 p.m. Feb. 18 matinee, in ├█╠ĎË░¤˝AVÔÇÖs Kirkpatrick Auditorium, 2501 N. Blackwelder. Tickets ($15-30) are available from 405-208-5227 or . A free directorÔÇÖs talk will be held 45 minutes before curtain of each show.
An opening night dinner with student entertainment will be held at 6:15 p.m. Friday in the atrium of the Bass Music Center. Reservations ($25) may be made through the ticket office.
Jan McDaniel will conduct the pit orchestra in performing NicolaiÔÇÖs score, which Gramophone praised: ÔÇťThe brilliant and justly celebrated overture is no false guide to what follows. NicolaiÔÇÖs touch is light and wittyÔÇŽ The orchestration is constantly imaginative, and the melodies flow one after another, repeatedly warming the listenerÔÇÖs heart with some extra-delicious touch.ÔÇŁ
The 1970s setting will be enhanced with scenic design by Robin Cole-Vest, original costumes by Alyssa Couturier-Hendon, and lighting design created by Kennedy Nichols.
Tributes to the character of Falstaff, who appears in three of ShakespeareÔÇÖs plays, include operatic adaptations across three centuries. In addition to NicolaiÔÇÖs version, Antonio Salieri debuted his Falstaff in 1799, Giuseppe VerdiÔÇÖs Falstaff premiered in 1893, followed in 1929 by Ralph Vaughn WilliamsÔÇÖ ÔÇťSir John in Love.ÔÇŁ
├█╠ĎË░¤˝AVÔÇÖs Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater CompanyÔÇÖs season continues Feb. 23-25 with a spotlight production of Gilbert and SullivanÔÇÖs ÔÇťIolantheÔÇŁ before the April 19-21 season finale ÔÇö Jonathan LarsonÔÇÖs acclaimed rock musical ÔÇťRENT,ÔÇŁ winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and four Tony Awards, including Best Musical.