Falstaff is an opera in three acts by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and scenes from Henry IV, parts 1 and 2. The work, described by its creators as a commedia lirica, premiered on 9 February 1893 at La Scala, Milan. Verdi wrote Falstaff, which was the last of his twenty-eight operas, as he was approaching the age of eighty. It was his second comedy, and his third work based on a Shakespeare play, following Macbeth and Otello. The plot revolves around the thwarted, sometimes farcical, efforts of the fat knight, Sir John Falstaff, to seduce two married women for mercenary reasons.
Boito persuaded Verdi out of retirement to compose the opera, which took the collaborators three years from mid-1889 to complete. Although the prospect of a new opera from Verdi aroused immense interest in Italy and round the world, Falstaff did not prove to be as popular as earlier works in the composer's canon.