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Based, in part, on Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff is Verdi's last work for the stage - and only his second comic opera. And yet the humor in this multilayered masterpiece is distinctly wry, for all the main characters exhibit an array of human weaknesses that are implacably exposed by Verdi and his librettist Arrigo Boito. In this legendary performance from the Salzburg Festival, Herbert von Karajan is not only leading a stunning cast of singers featuring the Wiener Philharmoniker, he too directed the opera, in the amazing set design of Günther Schneider-Siemssen.