'Falstaff' -- Verdi's Buoyant Finale


THE HIT SINGLE: "L'Onore! Ladri!"

In the opera's opening scene, when Bardolph and Pistol cite their "honor" when declining to assist in the scheme to bilk Alice and Meg, Falstaff (baritone Ambrogio Maestri) launches into a scene-ending monologue ("Honor? Scoundrels!") telling them exactly what he thinks of their honor -- which isn't much.

THE B SIDE: "Tutto nel mondo"

After a lifetime composing tragic dramas, Verdi ended his career with one of opera's greatest comedies, closing its final act with the brilliantly optimistic chorus "Tutto nel mondo è burla" -- "All the world is a joke."