Falstaff, Verdi's last opera, was given its world premi re at Milan's fabled La Scala in 1893. A century later, Hans Busch has collected, translated, and annotated 665 letters, telegrams, and reviews from the years 1889 - 1894 to trace the genesis of one of Verdi's greatest triumphs. To a much greater extent than most composers, Verdi concerned himself with the selection of the artists performing his operas and with the details of the stage design and direction. Verdi and his publisher shared a desire for perfection, as shown in their correspondence by the abundance of musical corrections, reproduced here in facsimile. These are particularly valuable textual records, as the otherwise rich Verdi legacy does not include any original production books for Falstaff. A human and artistic drama emerges from this collection, a story revolving around the lives of a great triumvirate: the octogenarian Verdi, librettist Arrigo Boito, and their publisher and producer, Giulio Ricordi. Lending insight into the mores of the fin de si cle are some intimate letters exchanged by Boito and the actress Eleonora Duse. Five appendixes assemble articles and reviews by writers who attended some of the first productions of Falstaff, which Richard Strauss considered 'one of the greatest masterworks of all time.' This book makes available the first English translation for the majority of these letters - and for all of the other documents. Indeed, much of the material in this ambitious volume is now being published for the first time in any language.