Personalities | Francesco Maria Piave | High Romantic | Opera

1810–76, Italian

Although Francesco Maria Piave’s fame rests on his libretti written for Verdi, he produced texts for several other composers of the Romantic era. These included Michael Balfe, Antonio Cagnoni (1828–96), Saverio Mercadante (1795–1870) and Giovanni Pacini (1796–1867): Piave supplied Pacini with the libretto for his Lorenzino de’ Medici (1845), which was first performed in Venice. By this time Verdi was beginning to dominate the opera world and Pacini found himself eclipsed. Piave, too, was aware of the change at the top, and had already written his first libretto for Verdi, Ernani, which premiered at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice in 1844. This was followed by I due Foscari, Macbeth, Il corsaro, Stiffelio (plus its revision as Aroldo, 1857), Rigoletto, La traviata, the first version of Simon Boccanegra (1857) and La forza del destino.

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