Personalities | Gian Francesco Busenello | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Venetian-born librettist Gian Francesco Busenello had a particular talent for the commercial operas that became fashionable in Italy in the first half of the seventeenth century. Busenello possessed a certain cynical realism about life that served him and his composers well when it came to insights into human behaviour. Busenello was never judgemental in his treatment of his operatic characters, even the most villainous. Instead, he viewed them with sardonic tolerance and an acute sense of humour, which made them more believable. Busenello began writing libretti somewhat late in life, and his output was not extensive. He wrote only five or six in all, starting with Cavalli’s Gli amore di Apollo e di Dafne (‘The Love of Apollo and Daphne’, 1640). Busenello provided libretti for three other Cavalli operas, but his greatest achievement was his work for Monteverdi in L’incoronazione di Poppea (1642).
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