Personalities | Giovanni Faustini | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Librettist and theatre manager Giovanni Faustini, who was born in Venice, wrote 11 libretti for Venetian opera houses in nine years – between 1642 and 1651 – and 10 of them were set to music by Francesco Cavalli. Cavalli owed a great deal to Faustini’s skill and to his unerring ‘feel’ for the pseudo-historical subjects of most of his libretti. Faustini also possessed an instinct for devising plots that had maximum popular appeal and would ensure financial success. His libretti were beautifully constructed and designed to wring the utmost drama out of the situations depicted on stage. He had a good understanding of the music and how it could heighten drama and made sure that his libretti offered composers plenty of scope for musical characterization. Faustini’s best-known libretti, both written for Cavalli, were Ormindo (1644) and Calisto, which was first performed in 1651, the same year as Faustini’s premature death.
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