Francesco Maria Piave (18 May 1810 –5 March 1876) was an Italian opera librettist who was born in Murano in the lagoon of Venice, during the brief Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.
Piave's career spanned over twenty years working with many of the significant composers of his day, including Giovanni Pacini (four librettos), Saverio Mercadante (at least one), Federico Ricci, and even one for Michael Balfe. He is most well known as Giuseppe Verdi's librettist, for whom he was to write 10 librettos, the most well-known being those for Rigoletto and La traviata .
But Piave was not only a librettist: he was a journalist and translator in addition to being the resident poet and stage manager at La Fenice in Venice where he first encountered Verdi. Later, Verdi was helpful in securing him the same position at La Scala in Milan.His expertise as a stage manager and his tact as a negotiator served Verdi very well, but the composer bullied him mercilessly for his pains over many years.
Like Verdi, Piave was an ardent Italian patriot, and in 1848, during Milan's "Cinque Giornate," when Radetzky's Austrian troops retreated from the city, Verdi wrote to Piave in Venice addressing him as "Citizen Piave."
Together, they worked on ten operas between 1844 and 1862, and Piave would have also prepared the libretto for Aida when Verdi accepted the commission for it in 1870, had he not suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed and unable to speak. Verdi helped to support his wife and daughter, proposing that "an album of pieces by famous composers be compiled and sold for Piave's benefit".The composer paid for his funeral when he died nine years later in Milan aged 65 and arranged for his burial at the Monumental Cemetery.
From the beginnings of their working relationship in 1844, scholars such as Gabriele Baldini see Verdi's overall influence upon the structure of his work take a big leap forward when he notes:
This statement suggests that, almost for the first time, the composer was going to be the one who determined "that drama essentially consisted of the arrangement of pieces and the clarity of the musical forms..[so that]..he began to become aware of the structure and architecture of musical composition, something which was not even clearly hinted at during the period with Solera.The composer began to control the overall dramatic arc of the drama and no longer would he "suffer under" such librettists as Temistocle Solera, who wrote the libretti for five Verdi operas beginning with Oberto and up to Attila in 1846.
An example of the pressure which Verdi exerted on Piave was in the struggle to have the Venetian censors approve Rigoletto: "Turn Venice upside down to make the censors permit this subject"he demanded, following that up with the admonition not to allow the matter to drag on: "If I were the poet I would be very, very concerned, all the more because you would be greatly responsible if by chance (may the Devil not make it happen) they should not allow this drama [to be staged]"
Nonetheless, another Verdi scholar notes that "Verdi always harried him unmercifully, often having his work revised by others [as in the case of Simon Boccanegra ] [but] Piave rewarded him with doglike devotion, and the two remained on terms of sincere friendship."Piave became "someone Verdi loved".
In following Salvadore Cammarano as Verdi's main mid-career librettist, Piave firstly wrote Ernani in 1844, and then I due Foscari (1844), Attila (1846), Macbeth (the 1847 first version), Il Corsaro (1848), Stiffelio (1850), Rigoletto (1851), La traviata (1853), Simon Boccanegra (the 1857 first version), Aroldo (1857), La forza del destino (the 1862 first version), and Macbeth (the 1865 second version).
|1842||Il duca d'Alba|| Giovanni Pacini |
(Libretto also used by Giovanni Peruzzini)
|1844||I due Foscari||Giuseppe Verdi|
|1845||Lorenzino de' Medici||Giovanni Pacini|
|1846||Estella di Murcia||Federico Ricci|
|1847||Macbeth (first version)||Giuseppe Verdi|
|1847||Tutti amanti||Carlo Romani|
|1848||Allan Cameron||Giovanni Pacini|
|1848||Giovanna di Fiandra||Carlo Boniforti|
|1848||Il corsaro||Giuseppe Verdi|
|1848||La Schiava Saracena||Saverio Mercadante|
|1850||Crispino e la comare||Luigi Ricci and Federico Ricci|
|1850||Elisabetta di Valois||Antonio Buzzolla|
|1851||La Sposa di Murçia||Andrea Casalini|
|1853||Baschina||Federico Guglielmo De Liguoro|
|1853||La donna delle isole||Giovanni Pacini|
|1853||La prigioniera||Carlo Ercole Bosoni|
|1853||La traviata||Giuseppe Verdi|
|1854||Margherita di Borgogna||Francesco Petrocini|
|1854||Pittore e Duca||Michael William Balfe|
|1856||I Fidanzati||Achille Peri|
|1857||Simon Boccanegra (first version)||Giuseppe Verdi|
|1857||Aroldo (revision of Stiffelio)||Giuseppe Verdi|
|1857||Vittore Pisani||Achille Peri|
|1859||Margherita la mendicante||Gaetano Braga|
|1860||La Biscaglina||Samuele Levi|
|1861||Guglielmo Shakspeare||Tomaso Benvenuti|
|1862||La forza del destino (first version)||Giuseppe Verdi|
|1865||La Duchessa di Guisa||Paolo Serrao|
|1865||Macbeth (second version)||Giuseppe Verdi|
|1867||Berta di Varnol||Giovanni Pacini|
|1867||Don Diego de Mendoza||Giovanni Pacini|
|1868||La tombola||Antonio Cagnoni|
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him.
La traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It is based on La Dame aux camélias (1852), a play adapted from the 1848 novel by Alexandre Dumas fils. The opera was originally titled Violetta, after the main character. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at La Fenice opera house in Venice.
Il trovatore is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto largely written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El trovador (1836) by Antonio García Gutiérrez. It was Gutiérrez's most successful play, one which Verdi scholar Julian Budden describes as "a high flown, sprawling melodrama flamboyantly defiant of the Aristotelian unities, packed with all manner of fantastic and bizarre incident."
Ernani is an operatic dramma lirico in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the 1830 play Hernani by Victor Hugo.
Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The Italian libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on the 1832 play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo. Despite serious initial problems with the Austrian censors who had control over northern Italian theatres at the time, the opera had a triumphant premiere at La Fenice in Venice on 11 March 1851.
Simon Boccanegra is an opera with a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the play Simón Bocanegra (1843) by Antonio García Gutiérrez, whose play El trovador had been the basis for Verdi's 1853 opera, Il trovatore.
Macbeth is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and additions by Andrea Maffei, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name. Written for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, it was Verdi's tenth opera and premiered on 14 March 1847. Macbeth was the first Shakespeare play that Verdi adapted for the operatic stage. Almost twenty years later, Macbeth was revised and expanded in a French version and given in Paris on 19 April 1865.
Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio is an opera in two acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on an existing libretto by Antonio Piazza probably called Rocester.
Un giorno di regno, ossia Il finto Stanislao is an operatic melodramma giocoso in two acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto written in 1818 by Felice Romani. Originally written for the Bohemian composer Adalbert Gyrowetz the libretto was based on the play Le faux Stanislas written by the Frenchman Alexandre-Vincent Pineux Duval in 1808. Un giorno was given its premiere performance at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan on 5 September 1840.
I due Foscari is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the 1821 historical play, The Two Foscari by Lord Byron.
I masnadieri is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Andrea Maffei, based on the play Die Räuber by Friedrich von Schiller. As Verdi became more successful in Italy, he began to receive offers from other opera houses outside the country. The London impresario Benjamin Lumley had presented Ernani in 1845 and, as a result of its success, commissioned an opera from the composer which became I masnadieri. It was given its first performance at Her Majesty's Theatre on 22 July 1847 with Verdi conducting the first two performances.
Luisa Miller is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play Kabale und Liebe by the German dramatist Friedrich von Schiller.
Aroldo is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on and adapted from their earlier 1850 collaboration, Stiffelio. The first performance was given in the Teatro Nuovo Comunale in Rimini on 16 August 1857.
Giovanna d'Arco is an operatic dramma lirico with a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, who had prepared the libretti for Nabucco and I Lombardi. It is Verdi's seventh opera.
Attila is an opera in a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on the 1809 play Attila, König der Hunnen by Zacharias Werner. The opera received its first performance at La Fenice in Venice on 17 March 1846.
Il corsaro is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, from a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Lord Byron's 1814 poem The Corsair. The first performance was given at the Teatro Grande in Trieste on 25 October 1848.
La battaglia di Legnano is an opera in four acts, with music by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian-language libretto by Salvadore Cammarano. It was based on the play La Bataille de Toulouse by Joseph Méry, later the co-librettist of Don Carlos.
Stiffelio is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, from an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. The origin of this was the novel Le pasteur d’hommes, by Émile Souvestre, which was published in 1838. This was adapted into the French play Le pasteur, ou L'évangile et le foyer by Émile Souvestre and Eugène Bourgeois. That was in turn translated into Italian by Gaetano Vestri as Stifellius; this formed the basis of Piave's libretto.
Jérusalem is a grand opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was to be an adaptation and partial translation of the composer's original 1843 Italian opera, I Lombardi alla prima crociata. It was the one opera which he regarded as the most suitable for being translated into French and, taking Eugène Scribe's advice, Verdi agreed that a French libretto was to be prepared by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz, who had written the libretto for Donizetti's most successful French opera, La favorite. The opera received its premiere performance at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris on 26 November 1847. The maiden production was designed by Paul Lormier (costumes), Charles Séchan, Jules Diéterle and Édouard Desplechin, and Charles-Antoine Cambon and Joseph Thierry.
Fanny Salvini-Donatelli was an Italian operatic soprano. She is best known today for creating the role of Violetta in Verdi's opera, La traviata, but she was also an admired interpreter of the composer's other works as well as those by Donizetti.
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