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A tragic opera in three acts from a libretto by Giovanni Emanuele Bidera and Agostino Ruffini
Music by Gaetano Donizetti

First performance: Paris, Théâtre Italien, 12th March 1835

Rivisited edition on autograph material by Maria Chiara Bertieri
©Fondazione Donizetti

Marino Faliero dates to Donizetti’s full artistic maturity: it was expressly written in 1835 for Paris, when Donizetti set foot there for the first time. The composer from Bergamo was invited to represent – together with Bellini – the generation of successful young Italian composers in the major European theatrical city at the Théâtre Italien.

At the Théâtre Italien, where Rossini was working as musical consultant, they presented respectively Marino Faliero and I Puritani, two works in which the political component is strongly present. Several Italian refugees who were followers of Mazzini had found hospitality in Paris, and also the Théâtre Italien’s billboards reflected this image of Italianity: in 1834 the libertarian Ernani  by Gabussie and Il bravo by Marliani, a carbonaro from Milan, had made their debut there; the following year, two exiled followers of Mazzini such as Agostino Ruffini and Carlo Pepoli were respectively involved in the writing of the librettos of Marino Faliero and I Puritani.

Displaying a rich and elaborate score, rebels heroically facing martyrdom, great collective and choral pages (the People), it comes as no surprise that Marino Faliero should be highly favoured by Giuseppe Mazzini, who saw it as the first step towards a committed musical theatre, a potentially great educational gymnasium for the redemption of the Italians.