Francesco Maria Piave’s Librettos For Composers Not Named Verdi

By David Salazar

Everyone remembers Francesco Maria Piave for his extensive association with Giuseppe Verdi.

The librettist, born on May 18, 1810, famously wrote 10 librettos for the famed composer, including such masterworks as “Rigoletto,” “La Traviata” and “Macbeth.” But his output was not limited to just Verdi works. In fact, he wrote a plethora of librettos for other composers. Here is a survey of the Venician-born Piave’s other work.

Pacini Libretti

The first libretto that Piave ever wrote was “Il Duca d’Alba” from 1842. He would go on to write five other librettos for Pacini, including “Lorenzino de’ Medici” in 1845, “Allan Cameron” in 1848, “La donna delle isole” in 1853, “Berta di Varnol” and “Don Diego de Mendoza” in 1867.

Ricci Collaborations

In 1846, Piave put together the libretto for “Estella di Murcia” by Federico Ricci. He would reteam with the composer and his brother Luigi for “Crispino e la comare.”

Braga Works

There were also two opera collaborations with Gaetano Braga. First came ‘Margherita la mendicante” in 1859 and “Mormile” in 1862.

Other Notable Works 

In total, Piave penned 42 librettos. His final one came in 1872 in the form of “Olema” for Carlo Pedrotti. It must be noted that the librettist wrote numerous libretti per year throughout his 20 years honing the craft. Twice in his career he managed four libretti in a single year.

In 1848 he penned “Allan Cameron” for Pacini, “ “Giovanni di Flandra for Boniforti, “Il Corsaro” for Verdi, and “La Schiava Saracena” for Mercadante.”

He also managed the feat in 1853 when he wrote “Baschina” for De Liguoro, “La donna delle isole” for Pacini, “La prigioniera” for Carlo Ercole Bosoni,” and “La Traviata.”

He also wrote a libretto on Shakespeare called “Gugliemo Shakspeare” for Tomaso Benvenuti” and “Rienzi” for Achille Peri.


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