Marino Faliero (opera)

Marino Faliero (or Marin Faliero) is a tragedia lirica, or tragic opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Giovanni Emanuele Bidera wrote the Italian libretto, with revisions by Agostino Ruffini, after Casimir Delavigne's play. It is inspired by Lord Byron's drama Marino Faliero (1820) and based on the life of Marino Faliero (c.1285-1355), the Venetian Doge.[1]

Marino Faliero
Opera by Gaetano Donizetti
Marino Faliero, the opera's protagonist
LibrettistGiovanni Emanuele Bidera
Based onCasimir Delavigne's play Marino Faliero
12 April 1835 (1835-04-12)

Rossini had influenced the management of the Théâtre-Italien to commission works by the outstanding Italian composers of the day—Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini. Both wrote operas for that house in Paris, Bellini's contribution being the hugely-successful I puritani. Donizetti's opera, which premiered on 12 March 1835 (a few months after I puritani) was not nearly as much of a success. However, it marked Donizetti's first opera to have its premiere in Paris.

Performance history

After the Paris première, Marino Faliero was presented in London at Covent Garden on 14 May 1835[2] and at the Teatro Alfieri in Florence in 1836. Its first appearance in the US took place at the St. Charles Theater in New Orleans on 22 February 1842.[2] However, after several prohibitions from September 1839 onward, the opera was not presented until 3 September 1848, the day to which Black notes was the one on which the composer died in Bergamo.[3] The opera had a number of productions in the 19th century, but by the 20th it had become a rarity. The Donizetti Festival in Bergamo staged the work in 2008.[4]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 12 March 1835
(Conductor: - )
Marin Faliero, the Doge of Venice bass Luigi Lablache
Israele Bertucci, chief of the Venetian Arsenal baritone Antonio Tamburini
Fernando, Faliero's friend and in love with Elena tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini
Steno, member of the Council of Forty bass Vincenzo Felice Santini
Leoni, Member of the Council of Ten tenor
Elena, The Doge's wife soprano Giulia Grisi
Irene, Elena's servant soprano
Vincenzo, the Doge's servant tenor Enrico Tamberlik
Beltrame, a sculptor bass
Pietro, a gondolier bass Nicolay Ivanov
Guido, a fisherman bass
Gentlemen, knights, craftsmen, fishermen, servants, soldiers


Place: Venice
Time: 1355

Act 1

Elena, the wife of Marin Faliero, Doge of Venice, is continually subjected to attacks on her reputation by the patrician Steno whose advances she has rejected. Steno then insults Israele Bertucci, the chief of the Venetian Arsenal in front of his workers. Steno is punished for these offenses, but Faliero is infuriated by the leniency of the punishment. At the Doge's Palace, Israele convinces Faliero to join a conspiracy against the Council of Forty, of which Steno is a member. Elena and her lover Fernando, Faliero's nephew, decide to part. He will leave the city to save her from dishonour. She gives him a veil to remember her by. The climax of the act takes place at a masked ball in the palace when Fernando challenges Steno to a duel for having insulted Elena once again.

Act 2

The duel having taken place, Fernando is found dying near the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, where the conspirators were to meet. Faliero vows to avenge his death.

Act 3

The conspiracy collapses following a betrayal by one of its members and the Doge is condemned to death at a trial in the Doge's Palace. Before his execution, Elena confesses her love affair with Fernando to him. Faliero begins to curse her, but sensing that his death is imminent, pardons her instead. Faliero is led off. Alone on the stage, Elena hears the sound of the executioner's axe, screams and faints.[5]


Year Cast:
Marino Faliero,
Israele Bertucci,
Opera House and Orchestra
1976 Cesare Siepi,
Licinio Montefusco,
Giuliano Ciannella,
Marisa Galvany
Elio Boncompagni,
RAI Milan Symphony Orchestra
Audio CD: Bongiovanni
Cat: 2408/9-2;[7]
Myto Records
Cat: MCD 054.314
2002 Michele Pertusi,
Roberto Servile,
Rockwell Blake,
Mariella Devia
Ottavio Dantone,
Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Regio Parma
(Recording of a performance in Parma, 2 January)
Audio CD: House of Opera
Cat: CD 820
DVD: Hardy
Cat: HCD 4025
2008 Giorgio Surian,
Luca Grassi,
Ivan Magri,
Rachele Stanisci
Bruno Cinquegrani,
Orchestra and Chorus of Bergamo Musica Festival Gaetano Donizetti,
(Filmed at the Teatro Donizetti, Bergamo, 31 October and 2 November)
DVD: Naxos,
Cat: VD 2.110616-17.



  1. Casaglia, Gherardo (2005)."Marino Faliero, 12 March 1835". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
  2. Ashbrook and Hibberd 2001, p. 237
  3. Black 1982, pp. 33—34.
  4. Mullins, Chris. "Donizetti's Marino Faliero at the 2008 Bergamo Music Festival". Opera Today. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  5. Synopsis based on Bidéra, Giovanni Emanuele (1840). Marino Faliero; tragedia lirica in tre atti, da rappresentarsi nell'I. R. Teatro alla Scala, la primavera 1840. Stamperia Gaspare Truffe
  6. Recordings of Marino Faliero on
  7. Tom Kaufman, "Marino Faliero", Opera Today online, 31 May 2006

Cited sources

  • Ashbrook, William; Sarah Hibberd (2001), in Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4.
  • Black, John (1982), Donizetti’s Operas in Naples, 1822—1848. London: The Donizetti Society.

Other sources

  • Allitt, John Stewart (1991), Donizetti: in the light of Romanticism and the teaching of Johann Simon Mayr, Shaftesbury: Element Books, Ltd (UK); Rockport, MA: Element, Inc.(USA)
  • Ashbrook, William (1982), Donizetti and His Operas, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23526-X
  • Ashbrook, William (1998), "Marino Falliero" in Stanley Sadie (Ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. Three, p. 218. London: MacMillan Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7 ISBN 1-56159-228-5
  • Loewenberg, Alfred (1970). Annals of Opera, 1597-1940, 2nd edition. Rowman and Littlefield
  • Osborne, Charles, (1994), The Bel Canto Operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-71-3
  • Sadie, Stanley, (Ed.); John Tyrell (Exec. Ed.) (2004), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd edition. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-19-517067-2 (hardcover). ISBN 0-19-517067-9 OCLC 419285866 (eBook).
  • Weinstock, Herbert (1963), Donizetti and the World of Opera in Italy, Paris, and Vienna in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century, New York: Pantheon Books. LCCN 63-13703
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