Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

Facchetti [Facchinetti], Giovanni Battista

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Facchetti [Facchinetti], Giovanni Battista.

See Fachetti, Giovanni Battista.

Facchi [Facco, Facho, Faccho], Agostino

(d Vicenza, Dec 1662). Italian composer and organist. He was a priest and a member of a religious order. Although he was associated with Bologna in the early part of his career, it is unlikely that he was born there. When he published some of his early music as Concerti spirituali a 1–4 con due scielte de Littanie della Madona a 3 e 5 con il basso continuo (Venice, 16244), he was working at Bologna as organist at the church of the ‘Gratie’ (presumably S Maria delle Grazie). He dedicated this volume (which also contains two works by A.M. Castellini) to the visitor to the Congregation of S Girolamo, Fiesole; he possibly had some earlier connection with this eremitical order. On 13 September 1624, after a competitive examination, he became organist of Vicenza Cathedral, a post that he occupied for most of the rest of his life. Late in 1624 or in 1625 he was enrolled, together with Monteverdi, as a visiting member of the Bolognese Accademia dei Filomusi. While working at Vicenza he lived at the nearby monastery of the Grazie and in 1630 was made its prior. His work at Vicenza Cathedral is documented up to 30 June 1633 and again from 1637, but on the title-pages of his Motetti a 2, 3, 4 & 5 voci, con le letanie della Madona a 6, & il basso continuo, libro secondo (Venice, 1635) and Madrigali a 2, 3, 4 & 5 voci con il basso continuo, libro secondo (Venice, 1636), he continued to describe himself as organist there. On 2 May 1647 he wrote to the cathedral chapter resigning his appointment on the grounds of ill-health. He returned to the post in 1650 but was again forced to leave for health reasons in July 1661.

Facchi was a skilful composer in whose music elements of the old and the new are found side by side. The solo motets of his 1624 book are rich in florid passage-work, while the three- and four-part pieces are more harmonic in conception. His serious, old-fashioned attitude towards word-painting can be seen here and in his later music – for example, in the two-part madrigals Lusinghiera fallace and Son le bellezze tue, Clori (1636), in which emotionally charged passages of chromaticism are effectively contrasted with passages in more lyrical vein.


MGG1 suppl. (R. Dalmonte)

A. Banchieri: Discorso di Camillo Scaliggeri della Fratta qual prova, che la favella naturale di Bologna precede, & eccede la Toscana in prosa, & in rima (Bologna, 1626), 110

G. Gaspari: Catalogo della Biblioteca del Liceo musicale di Bologna (Bologna, 1890–1943/R), ii, 418; iii, 126

G. Mantese: Storia musicale vicentina (Vicenza, 1956)

J. Whenham: Duet and Dialogue in the Age of Monteverdi (Ann Arbor, 1982), ii, 137

D. Pinto: ‘The Music of the Hattons’, RMARC, xxiii (1990), 79–108

J.P. Wainwright: ‘George Jeffreys' Copies of Italian Music’, RMARC, xxiii (1990), 109–24

S. Leopold: ‘Al modo d'Orfeo: Dichtung und Musik im italienischen Sologesang des frühen 17. Jahrhunderts’, AnMc, no.29 (1995), ii, 187, 384


Faccio, Franco [Francesco Antonio]

(b Verona, 8 March 1840; d Monza, 21 July 1891). Italian conductor and composer. Born in humble circumstances, he early manifested a propensity for music and was admitted to the Milan Conservatory in 1855, where he studied composition with Stefano Ronchetti-Montevito. There he struck up a lifelong friendship with Arrigo Boito, two years his junior. Their first collaboration was a patriotic cantata, Il quattro giugno (1860), inspired by the death in battle of a fellow pupil; Boito supplied the text and some of the music. The reception of this work at the conservatory, on the heels of the liberation of Lombardy, was so enthusiastic that the next year they produced a sequel, Le sorelle d’Italia, a panegyric to nations still under foreign domination. In the patriotic fervour of the times both Boito and Faccio, who were natives of the Veneto (then still in the hands of the Austrians), were received, despite their youth, by the upper echelons of Milanese society, including the famous salon of Countess Maffei. Their precosity, talent and determination to renew the tradition of Italian opera won them such warm support that on the completion of their studies they were awarded 2000 lire each to travel abroad.

Arriving in Paris in the spring of 1862, Faccio and Boito were received, not without irony, by Rossini. Countess Maffei had supplied them with letters of introduction to Verdi. Both were hard at work on operas – Boito on what was to become Mefistofele, and Faccio on the three-act melodramma, I profughi fiamminghi, to a text by Emilio Praga. Faccio was the first to return to Milan, where his work was introduced at La Scala on 11 November 1863. He sought to tap again the euphoric spirit of the times, but this opera achieved only five performances. The reception was cool and there were murmurs of that shibboleth, ‘music of the future’. Faccio’s friends fêted him with a banquet, however, and it was on this occasion that Boito read his ode All’arte italiana that so offended Verdi.

Faccio’s second opera, the four-act Amleto, to an innovatory libretto by Boito, was first performed at the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa, on 30 May 1865, where its success was contested. There was some resentment of the self-congratulatory iconoclasm of the youthful collaborators, and dismay at the score’s paucity of melody. The only section to win general approval was Ophelia’s funeral march. In 1866 both Faccio and Boito volunteered to serve under Garibaldi. At the end of their brief duty, Faccio left Italy and for two years honed his skills as an opera conductor in Scandinavia. On the strength of this experience, he was offered a post at the Teatro Carcano on his return to Milan in the autumn of 1868. At this time he was also appointed to teach composition at the conservatory, a post he held for ten years. In 1869 he became Terziani’s assistant as conductor at La Scala, succeeding to the full office in 1871.

He won Verdi’s approval to conduct the Italian première of Aida there (8 February 1872). Henceforth, conducting was to be Faccio’s principal activity, particularly after the miserable failure of his remounted Amleto at La Scala the year before, a fiasco that caused him to renounce the writing of operas. His tenure as principal conductor at La Scala lasted until his collapse in December 1889. The chief glory of his period there was the première of Otello (5 February 1887). Although Verdi’s works dominated the repertory during those years, Faccio also conducted the premières of operas by a number of younger Italian composers, notably Ponchielli (I lituani, La Gioconda and Il figliuol prodigo), Catalani (Dejanice and Edmea) and Puccini (the two-act version of Le villi and Edgar). He also conducted important performances of Der Freischütz and Lohengrin, and presented works by Massenet and Bizet. His last task there was the preparation of the first Italian staging of Die Meistersinger.

Faccio was also active elsewhere. At Brescia in 1872 he conducted the revised Forza del destino to such effect that the survival of the work was assured. At Bologna he made a profound impression with Don Carlos in 1878. The following year he conducted a concert there for the local Società del Quartetto; instrumental conducting would soon become second only to his work in the opera house. He led the local premières of Otello in Rome, Venice and Bologna, as well as in London (5 July 1889). Shaw remembered this last occasion as one of the finest examples of opera conducting in his experience.

That there were serious problems with Faccio’s health became apparent the night he insisted there was no third act to Die Meistersinger. To provide him with some relief from the rigours of opera-house routine, Verdi arranged his appointment as director of the Parma Conservatory. He soon proved incapable of coping with even this amount of work, and the faithful Boito accompanied him to Kraft-Ebbing’s Sanitorium at Graz. There, his condition was diagnosed as paralysis associated with tertiary syphilis and he spent the brief remainder of his life in an institution at Monza.


published in Milan unless otherwise stated


I profughi fiamminghi (melodramma, 3, E. Praga), Milan, La Scala, 11 Nov 1863; I-Mr*, vs (1864)

Amleto (tragedia lirica, 4, A. Boito), Genoa, Carlo Felice, 30 May 1865; Mr*, 9 nos., pf acc. (c1868–70)


Il quattro giugno (cant. patria, Boito), 1860, unpubd

Le sorelle d’Italia (mistero, prol, 2 pts., Boito), 1861; vs, pt.1 (Milan, c1861), music of pt.2 by Boito, unpubd

Cantata d’inaugurazione (E.A. Berta), vv, orch, for opening of Turin Exhibition, 1884; Mr*, vs (n.d.)


Gondoliere veneziano, romanza, 1862 (n.d.); Sotto il salice piangente, romanza, 1862, unpubd; L’ultima ora di Venezia (Countess Colonna-Fusinato), romanza (c1863); Album melodica (c1868); Ad un bambino, ninnerella, Il destino, ode amorosa, Mezzanotte, ballata, I re magi, cantilena; 5 canzonette veneziane (c1869); El dubio, Ma bada!, La nana, El tropo xe tropo, La gelosia; Vado di notte, romanza (c1870); Tecla, notturno, 2vv (c1873); Le pescatrice (H. Heine), notturno, S, A, T, B (1875)

After 1875: Rispetti toscano: Se moro ricopritemi di fiori, Colomba che nel poggio sei volata, Domenica mattina, Giovanottino da que’ bei capelli, La vostra madre, Se ho a vivere nel mondo; 5 romanze (P. Ferrari): Sappi ch’io, La Margherita, Ei m’ha tradita, Un sogno, Dolor di madre; Demain; Mattino dello festo dello Statuto, canto per gli allievi delle Civiche Scuole Elementari; Noi t’imploriamo, Maria, preghiera; Sentinella perdute, duet; Ad una rondine, in Anacreonte: odi tradotte da Andrea Maffei (?1877)


Orch: 3 syms., incl. 1 in F, arr. pf 4 hands (n.d.); Scherzo, D, arr. pf 4 hands (?1884); sym. interludes to Giacometti’s Maria Antonietta (n.d.); Contemplazione, preludio (n.d.)

Chbr: Preludio, hp (c1863–4); Str Qt, G, 1864 (n.d.); Sul Baltico, 2 melodie, vn, pf (c1869–70)


A. Smareglia: Vita ed arte di Antonio Smareglia (Lugano, 1932, 2/1936), 25

R. De Rensis: Franco Faccio e Verdi: carteggi e documenti inediti (Milan, 1934)

C. Sartori: ‘Franco Faccio e 20 anni di spettacoli di fiera al Teatro grande di Brescia’, RMI, xlii (1938), 64–77, 188–203, 350–62

P. Nardi: Vita di Arrigo Boito (Milan, 1942, 2/1944)

T.G. Kaufman: Verdi and his Contemporaries: a Selected Chronology of Performances with Casts (New York, 1990)


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