(b Moulins, 15 Jan 1830; d Paris, 9 Nov 1914). French baritone. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, making his début in 1852 as Pygmalion (Massé’s Galathée) at the Opéra-Comique, where he also created Hoël in Meyerbeer’s Le pardon de Ploërmel (1859). He made his London début at Covent Garden in 1860 as Hoël, and during the next decade sang Alphonse (La favorite), Fernando (La gazza ladra), Nevers (Les Huguenots), Don Giovanni, William Tell, Méphistophélès in the first Covent Garden performance of Faust (1863), Belcore, Peter the Great (L’étoile du Nord), Count Rodolfo (La sonnambula) and Mozart’s Figaro. His début at the Paris Opéra was in 1861 as Julien (Poniatowski’s Pierre de Médicis); there he created Pedro in Massé’s La mule de Pedro (1863), Nélusko in L’Africaine (1865), Posa in Don Carlos (1867) and the title role in Thomas’ Hamlet (1868; see illustration), also singing Méphistophélès in the first performance at the Opéra of Faust (1869). In 1870 he sang Lothario in the first London performance of Mignon at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Returning to Covent Garden (1871–5), he sang Hamlet, Caspar (Der Freischütz). Cacico (Il Guarany), Lothario and Assur (Semiramide). He sang Don Giovanni at the first performance of Mozart’s opera given at the newly built Palais Garnier (1875), and then created Charles VII in Mermet’s Jeanne d’Arc (1876). He retired from the stage in 1886. Although he possessed a fine, resonant, even and extensive voice, Faure was chiefly notable for the innate musicality and stylishness of his singing and for his great gifts as an actor. He taught singing at the Paris Conservatoire from 1857 to 1860 and published two books on the art of singing. His voice can be heard on a private cylinder recorded in Milan (c1897–9), singing ‘Jardins d’Alcazar’ from La favorite.
S.Wolff: Un demi-siécle d’Opéra-Comique 1909–1950 (Paris, 1953)
H.Rosenthal: Two Centuries of Opera at Covent Garden (London, 1958)
S.Wolff: L’Opéra au Palais Garnier (1875–1962) (Paris, 1962/R)
(b Venice, 19 May 1615; d Venice, 19 Dec 1651). Italian librettist and theatre manager. His mother, Isabetta Vecellio, was the daughter of the noted artist and costume illustrator Cesare Vecellio. He wrote 14 librettos for the Venetian stage between 1642 and 1651, most of them set to music by Cavalli, and was impresario of the S Moisè and S Apollinare theatres. At his death he left five librettos in various states of completion, which were subsequently finished and, with the exception of Medea placata, performed under the auspices of his brother, the impresario Marco Faustini. The Faustini-Cavalli collaborations constituted the most constant presence during a highly unstable and formative decade in the history of Venetian opera. Faustini's dramas, the plots and characters of which are usually newly invented, rather than historical or mythological, often develop the entangled relations of two pairs of lovers, cleverly resolving all problems at the last moment to the satisfaction of all (or nearly all) concerned. Some of the later plots are highly intricate, notably L'Eritrea (performed in 1652), his last completed work, which may have profited from the influence of G.A. Cicognini. A keen sense of intrigue and superior dramatic craftsmanship characterize Faustini's librettos. His versification has a variety and flexibility otherwise rarely found in dramas of the 1640s.
G.Morelli: Scompiglio e lamento (simmetrie dell'incostanza e incostanza delle simmetrie): ‘L'Egisto’ di Faustini e Cavalli (Venice, 1982)
P.Fabbri: Il secolo cantante: per una storia del libretto d'opera nel Seicento (Bologna, 1990)
B.L.Glixon and J.E.Glixon: ‘Marco Faustini and Venetian Opera Production in the 1650s: Recent Archival Discoveries’, JM, x (1992–3), 48–73
C.J.Mossey: Human After All: Character and Self-understanding in Operas by Giovanni Faustini and Francesco Cavalli, 1644–1652 (diss., Brandeis U., 1999)
THOMAS WALKER/BETH L. GLIXON, JONATHAN E. GLIXON
(b Venice, 17 May 1606; d Venice, 7 Jan 1676). Italian impresario, brother of Giovanni Faustini. Until recently it was thought that his career as an impresario began at the time of his brother's death on 19 December 1651, but documents reveal that he was involved in the operations of the Teatro S Apollinare from the preceding summer, possibly even earlier. He managed three public theatres in Venice (with the help of Alvise Duodo and Marc'Antonio Correr): S Apollinare (1651–2 and 1654–7); S Cassiano (1657–60); and SS Giovanni e Paolo (1660–68, probably with a gap, 1663–5). Faustini worked with the most important composers of his day (Cavalli, P.A. Ziani and Antonio Cesti) and was able to attract some of Italy's leading singers, including Anna Renzi, Antonia Coresi and Vincenza Giulia Masotti. He produced new librettos by Aureli, Francesco Piccoli, Minato, Beregan, P.A. Zaguri and Ivanovich, as well as several left unfinished by his brother. Faustini's papers (in I-Vas, Scuola grande di S Marco), including letters from singers, account books and contracts, represent the most comprehensive repository of information about the production of Venetian opera of the period.
L.Bianconi and T.Walker: ‘Production, Consumption and Political Function of Seventeenth-Century Opera’, EMH, iv (1984), 209–96
E.Rosand: Opera in Seventeenth-Century Venice: the Creation of a Genre (Berkeley, 1991)
B.L. and J.E.Glixon: ‘Marco Faustini and Venetian Opera Production in the 1650s: Recent Archival Discoveries’, JM, x (1992), 48–73
B.L. and J.E.Glixon: Marco Faustini and Opera Production in Seventeenth-Century Venice (forthcoming)