FRANCO FACCIO (1840 - 1891)
Franco Faccio and the writer and composer Arrigo Boito both studied at the Milan Conservatory. Besides their common struggle in the national liberation movement, they were united by a conviction that Italian opera was in urgent need of reinvention. They collaborated on two patriotic cantatas whose success went on to open the doors of the salons of Milan to them, one of which belonged to Clara Maffei. She gathered a wide array of the great and good in the spheres of art and politics, including Verdi and the writer Alessandro Manzoni. A study trip to Paris was arranged for Boito and Faccio, where they met Charles Gounod, Gioachino Rossini and Hector Berlioz.
Faccio and Boito were the first authors of an operatic adaptation of Hamlet who genuinely felt bound by Shakespeare’s original. Of course even they had to shorten this long and complex play, remove certain characters and adapt scenes for the operatic stage. This, though, they did in a conscientious, precise fashion. Where Hamlet refers in the play to music that can be heard beyond the stage, Boito and Faccio put that music on stage.