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Melodrama in two acts
Libretto by Felice Romani after Antoine Cinvent Arnault
First performed December 26 1819, Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Sung in Italian with German & English surtitles
Introductory talks, in German, in the Holzfoyer half an hour before performances begin
A city strives for world domination, it uncovers spying embassadors' conspiracies, thrashes its enemies and isolates itself out of fear. This megalomaniacal miniature state suppresses all forms of individuality, emotions and love, behind high walls. A family drama takes place in this oppressive atmosphere: Bianca e Falliero, Rossini's last opera for La Scala Milan, is one of his most charming but - unfairly – most rarely seen works. His librettist Felice Romani combined a story about espionage with a variation on Romeo and Juliet, in which the families quarrel is over inheritance. Bianca, senator Contareno's daughter, secretly loves General Falliero but her father's political and financial interests threaten their love. Falliero, the victorious defender of the state, returns from war at the very moment that an arranged marriage between Bianca and Capellio is to take place. Conflicts are pre-destined ... The work was rediscovered in 1986 in Pesaro, where Rossini was born, and its extraordinary qualities revealed.