Fausta (opera)

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Fausta is a melodramma, or opera, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was by Domenico Gilardoni, who died while writing it: the remainder was written by Donizetti. The opera debuted on 12 January 1832 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, and was written with prima donna Giuseppina Ronzi de Begnis in mind. When the opera was revived in 1833, Donizetti added a new love scene and duet. De Begnis was rumored to be the King's mistress. Although the libretto had irked the chief censor, the production went ahead, supposedly because of De Begnis influence in high places.

The opera, based on historical events, involves the complications that ensue when Fausta falls in love with her stepson.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 12 January 1832
(Conductor: - )
Constantino il Grande, emperor of Rome baritone Antonio Tamburini
Fausta, his second wife soprano Giuseppina Ronzi de Begnis
Beroe, a prisoner, Crispo's beloved mezzo-soprano Virginia Eden
Crispo, son of Constantino and Minervina tenor Giovanni Basadonna
Massimiano, Fausta's father bass Giovanni Campagnoli
Licinia contralto Edvige Ricci
Albino, jailer tenor Giovanni Revalden
Kinsmen and confidantes of the emperor, senators, soldiers, people


Time: 326 A.D.
Place: Rome[1]

Fausta is in love with Crispus and finally both die as a result of complications surrounding it.


Year Cast
(Costantino il Grande, Fausta, Crispo, Massimiano)
Opera House and Orchestra
1981 Renato Bruson,
Raina Kabaivanska,
Giuseppe Giacomini,
Luigi Roni
Daniel Oren
Teatro dell'Opera di Roma Orchestra and Chorus
(Recording of a performance at Rome, November)
Audio CD: Gala
Cat: GL 100617



  1. ^ Osborne 1994, p. 202
  2. ^ Source for recording information: Recording(s) of Fausta on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk

Cited sources

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 052123526X ISBN 0-521-23526-X
  • Ashbrook, William (1998), "Donizetti, Gaetano" in Stanley Sadie (Ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. One. London: MacMillan Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7 ISBN 1-56159-228-5
  • Ashbrook, William and Sarah Hibberd (2001), in Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-140-29312-4. pp. 224 - 247.
  • Black, John (1982), Donizetti’s Operas in Naples, 1822—1848. London: The Donizetti Society.
  • Ciarlantini, Paola (2013), "La fonte letteraria della Fausta di Donizetti e la poesia tragica improvvisativa in Italia fino agli anni Trenta dell’Ottocento", Conservatorio “U.Giordano” Foggia, paper presented at the XX Symposium SIdM, 19 October 2013 (Italian) (to be published)
  • Loewenberg, Alfred (1970). Annals of Opera, 1597-1940, 2nd edition. Rowman and Littlefield
  • Sadie, Stanley, (Ed.); John Tyrell (Exec. Ed.) (2004), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd edition. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0195170672 (hardcover). ISBN 0195170679 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. ISBN 63-13703

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