Jacopo Ferretti

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Jacopo Ferretti, Italian librettist and poet, 1784—1852

Jacopo Ferretti (16 July 1784 – 7 March 1852) was an Italian writer, poet and opera librettist. His name is sometimes written as Giacomo Ferretti.

He is most famous for having supplied the libretti for two operas composed by Rossini and for five operas composed by Donizetti.


Introduced by his father to literature while very young, in addition to his native Italian, Ferretti mastered not only Latin and Ancient Greek but also French and English, and began writing verse early. Even though he worked in the tobacco industry from the age of about 30 until he was over 60, he was extremely prolific, writing "everything from love letter to odes and welcoming speeches",[1] and numerous opera libretti, all but the few listed below being generally forgotten.

His first big success was La Cenerentola, written at great speed for Rossini over Christmas in 1816. Ferretti wrote afterwards how he had agreed to write a libretto on a subject which the censor vetoed, so he met the composer and the theatre manager to discuss alternatives. He struggled to find a new subject that appealed, but about two dozen were rejected for one reason or another. At last, yawning wearily, Ferretti said "La Cenerentola" ("Cinderella") and at last Rossini decided he liked it, so Ferretti went home and began at once, worked night and day on it, and gave sections to Rossini on Christmas Day. Early on during the production there were problems, but Rossini predicted (correctly) that it would be a great success in the long term.[1]

Ferretti married the singer Teresa Terziani in 1820, and their house was continually visited by musicians and poets, including Donizetti who had been given a letter of introduction to Ferretti by Johann Simon Mayr. They became good friends after the young composer's arrival in Rome in October 1821 for the preparation of the production of his Zoraida di Granata, which became his first major success. Ferretti worked on revising Bartolomeo Merelli's libretto for the opera.[2]

Librettos by Ferretti[edit]

Altogether, Ferretti wrote about 70 librettos, the majority of which were for operas presented in Rome.[3]

Title Genre Subdivisions Music Première Place, theatre Notes
ingannoL'inganno dura poco, ossia Le nozze di don Madrigale burletta 2 acts JannoniCesare Jannoni 1807/09/099 September 1807 Rome, Teatro Valle
principessaLa principessa per ripiego dramma giocoso 2 acts MorlacchiFrancesco Morlacchi 1809/04/1515 April 1809 Rome, Teatro Valle Probably after La villanella ingentilita by Francesco Saverio Zini
didoneLa Didone dramma serio 3 acts FioravantiValentino Fioravanti 1810/06/099 June 1810 Rome, Teatro Valle After Didone abbandonata by Pietro Metastasio
Baldovino dramma serio ZingarelliNiccolò Antonio Zingarelli 1811/00/001811 Rome, Teatro Argentina
belloIl bello piace a tutti melodramma giocoso 1 act FioravantiValentino Fioravanti 1811/00/001811
Berenice regina d'Armenia dramma per musica 3 acts ZingarelliNiccolò Antonio Zingarelli 1811/11/1212 November 1811 Rome, Teatro Valle After Lucio Vero by Apostolo Zeno.
As Berenice in Armenia: music by Carlo Evasio Soliva, March 1817, Turin, Teatro Regio
Tito in Langres dramma serio 2 acts del fanteAntonio del Fante 1813/01/044 January 1813 Rome, Teatro Argentina
Amore assottiglia l'ingegno dramma buffo 2 acts guglielmiPietro Carlo Guglielmi 1814/12/2626 December 1814 Rome, Teatro Valle
Rinaldo d'Asti dramma buffo 2 acts cocciaCarlo Coccia 1816/02/1717 February 1816 Rome, Teatro Valle
cenerentolaLa Cenerentola, ossia La bontà in trionfo dramma giocoso 2 acts rossiniGioachino Rossini 1817/01/2525 January 1817 Rome, Teatro Valle
Polissena dramma giocoso 3 acts rutiniFerdinando Rutini 1817/02/1111 February 1817 Rome, Teatro Argentina
Bartolommeo colla Cavalla melodramma buffo 2 acts pauselliAntonio Pauselli 1817/10/00Autumn 1817 Florence, Teatro della Pergola 1827: Carlo Conti (as L'innocente in periglio); 1836: Paolo Lami; 1838: Massimiliano Quilici
Pulcinella impresario rutiniFerdinando Rutini 1817/12/311817 Rome
Scipione in Cartagine melodramma serio 2 acts mercadanteSaverio Mercadante 1820/12/2626 December 1820 Rome, Teatro Argentina
festaLa festa della riconoscenza o sia Il pellegrino bianco melodramma giocoso 2 acts grazioliFilippo Grazioli 1821/01/2525 January 1821 Rome, Teatro Apollo
Matilde di Shabran, o sia Bellezza, e cuor di ferro melodramma giocoso 2 acts rossiniGioachino Rossini 1821/02/2424 February 1821 Rome, Teatro Apollo
capricciosaLa capricciosa ed il soldato melodramma giocoso 2 acts carafaMichele Carafa 1821/12/2626 December 1821 Rome, Teatro Apollo
Cesare in Egitto melodramma eroico 2 acts paciniGiovanni Pacini 1821/12/2626 December 1821 Rome, Teatro Argentina
Zoraida di Granata melodramma eroico 2 acts donizettiGaetano Donizetti 1822/01/2828 January 1822 Rome, Teatro Argentina Contributed. After Bartolomeo Merelli
Amalia e Palmer melodramma 2 acts celliFilippo Celli 1822/09/1414 September 1822 Teatro Argentina
Eufemio di Messina melodramma eroico 2 acts carafaMichele Carafa 1822/12/2626 December 1822 Rome, Teatro Argentina
corsaroIl corsaro, ovvero Un maestro di cappella al Marocco melodramma giocoso 2 acts celliFilippo Celli 1822/12/2626 December 1822 Rome, Teatro Valle
Amori ed armi 2 acts cianciarelliFrancesco Cianciarelli 1823/02/00Carnival 1823 Rome, Teatro Valle
ajoL'ajo nell'imbarazzo, o Don Gregorio melodramma giocoso 2 acts donizettiGaetano Donizetti 1824/02/044 February 1824 Rome, Teatro Valle
amiciGli amici di Siracusa melodramma eroico 3 acts mercadanteSaverio Mercadante 1824/02/077 February 1824 Rome, Teatro Argentina
audaciaL'audacia fortunata dramma giocoso per musica sapienzaAntonio Sapienza 1824/07/00Summer 1824 Naples, Teatro del Fondo 1827: Carlo Conti
Riccardo l'intrepido melodramma 2 acts balducciGiuseppe Balducci 1824/09/099 September 1824 Rome, Teatro Valle
comunitàLa comunità di Castel Formicolone ovvero Le gelosie villane dramma giocoso 2 acts trentoVittorio Trento 1824/12/311824
civetteLe civette in apparenza o sia una Lezione ai maldicenti melodramma 1 act gambaleLuigi Gambale 1826/06/033 June 1826 Rome, Teatro Valle
fedeltàLa fedeltà fra i boschi o sia Il taglialegna di Dombar grazioliFilippo Grazioli 1826/09/00September 1826 Rome, Teatro Valle
Olivo e Pasquale melodramma giocoso 2 acts donizettiGaetano Donizetti 1827/01/077 January 1827 Rome, Teatro Valle
sposaLa sposa persiana gambaleLuigi Gambale 1827/12/311827
scioccaLa sciocca per astuzia gambaleLuigi Gambale 1828/02/077 February 1828 Rome
orfanellaL'orfanella di Ginevra melodramma semiserio 2 acts riccilLuigi Ricci 1829/09/099 September 1829 Rome, Teatro Valle
eroinaL'eroina del Messico melodramma serio 2 acts riccilLuigi Ricci 1830/02/099 February 1830 Rome, Teatro di Tordinona
corsaroIl corsaro melodramma romantico 3 acts paciniGiovanni Pacini 1831/01/1515 January 1831 Rome, Teatro Apollo
nuovoIl nuovo Figaro melodramma giocoso 2 acts riccilLuigi Ricci 1832/02/1515 February 1832 Parma, Nuovo Teatro Ducale
furiosoIl furioso all'isola di San Domingo melodramma 2 acts donizettiGaetano Donizetti 1833/01/022 January 1833 Rome, Teatro Valle
Torquato Tasso melodramma 3 acts donizettiGaetano Donizetti 1833/09/099 September 1833 Rome, Teatro Valle
cidIl Cid melodramma serio 2 acts savjLuigi Savj 1834/01/2222 January 1834 Parma, Nuovo Teatro Ducale
dueI due incogniti melodramma semiserio bornacciniFrancesco Bornacini 1834/02/055 February 1834 Rome, Teatro Valle
Eran due or son tre melodramma buffo 2 acts riccilLuigi Ricci 1834/05/1010 May 1834 Venice, Teatro San Benedetto
casaLa casa disabitata melodramma giocoso 2 acts rossiLauro Rossi 1834/08/1616 August 1834 Milan, Teatro alla Scala
Chi dura vince melodramma eroicomico 2 acts ricciLuigi Ricci 1834/12/2626 December 1834 Rome, Teatro Valle
pazzaLa pazza per amore melodramma semiserio 2 acts coppolaPietro Antonio Coppola 1835/02/1414 February 1835 Rome, Teatro Valle
colonnelloIl colonnello melodramma giocoso 2 acts riccilLuigi Ricci and Federico Ricci 1835/03/1414 March 1835 Naples, Teatro del Fondo
Monsieur de Chalumeaux melodramma comico 2 acts riccifFederico Ricci 1835/06/1414 June 1835 Venice, Teatro San Benedetto
Giulietta ossia La fanciulla abbandonata melodramma 2 acts guglielmoPasquale Guglielmo 1835/12/311835
disertoreIl disertore per amore melodramma giocoso 2 acts riccilLuigi Ricci and Federico Ricci 1836/02/1313 February 1836 Naples, Teatro del Fondo
festaLa festa della rosa melodramma giocoso 2 acts coppolaPietro Antonio Coppola 1836/06/2929 June 1836 Vienna, Theater am Kärntnertor
Salvini e Adelson melodramma semiserio 2 acts saviLuigi Savi 1839/01/011839
sognoIl sogno punitore melodramma 3 acts gerliGiuseppe Gerli 1839/01/011839
Furio Camillo melodramma tragico 3 acts paciniGiovanni Pacini 1839/12/2626 December 1839 Rome, Teatro Apollo
Contraddizione e puntiglio melodramma giocoso simeoniMichele Simeoni 1842/01/011842
Paolo e Virginia melodramma semiserio 3 acts aspaMario Aspa 1843/04/2929 April 1843 Rome, Teatro Metastasio As Gli isolani: Davide Dugnani, 1857
follettoIl folletto melodramma giocoso 2 acts coppolaPietro Antonio Coppola 1843/06/1818 June 1843 Rome, Teatro Valle
puntigliosoIl puntiglioso brancaccioAntonio Brancaccio 1846/01/011846
Gismonda di Mendrisio tragedia lirica 3 acts badiaLuigi Badia 1846/02/1010 February 1846 Bologna, Teatro Comunale
figliaLa figlia di Figaro melodramma giocoso 3 acts rossiLauro Rossi 1846/04/1717 April 1846 Vienna, Theater am Kärntnertor
cavaliereIl cavaliere di San Giorgio, ossia Il mulatto melodramma semiserio 2 acts lilloGiuseppe Lillo 1846/10/00Autumn 1846 Turin, Teatro Carignano



  1. ^ a b Opera Talent entry for Jacopo Ferretti
  2. ^ Allit 1991, pp. 26—27
  3. ^ Black 1998, p. 167

Other sources