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La favorite

La favorite (The Favourite) is a grand opera in four acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a French-language libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz, based on the play Le comte de Comminges by Baculard d'Arnaud. The plot revolves around a love triangle involving Alphonse (Alfonso XI), King of Castile; his mistress Léonor (Leonora), the titular favourite; and her lover Fernand (Fernando). The story unfolds against the background of Moorish Spain and power struggles between church and state. The opera premiered in Paris in 1840, with further performances being staged in England, Italy, the United States and elsewhere. This lithograph, forming the frontispiece to the first-edition vocal score of La favorite, depicts Rosine Stoltz as Léonor and Gilbert Duprez as Fernand.

Lithograph credit: Émile Desmaisons, after François-Gabriel Lépaulle; restored by Adam Cuerden

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