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Francesco Maria Piave


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Francesco Maria Piave (18 May 1810 – 5 March 1876) was an Italian opera librettist who was born in Murano in the lagoon of Venice, during the brief Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.
His career spanned over twenty years working with many of the significant composers of his day.
In addition to Giuseppe Verdi, for whom he was to write 10 librettos, other composers include Giovanni Pacini (four librettos), Saverio Mercadante (at least one), Federico Ricci, even one for Michael Balfe.

Piave was not only a librettist, but a journalist and translator.

He was resident poet and stage manager at La Fenice in Venice and later at La Scala in Milan.
His expertise as a stage manager and tact as a negotiator served Verdi well over the years, although Verdi bullied him mercilessly.
For example, during the efforts to have Rigoletto approved by the censors, Verdi goaded Piave to make every effort to get the subject approved: “Turn Venice upside down to make the censors permit this subject”

Later, Verdi wrote to him not to allow matters to drag on:
If I were the poet, I would be very, very concerned, all the more because you would have a great deal of responsibility if by chance (may the Devil not make it happen) they should not allow this drama “
But the librettist became Verdi’s life-long friend and collaborator - “someone Verdi loved”, following Salvadore Cammarano as Verdi’s main mid-career librettist and writing the libretti for Verdi’s operas Ernani (1844), I due Foscari (1844), Attila (1846), Macbeth (1847), Il Corsaro (1848), Stiffelio (1850), Rigoletto (1851), La traviata (1853) Simon Boccanegra (1857), and La forza del destino (1862).

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