For Bianca e Falliero, part of the critics accused the composer Gioachino Rossini of having used excessive ornaments in the coloratura; the opera still received quite a good success also abroad, after it was revised and improved with of new pieces, until the original essence was completely transformed. However, in this work, the contralto, surely Rossini’s favourite register, has the chance to show off the almost unhuman vocal virtuosos, making it a real pleasure for Bel Canto lovers.
Synopsis Bianca e Falliero
Contareno and Capellio, two Venetian Senators whose families have for many years been fighting, meet and hope for a reconciliation. Capellio declares that he is in love with Bianca, Contareno's daughter, and that he will stop the quarrel if he is allowed to marry her. Capellio agrees. An official arrives to inform the Doge that Falliero has, in fact, won the battle against the Spanish. When Falliero enters, is welcomed joyously by the crowd. He announces that the Spanish army has been defeated, and he is praised by the Doge. Meanwhile, in Contareno's house, Bianca and her maidens celebrate the safe return of Falliero, whom Bianca loves. When Costanza, her maid, leaves, Contareno enters and tells Bianca that she has to marry Cappelio. Bianca unhappily submits to his will. Later, Falliero secretly enters Bianca's room with Costanza's help and Bianca tells him about the father's order. Soon Falliero is forced to leave the house and Contareno and Capellio enter. Contareno orders Bianca to sign the marriage contract and when she is about to sign, Falliero bursts into the room and Contareno orders his servants to throw him out of the house.
Pensa che omai resistere, Cavatina di Contareno
Sappi che un dio crudele, Duetto fra Bianca e Falliero
Fausto Imene e di gioia cagione, Coro, Contareno, Capellio, Bianca, Falliero
At night, Bianca and Costanza are about to meet Falliero for a last farewell. Bianca fears for Falliero's life and when he enters, he begs Bianca to run away with him. She can't disobey her father, however, when Falliero declares that his life depends upon her, she agrees to flee with him. As they are about to leave, Costanza returns to warn them that Contareno is arriving. Falliero's only way of escape is to climb over the wall, into the Spanish Ambassador's residence. He does so, just before Contareno arrives followed by Capellio. Pisani, the Chancellor of the Council of Three, arrives with the news that Falliero has been caught within the Spanish Ambassador's residence, and is about to be put on trial by the Council of Three. Falliero is brought in under guard. HIs judges are, unfortunately, Loredano, Capellio and Contareno. He refuses to defend himself and agrees to sign an admission of his guilt. Before he can do so, Bianca enters and explains how Falliero ended up in the Spanish Ambassador's residence, and Falliero, now assured of Bianca's love, declares his innocence. Contareno still wishes to find him guilty, and signs the death warrant. Loredano does so as well, but Capellio pushes the warrant away. Falliero is then found innocent by the Senate and Contareno consents to the marriage of him and his daughter.