Il Bravo, the assassin, prowls the streets of Venice at night. A long time ago, he killed his wife in a crime passionnel, whereupon the Council of Ten, the most important executive body of the Republic of Venice, made him their secret assassin. And just to make sure Il Bravo does their bidding, they hold his father hostage. Everything changes when the banished patrician Pisani makes advances on the fair Violetta, whom Il Bravo has been charged with protecting. And who is the mysterious courtesan Teodora?
Il bravo is one of the most important late works of the Italian composer Saverio Mercadante. The libretto is from the pen of Gaetano Rossi, who wrote for the greatest opera composers of the age, including Donizetti, Rossini, and Meyerbeer. His source was the novel The Bravo by James Fenimore Cooper, whose Leatherstocking novels and The Last of the Mohicans have remained popular to this day. Mercadante’s opera premiered at La Scala Milan in 1839 and inspired the young Giuseppe Verdi, among others. There are even some musical echoes of it in Rigoletto.
The Wexford Festival’s policy of rediscovering forgotten works from the history of opera has brought some real gems to light. Rubens Pelizzari in the role of the assassin will be joined by the Wexford Festival Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Brandani. The staging, costumes, and set design are the work of Renaud Doucet and André Barbe, a duo whose productions have already won them acclaim in both Europe and the U.S.A.