La Favorite

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La Favorite ("The Favourite") is an opera in four acts by Gaetano Donizetti, with a French libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz.

Also known by the Italian title of La Favorita.

The original text

Based on the play Le Comte de Comminges by Baculard d'Arnaud, the romantic opera tells of the struggles of the King of Castile, Alfonso XI, and his mistress, the "favourite" Leonora, against the backdrop of the political wiles of receding Moorish Spain and the life of the Catholic Church. It premiered on December 2, 1840 at the Académie Royale de Musique (Salle Le Peletier) in Paris, France.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1895: Performed as La Favorita by the Ancarina Massimimi Italian Opera Company in the Opera House, Cape Town, early in the year. Though the company's performances in its extensive repertoire were considered excellent performers by Boonzaier (1923), he says that the company failed to gain much public support and that the entire undertaking was "a disastrous failure".


D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.203-205

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