Fabrizio Funari | The librettist2019-06-05T21:14:08+00:00


  1. Librettos should describe non-normative narratives and identities. This queering approach should be understood purely in its broader academic terms (i.e. the study of literature, discourse and other social and cultural areas from a non-normative perspective including social, economic, political and cultural issues and identities).
  2. The librettist should consider the collective imaginary solely as an aesthetic means rather than a digestible end.
  3. Librettos should reflect all contemporaneity and should not be elitist.
  4. Librettos should deploy a certain degree of symbolism yet hermeticism must be avoided.
  5. Librettos should be ambiguous as they portray reality and all reality is ambiguous.
  6. Similar to reality, librettos have no beginning or end.
  7. The librettist should defy normative language and be anti-prescriptive.
  8. Opera should be considered as a synthesis of the arts so long as all its elements have authentic artistic and intellectual values in their own right.
  9. Librettists should aim to actively work together with other artists as well as composers, directors and everyone involved in production.
  10. Realism, realism, realism. Consciousness, consciousness, consciousness. Boomboom, boomboom, boomboom.


Fabrizio Funari was born in Rome, Italy, in 1991. His long-term passion for music and lyricism began at the age of thirteen with the songwriting and recording of two single EPs. From a young age, he has always been interested in theatre and opera: first as an acting and directing student and later as a lyricist and playwright. Fascinated by the norms that govern communication, he graduated in Linguistics and Oriental Languages, focusing on the philosophy of language. Polyglot, he continued his academic and professional career in London, Beijing, Madrid and Seville by writing librettos and plays in English, Spanish and Italian and collaborating with established and emerging composers such as Germán Alonso, Niño de Elche, Martin Gaughan, Kieron Smith and Marco Benetti and with international festivals such as the Venice Biennale.          

His creative engagement with contemporary opera stems from his long-term passion for ancient and postmodern literature and philosophy as well as his interest in queer theory and contemporary art to describe non-normative narratives and identities. For his line of work, he adopted a queering approach which is to be understood in its broader academic terms (i.e. the study of literature, discourse and other social and cultural areas from a non-normative perspective including social, economic, political and cultural issues and identities). Also anti-prescriptive, his writing reflects hismodus cogitandi as he restructures and reinvents its grammar, syntax, morphology and, specifically, phonetics.

Echoing Robert Bloom’s 1930 commentary on W. H. Auden’s writing, his language reveals a sense of urgency and extremity; it has time only for the most important words. Germinated in a post-capitalistic society, his work – influenced by postmodernism and the théâtre de l’absurde – is a mixture of neurotic estrangement and joie de vivrea phantasmagoric use of the language aimed at exposing the failure of communication – and understanding in contemporary society that leaves people alienated, unquestioning and conformist.

His librettos are permeated withthe music of György Ligeti, Luciano Berio and Francis Poulenc as well as the work of Michel de Ghelderode, Allen Ginsberg, Arrigo Boito, W. H. Auden, Kostantinos Kavafis, Lorenzo da Ponte, Reinaldo Arenas, Eugène Ionesco, Jean Genet, W. B. Yeats, Tristan Tzara, Jean Cocteau, the Chinese Misty Poets and Federico García Lorca.     

His work The Sins of the Cities of the Plain (commissioned by the Instituto de las Artes y Culturas de Sevilla and Fundación BBVA) is the first dramaturgical and melodramatic text in history to be written entirely in Polari, a crypto-language adopted by the fin de siècle homosexual community in the British metropolises (especially London) and progressively vanished after the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967. 


The Sins of the Cities of the Plain2019-02-19T14:34:32+00:00
The Flea2019-02-19T14:31:37+00:00
Come il Sole tra la Polvere2019-02-02T15:26:22+00:00
The Overcoat2019-02-19T14:35:56+00:00
Tredici Secondi2019-05-04T12:49:35+00:00







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Fabrizio is represented by Arcadia & Ricono, Ltd and Factotum Agency.

For professional inquiries on his work as a playwright please email
prof@arcadia-media.net or ufficio.diritti@arcadia-media.net.
For professional inquiries on his work as a librettist please email


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The librettist


"W.S. Gilbert, in full Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, (born November 18, 1836, London, England—died May 29, 1911, Harrow Weald, Middlesex, England), English playwright and humorist best known for his collaboration with Arthur Sullivan in comic operas.

Gilbert began to write in an age of rhymed couplets, puns, and travesty; his early work exhibits the facetiousness common to writers of extravaganza. But he turned away from this style and developed a genuinely artful style burlesquing contemporary behaviour. Many of his original targets are no longer topical—Pre-Raphaelite aesthetes in Patience; women’s education (Princess Ida); Victorian plays about Cornish pirates (The Pirates of Penzance); the long theatrical vogue of the “jolly jack tar” (H.M.S. Pinafore); bombastic melodrama (Ruddigore)—but Gilbert’s burlesque is so good that it creates its own truth. As a librettist, Gilbert is outstanding not only because of his gift for handling words and casting them in musical shapes but also because through his words he offered the composer opportunities for burlesquing musical conventions.

Gilbert’s early ambition was for a legal career, and a legacy in 1861 enabled him to leave the civil service to pursue it. He was called to the bar in November 1863. In 1861, however, he had begun to contribute comic verse to Fun, illustrated by himself and signed “Bab.” These pieces were later collected as The Bab Ballads (1869), followed by More Bab Ballads (1873); the two collections, containing the germ of many of the later operas, were united in a volume with Songs of a Savoyard (1898).

Gilbert’s dramatic career began when a playwright, Thomas William Robertson, recommended him as someone who could produce a bright Christmas piece in only two weeks. Gilbert promptly wrote Dulcamara; or, The Little Duck and the Great Quack, a commercial success, and other commissions followed.

The character of Nanki-Poo is pictured on a poster advertising Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, c. 1885.
Theatrical Poster Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (Digital file no. var 1766)
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In 1870 Gilbert met Sullivan, and they started working together the following year. Thespis; or, The Gods Grown Old (first performance 1871) and Trial by Jury (1875), a brilliant one-act piece, were followed by four productions staged by Richard D’Oyly Carte: The Sorcerer (1877), H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879, New York; 1880, London), and Patience; or, Bunthorne’s Bride (1881). Carte built the Savoy Theatre in 1881 for productions of the partners’ work, and their works collectively became known as the “Savoy Operas”; they included Iolanthe; or, The Peer and the Peri (1882), Princess Ida; or, Castle Adamant (1884), The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu (1885), Ruddigore; or, The Witch’s Curse (1887), The Yeomen of the Guard (1888), and The Gondoliers (1889). By this time, however, relations between the partners had become strained, partly because Sullivan aimed higher than comic opera and because Gilbert was plagued by a jealous and petty nature when it came to financial matters. A rupture occurred, and the two were estranged until 1893, when they again collaborated, producing Utopia Limited and later The Grand Duke (1896).

Gilbert wrote several popular burlesques for the dramatic stage: Sweethearts (1874), Engaged (1877), and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (1891). He also created librettos for other composers; the music for his last opera, Fallen Fairies; or, The Wicked World (1909), was by Edward German. His last play, The Hooligan, was performed in 1911. Gilbert, who was knighted in 1907, died of a heart attack brought on by rescuing a woman from drowning in a lake on his country estate."

(Source: www.britannica.com/biography/W-S-Gilbert)
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