After the acclaimed premiere of La gazza ladra in 1817 at La Scala in Milan, Rossini received a commission from there for another opera at a princely fee for the time. Unfortunately, however, the hoped-for success of Bianca e Falliero failed to materialize at the premiere on December 26, 1819, which is why the work, in which Rossini had again made secondary use of melodies from other operas, was seldom reprised and ultimately fell into oblivion altogether. The enormous demands on the singers certainly contributed to this. This time the composer did not understand the virtuoso coloratura as vocal acrobatics, but as a dramatic stylistic device. In 1986 there was a highly acclaimed production in Pesaro with Katia Ricciarelli and Marilyn Horne; nevertheless, the opera could not really establish itself in the repertoire, so that it is now being presented in Frankfurt for the first time.
About the content: The families of the two Venetian senators Capellio and Contareno live in dispute for years. The marriage of Capellio to Contareno's daughter Bianca is supposed to finally put an end to this dispute. Although the young woman loves General Falliero, she is willing to give in to her father's insistence. When Falliero learns of this, he persuades the mistress to flee together. However, this is thwarted and the young man is accused by the Senate. Contareno wants to use the chance to eliminate Falliero and signs the verdict. Capellio, on the other hand, refuses to agree. Moved by Bianca's testimony, he wants to help her to her happiness. Thereupon Contareno also withdraws his objections.