March 5, 1868 – Mefistofele, an opera by Arrigo Boito receives its première performance at La Scala.
Mefistofele is an opera in a prologue, four acts and an epilogue, the only completed opera with music by the Italian composer – librettist Arrigo Boito (there are several completed operas for which he was librettist only). The opera was given its premiere at La Scala in Milan under the baton of the composer, despite his lack of experience and skill as a conductor.
Boito made the title character one of the great bass-baritone roles in opera.
However, it was not a success and was immediately withdrawn after only two performances. Revisions in 1875 resulted in success in Bologna and, with further adjustments in 1876 for Venice, the opera was performed elsewhere.
Arrigo Boito, who wrote essays under the anagrammatic pseudonym of Tobia Gorrio), was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, librettist and composer, best known today for his libretti, especially those for Giuseppi Verdi’s operas Otello and Falstaff, and his own opera Mefistofele. Along with Emilio Praga, and his own brother Camillo Boito he is regarded as one of the prominent representatives of the Scapigliatura artistic movement.
A couple of stamps have been issued that picture Mefistofele and Arrigo Boito – the agent of the Devil – from both Germany (Scott #1304) and Italy (Scott #982).