He was born March 8, 1840, at Verona, of parents in humble circumstances, who deprived themselves almost of the necessaries of life in order to give their son a musical education.
In November 1855 he entered the Conservatorio of Milan, where he made remarkable progress in composition under Ronchetti.
An overture by him was played at one of the students’ concerts in 1860.
In the following year he left the institution, and on November 10, 1863, he had the good fortune to have a three act opera, ‘I Profughi Fiamminghi’, performed at La Scala.
Before this remarkable work, written in collaboration with his friend Boito, and entitled ‘Le Sorelle d’Italia’, had been perfrmed at the Conservatorio.
The same friend, for whom he had formed a warm attachment during the time of their studentship, wrote him the libretto of ‘Amleto’, which was given with success at the Teatro Carlo Fenice, at Genoa, on May 30, 1865 (not at Florence, as Pougin states), but which was unfavourably received at the Scala in February 1871.
In 1866 he fought, together with Boito, in the Garibaldian army, and in 1867-68 undertook a tour in Scandinavia.
A symphony in F dates from about this time.
In July 1868 he succeeded Croff as professor of harmony in the Conservatorio, and after acquiring great experience as a conductor at the Teatro Carcano, was made condutor at La Scala.
A Cantata d’inaugurazione was performed in 1884, and two sets of songs by him have been published by Ricordi.
Faccio held an important position among the advanced musician of Italy, and as a composer his works command attention by their originality. It was, however, as a conductor that he made his greatest success, and he was rightly considered as the greatest Italian conductor of his time.
He directed the first European performance of Verdi’s ‘Aido’ in 1872, and the production of his ‘Otello’ in 1887, both at Milan.
He visited England and conducted the performanes of ‘Otello’ at the Lyceum Theatre in July 1889; and died at the Biffi Sanatorium, Monza, July 23, 1891.