Autograph letter signed "Spontini" to [Johann Valentin] Teichmann
by SPONTINI, Gaspare 1774-1851
Spontini "dominated serious grand opera of the early 19th century in Paris and later in Berlin... Although Fernand Cortez was taken out of the repertory in 1810, that year proved to be the peak of Spontini's career. In February he was appointed directeur de la musique de l'opéra buffa at the Théâtre de l'Impératrice and was able to put his ideas for repertory - concentrating on performances of Cimarosa and Mozart - into practice at the Théâtre Italien. In July he was awarded a newly created prize for the best opera of the decade, for La vestale, and in the same month he married Marie-Cathérine-Céleste Erard, daughter of the pianoforte maker and publisher Jean-Baptiste Erard. After Napoleon's fall from power Spontini withdrew from the public eye for some time, but he greeted the return of the Bourbon kings in August 1814 with Pélage and he was restored for a time to the position at the Théâtre Italien which he had given up in 1812." Anselm Gerhard in Grove Music Online. His last opera, Agnes von Hohenstaufen, was first performed at the Königliches Opernhaus in Berlin on June 12, 1829. After extensive revisions, a second version was performed on December 6, 1837; the present letter most probably refers to a production of the second version of the work. Spontini was the Generalmusikdirektor and leading musician at the court of King Friedrich Wilhelm III in Berlin at this time, where he was welcomed by such prominent intellectuals as E.T.A. Hoffmann. A devotee of the theater, Johann Valentin Teichmann (1791-1860) was in close contact with prominent artists, musicians, and dramatic poets in Berlin. His literary output included a history of the Royal Theatre in Berlin from 1740 to 1840 and a collected edition of letters from writers, such as Goethe and Schiller, who corresponded with the Royal Theatre.. 1 page. Octavo. Dated [Berlin,] December [?]28, 1834. In French (with translation). Spontini asks Teichmann to thank those involved in a production of his opera, Agnes, for which he would also like seats for that evening's performance."I beg Councillor Teichmann to convey my regards to the choir members, extra choir members, the two choir directors and Mrs. Hochstetter, as well as to several assistants who led the rehearsals of Agnes with zeal and talent, to which Mr. Henning, the music director, contributed the most of all." Slightly worn, browned, foxed and stained; creased at folds and somewhat overall; several edge tears; some show-through; remnants of former mount to verso. (Inventory #: 23394)
Musical Autographs and Manuscripts; Rare Books on Music and Dance; First and Early Editions of Printed Music; Prints, Drawings and Ephemera relating to Music and Dance including Opera and Ballet.
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