Autograph letter signed "G. Verdi" to the librettist Francesco Piave concerning Jérusalem
by VERDI, Giuseppe 1813-1901
"Verdi's adaptation of I Lombardi as Jérusalem was his first attempt to conquer the all important stage of the Paris Opéra. This letter gives a vivid impression of his life at the height of his 'anni di galera', when his operas were in such demand that he exhausted himself fulfilling commissions. The wife of the impresario Francesco Lucca had told Verdi that her husband was unable to sleep for the fact that he had not been able to have one of Verdi's operas for his house. Finally Verdi agreed to write Il corsaro for Lucca, an opera with a libretto by Piave, that the composer felt to be something of a potboiler." Sotheby's auction catalogue, December 1, 1994. Jérusalem was first performed at the Opéra on November 26, 1847 and Il Corsaro at the Teatro Grande in Trieste on October 25, 1848.Piave (1810-1876) and Verdi "began a long and successful collaboration from Ernani (1844) to La forza del destino (1862). During these years Piave supplied Verdi with the texts for I due Foscari (1844), Macbeth (1847), Il corsaro (1848), Stiffelio (1850), Rigoletto (1851), La traviata (1853), Simon Boccanegra (1857) and Aroldo (1857)... [He] had a wide vocabulary and a facile pen, and an uncanny ability for turning Verdi's drafts into verse with an economy of words that satisfied Verdi's insistence on brevity and provided him with the striking, illuminating expressions he sought. It was Piave's willingness to meet Verdi's detailed requirements which provided the basis of their work together, and it is on this partnership that his reputation as a librettist must rest." John Black in Grove Music Online.. 3 pp. of a bifolium. Octavo. Dated Paris, September 3, 1847. On stationery with a small crest blindstamped to upper right corner. In Italian (with translation). Verdi explains that Jérusalem, a French adaptation of I Lombardi, will be similar to Rossini's adaptation of Mosè in Egitto. His work for the Opéra prevents him from writing a work for Venice, and he confesses that he would rather not write an opera for the publisher Francesco Lucca. Although his health has improved, he is extremely tired. He gives his regards to numerous friends. "I received your dearest letter with great joy and am mortified that I did not answer the one you sent to London. Anyway, I cannot write this Carnevale in Venice: I have a lot to do here for the Opéra. I will certainly not write the Gastone, as you say, but it will be an adaptation of I Lombardi, adding new pieces, and adjusting it here and there as Rossini did with the new Mosè, etc. ... Regarding the libretto, I will try to do my best not to disappoint you, but I cannot promise you anything now because I have no time to think about what I will do. I would do anything to get rid of Lucca's opera... Oh, if only I could not work!! Do you understand this fine word? ... Not to work..."Very slightly worn and foxed; creased at folds; occasional smudging, not affecting legibility. (Inventory #: 24251)
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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