Lot 59: G. DONIZETTI, LENGTHY AUTOGRAPH LETTER ABOUT THE PARIS OPÉRA, TO THE SINGER PAUL BARROILHET, 1845

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May 22, 2018, 3:00 PM BST
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Description: with a phrase of music in place of a signature at the end, notated on a hand-drawn stave ("un abbraccio dal tuo aff[ettuoso] [nine-note musical phrase]...c'est un soldat qui revient de l'allemagne, où il fait cocagne le jour, la nuit"), 

comprising a lengthy diatribe against the management of the Paris Opéra, in which he describes being messed around by the director Léon Pillet and the librettist Eugène Scribe, regarding projects based on Jeanne la folle and Le duc d’Albe, saying dealing with the former had been a “nightmare”, describing another subject, which appeared initially attractive, but which in fact contained everything that he has always abhorred in opera, complaining that he was continually asked by Pillet to wait (“aspettate, aspettate”) for Le duc d’Albe to be produced (when the Scribe could easily have made any necessary adjustments), so that he came to feel he was merely a backup in case Meyerbeer failed to compose an opera, and so eventually he decided to leave Paris for Vienna; Donizetti discusses a piece he has written for Barroilhet, asking if he wants him to change the middle section so that it ends in D major or B-flat major, reports the state of the Vienna Opera, saying it is going from bad to worse and that only the soprano Fanny Persiani saves it, and even the ballerina Fanny Elssler is not good as she was, so he does not attend much, concluding by assuring him that he living a contented life in Vienna without working 

"...Poi sorsero fra’ loro i puntigli, poi Scribe non dovea più far poema, da questo, processo pel Duca D’alba, ed io poveretto, che parti sì contento, mi trovo balzato di quà, e di là, da’ que’ stessi, che tutto mi han promesso. Ora Mr Pillet mi dice ancora 'Aspettate, vediamo se Meyerbeer dà, o non dà la sua Opera!'’...”

3 pages, 4to (c.27.5 x 22cm), integral autograph address-panel, annotation by Ricordi's [Giacomo] Pedroni at the end, postmarked, Vienna 24 April 1845, the leaves separated, splitting and small tears at folds, some perforation from the oxidation of Donizetti’s ink

Condition Report: Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Provenance: A Unique and Extremely Important Collection of Autograph Letters and Manuscripts of the World's Greatest Composers (ex- Meyer Cohn Collection), London: J. Pearson Ltd, [c.1905], item no.23; Parke-Bernet, NY, 1969, lot 131 (Estate of Ogden L. Mills)
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Auction at a Glance

Musical Manuscripts

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Sotheby's
May 22, 2018, 3:00 PM BST Live Auction

London, United Kingdom