Autograph letter signed "R. Leoncavallo" to an unidentified female correspondent, addressed "Chère et excellent amie." Ruggero LEONCAVALLO.

Autograph letter signed "R. Leoncavallo" to an unidentified female correspondent, addressed "Chère et excellent amie."

4 pp. of a bifolium. Ca. 188 x 90 mm. Dated Trent, March 5, 1898. In French (with translation).

An intriguing letter in which Leoncavallo discusses various performances of his opera, La Bohème. He writes from Trent, where he is negotiating a performance; his publisher, Sonzogno, begs him to help with rehearsals for another. Most importantly, he asks his female correspondent, a "dear friend," to contact Wilhelm Jahn, former director of the Vienna Court Opera, on his behalf, so that Jahn may placate the tenor, Ernest Van Dyck.

"I'm permitting myself to add to this letter a few words for the dear Maestro [Jahn], whose address I don't know... so that he may intervene with [Ernest] Van Dyck in order to persuade him not to be angry with me. Do you think he had decided that he would sing my Bohème in London with [Frances] Saville in French?"

Creased at folds. In very good condition overall.

Among the persons mentioned in the present letter, Wilhelm Jahn (1835-1900) was the director at the Vienna Court Opera from 1880 until 1897, when he was succeeded by Gustav Mahler; Ernest Van Dyck (1861-1923) and Frances Saville (1865-1935) were, likewise, noted singers at the Vienna Court Opera. As this and other letters attest, Leoncavallo seems to have had an uneasy relationship with Van Dyck, and, indeed, others at the Vienna Court Opera. On September 18, 1897 Leoncavallo had written Van Dyck "a furious letter from Hamburg, disgusted that the tenor had refused to sing Marcello in Vienna, which meant that La Bohème would have to be postponed, further strengthening the composer's assumption that Ricordi, Puccini, and Mahler were out to destroy his fourteen-year-old reputation." (Konrad Dryden in Leoncavallo: Life and Works, pp. 71-72). Giacomo Puccini had vied with Leoncavallo to secure a performance of his own La Bohème at the Court Opera. In spite of Mahler's preference for the Puccini version, Leoncavallo's Bohème was performed instead, on February 23, 1898, thanks to Wilhelm Jahn's intervention.

Leoncavallo's Bohème was first performed in Venice at the Teatro La Fenice on May 6, 1897. Item #23488

Price: $750.00  other currencies

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