Autograph letter signed "Bonus" to "Melchior" [the German conductor, Hermann Levi] discussing the Munich premiere of the composer's opera Hänsel und Gretel. Engelbert HUMPERDINCK.

Autograph letter signed "Bonus" to "Melchior" [the German conductor, Hermann Levi] discussing the Munich premiere of the composer's opera Hänsel und Gretel

2 pp. of a bifolium. Octavo. Dated Frankfurt, [?]September 27, 1893. With address "Frankfurt a. M. Eschersheimer Landstr. 100" stamped in purple ink to head. In German (with translation).

An important letter about the forthcoming Munich premiere of Humperdinck's opera, Hänsel und Gretel. The composer discusses casting, musical alterations, and a piano reduction of the opera with his correspondent, the prominent conductor, Hermann Levi. He also names several singers active in Munich, including Hermann Gura and Emanuela Frank.

"For the part of the father, more consideration has to be given to the acting abilities rather than those of the voice; I believe, thus, that [Hermann] Gura is the right man for the job... With regards to the Hansel part, I will be glad to approve, if some parts are placed in a higher register... I was in Mainz yesterday, at Schott's, and learned that the completion of the piano reduction by the beginning of November is impossible."

Slightly worn and stained; creased at folds; some words to first page slightly waterstained, not affecting legibility.

Together with a vintage bust-length postcard photograph. Postmarked [?]Vienna, August, [19][?]23. Slightly worn.

Hermann Levi (1839-1900) was the general music director of Munich at the time of this letter. "While working together in Bayreuth, Humperdinck and Levi had become good friends, calling one another by the nicknames 'Bonus' and 'Melchior.' In the summer of 1891, Humperdinck had come to see Parsifal with Hugo Wolf and when he met Levi, he told him of his new fairy tale opera [Hänsel and Gretel]. Levi was interested and asked to have the orchestra part for a composer's festival in Munich. Humperdinck sent him the Dream Pantomime, but the score arrived too late for the concert. Meanwhile Levi was soon so delighted by Humperdinck's music that he asked [Ernst von] Possart to secure the rights for the first performance of the opera. [Felix] Mottl from Karlsruhe and [Richard] Strauss from Vienna also both wanted to perform it. But Humperdinck said that if 'Melchior' were to conduct it, the first performance would have to be in Munich." Frithjof Haas: Hermann Levi: From Brahms to Wagner.

Unfortunately, the Munich première, which was to occur on December 14, 1893, had to be postponed because one of the principal singers fell ill. Richard Strauss premièred the work instead, on December 23, 1893 at the Hoftheater in Weimar. Item #23505

Price: $1,500.00  other currencies

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