2 pp. of a bifolium. Octavo. Dated Paris, August 16, 1901. Decorative initial incorporating a serpent's head and text in black ink on lined paper. In French (with translation).
Saint-Saëns discusses the casting of the principal tenor role for the première of his opera, Les barbares. Saint-Saën's correspondent was probably Victorien Sardou, the opera's co-librettist.
"[Guillaume] Ibos has stage presence and shines with a lively radiance in loud passages, but sings flat in soft passages... [Emilio de] Marchi, the new Italian phoenix, doesn't sing in French... [Albert] Vaguet will sing wonderfully. As an actor, he's not bad, he's hopeless; but perhaps with your advice we will do something about him because he is full of drive. He is already a favorite with the opera audience."
Slightly worn, browned and stained; creased at folds and somewhat overall; short splits to at upper and lower portions of central fold; small edge tears.
Albert Vaguet (1865-1943) did indeed sing Marcomir, the principal tenor role, in the première of Les barbares, which took place at the Paris Opéra on October 23, 1901. Guillaume Ibos (1860-1952) sang the title role in the first Paris performance of Massenet's opera Werther in 1893. In 1900, the year before this letter was written, Emilio de Marchi (1861-1917) created the role of Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca.
Victorien Sardou (1831-1908) was a prominent French dramatist best known for his historical melodramas and comedies. Opera composers were attracted to his melodramas in particular: Puccini's Tosca, for instance, is based on Sardou's play of the same name. Although he himself did not provide many libretti, he worked closely with Saint-Saëns on Les barbares. Item #23509
Price: $750.00 other currencies