4 pp. of a bifolium. Octavo. Dated Paris, October 19, 1859. In Wagner's characteristically dense, elegant script. In German (with translation).
Wagner, who has recently moved from Zurich to Paris and is in even more financial need than usual, turns to Josef Tichatschek in Dresden, the tenor who created the roles of Rienzi and Tannhäuser, asking him for an advance of 5,000 francs. As security, he offers his fees from productions of his operas planned for the following spring that will enable him to pay off his debt: Tannhäuser in Paris and Tristan und Isolde (yet unperformed) in Karlsruhe and Vienna. Wagner warns Tichatschek that nobody in Paris must learn about his precarious situation and laments his inability to return to Dresden (where there was a warrant for his arrest).
"It has been impossible for me to raise this money merely by doing business, hence I have to resort to the help of friends, then I always hear how they love and esteem me, the wretched devil, in Dresden... Do you know anybody who would be capable of extending this advance of 5,000 fr. to me? ... See to it, for heaven’s sake, what an act of friendship may make possible. ... But, most importantly, my wife must not have any clue about it; she would get terribly excited if she knew of the predicament I am in. Thus, your wife must not know anything either."
From the noted Burrell Collection.
Very slightly worn.
Wagner-Briefe-Verzeichnis 2565. German original published in Dürrer, ed.: Richard Wagner: Sämtliche Briefe, Vol. 11, pp. 307-308 and 541 (letter no. 176); earlier in Burk, ed.: Richard Wagner: Briefe Die Sammlung Burrell, 337B, pp. 220-222. Full English translation in Burk, ed.: Letters of Richard Wagner: The Burrell Collection, pp. 160-161.
Tichatschek (1807-1886), a friend of Wagner's since the early 1840s, continued to live in Dresden until his death. “His range included lyric tenor and Spieltenor parts, but he was also the prototype of the Wagner Heldentenor, creating the title roles of Rienzi (20 October 1842) and Tannhäuser (19 October 1845). All opinions agree on the beauty and brilliance of Tichatschek’s voice… In 1840 Otto Nicolai called him the greatest German tenor, and Cornelius was deeply moved by his Lohengrin in 1867 (although King Ludwig II of Bavaria was in the same year distressed by his unromantic appearance in the part). Berlioz described him in the role of Rienzi as ‘brilliant and irresistible… elegant, impassioned, heroic, his fine voice and great lustrous lustrous eyes marvelously effective.’ " John Warrack in Grove Music Online. Item #23515
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