A collection of 7 autograph letters from the famed baritone (and later tenor) to the noted tenor Leo Slezak (1873-1946). Jean DE RESZKE.

A collection of 7 autograph letters from the famed baritone (and later tenor) to the noted tenor Leo Slezak (1873-1946)

- August 6, 1908
2 pp. Oblong octavo. In black ink. On a card with the address "53 Rue de la Faisanderie" embossed at head. With autograph envelope postmarked Deauville, [August] 7l [1908] and Kramsach-Ache[n]rain [?]August, [19]08. In French (with translation). De Reszke has sent two scores to Slezak, in which he has marked the breaks "according to the traditions of the [?Paris] Opera." He (rightly) predicts that his pupil and successor will have a great international career. "I think a lot about your beautiful voice and your very artistic temperament – and I am certain that you will have a great success in your international career." Printed address crossed out and replaced with "Deauville - Villa Eole" in de Reszke's autograph.

- April 4, 1909
2 pp. Oblong octavo. In black ink. On a card with "53 Rue de la Faisanderie" embossed at head. With autograph envelope postmarked [?]Paris, April 5, [19]09 and Vienna, April 7, [19]09. In Italian (with translation). De Reszke congratulations Slezak on his much deserved triumphs. He will write administrator Henry Higgins (1855-1928) in order to secure the role of Otello for Slezak in an upcoming production at Covent Garden. He also mentions Marcella Sembrich (1858-1935), a noted Polish soprano, and the composer Baron Frédéric d'Erlanger (1868-1943). "You can't imagine how happy and proud I am of your triumphs... all that has come [in your career] you merit by the sacrifice you have imposed upon yourself, and the true and hard work that you undertook with so much courage... Sembrich was also very kind to me. I will write immediately to Higgins for the debut in Otello. I'm afraid that d'Erlanger would like you to sing his opera first, but I will explain to Higgins that this would be a mistake on the Direction's part."

- February 5, 1911
2 pp. Oblong octavo. In black ink. On card with "53 Rue de la Faisanderie" embossed at head. In Italian (with translation). De Reszke worries about Slezak's relationship with certain members of the Metropolitan Opera Company, including general manager, Giulio Gatti-Casazza (1869-1940), and star tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). De Reszke notes the successes of some of his other students, including the American soprano, Lucille Marcel (1877-1921), whom he notes "is always with W." Marcel had just married the Viennese conductor Felix Weingartner (1863-1942) in 1910, and it is to him that De Reszke probably refers here. "You are always in my thoughts and I was often telling myself 'who knows if [Giulio] Gatti-Casazza and this whole Italian group will try to harm you?' I see that I was not wrong... I didn't believe that Caruso could scheme at this point... I hope that you will not cause too much bad blood for yourself because it's not worth the pain and [your] health and the first thing... [Lucille] Marcel is always with W. She sang [...?] in Rome with sensational public success."

- April 4, 1911
2 pp. Oblong octavo. In black ink. On card with "53 Rue de la Faisanderie" embossed at head. In Italian (with translation). De Reszke looks forward to seeing Slezak again after the latter's season has ended. He then passes judgment on two of the most prominent tenors of the day, his student Johannes Sembach (1881-1944) and Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). "It seems that Caruso has been very ill in the throat and remained for some weeks without singing; it was a punishment for the intrigues... Now I have the tenor [Johannes] Sembach from Dresden, whom the direction sent me for a year; his voice is good, pleasant, be he had no idea how to place the high notes, [and] for that reason he forced in a terrible way." According to the April 10, 1911 issue of Opera News, laryngitis and an "attack of the grip" forced Caruso to cancel engagements at the Metropolitan Opera and in Rome.

- [?]June 29, 1911
1 page. On a postal card. Postmarked Deauville Calvados. In black ink. With photograph of the villa "Mon Rêve" in Bénerville to verso. In Italian (with translation). De Reszke will try to secure performances for Slezak. They will soon have the opportunity to meet. "I will write immediately to Warsaw to find out if someone can arrange a series of concerts for you. We will absolutely pass through Vienna towards the 12th or 13th to go to Poland, where I have many affairs to complete. So we will certainly see each other again." A subsequent letter dated September 23, 1911 indicates that De Reszke had, indeed, used his influence to arrange a series of performances for Slezak at the Imperial Theatre in Warsaw.

- September 23, 1911
2 pp. of a bifolium. Octavo. In black ink on lined paper. In Italian (with translation). De Reszke helps Slezak negotiate terms for a series of performances at the Imperial Theater of Warsaw. He mentions the prominent Italian baritone, Mattia Battistini: an Otello featuring Slezak and Battistini (as Otello and Iago, respectively) would be beautiful indeed. "The Direction of the Imperial Theater of Warsaw will be extremely happy to offer you some performances; but there is the practice that the artist or his representative establish a relationship with them [i.e. the Direction]. You write, therefore, that based on my proposition, you offer your services from the 31st to the 11th of December, that you want to sing Aida, Otello, or some other arrangements, and that you ask for a fee that is, naturally, very very minimal, as a dispensation from your usual [fees], but only for the pleasure of making yourself known in Warsaw. [Mattia] Battistini will be there in December. It would be a beautiful Otello to give with you two."

- July 16, 1921
3 pp. of a bifolium. Puy-de-Dôme. In black ink on mourning stationery. In French (with translation). A heart-wrenching letter from an old and dejected De Reszke to his favorite pupil. Aside from a slightly elevated arterial pressure, De Reszke is in good health; his singing and his students allow him to forget an "awful reality." He mentions the deaths of several people close to him, including his son; his brother, the great bass Edouard De Reszke; and his student Lucille Marcel, a prominent American soprano and third wife of conductor Felix Weingartner. He is happy about Slezak's frequent singing and "glorious voice," which "always resounds exultantly." "My two brothers and my son dead during this cursed war and I, the only Reszke, the last of my name, remain to sustain my poor wife who, inconsolable, languishes in a lamentable existence divided between tears and morphine."

Some signs of wear but in very good condition overall.

Polish baritone, and later tenor, Jean de Reszke (1850-1925) was one of the most famous opera singers of the late nineteenth century. "His beautiful voice, fine musicianship and handsome appearance made him unsurpassed in the French repertory, as well as in the Wagner roles he sang with such distinction." Elizabeth Forbes in Grove Music Online.

Leo Slezak (1873-1946) was a prominent Austrian-Czech tenor who "combined great warmth and brilliance of tone with clear enunciation and a most delicate use of mezza voce." After a hiatus of nine years, and a period of intensive study with Jean de Reszke, Slezak reappeared at Covent Garden to sing the title role in Verdi's Otello "with robust power and beauty of tone." Indeed, he became one of the most famous Otellos of his generation. Desmond Shawe-Taylor in Grove Music Online. Item #23554

Price: $1,500.00  other currencies

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