Two autograph letters signed "J Belval" concerning a lawsuit at the Paris Opéra. Jules-Bernard BELVAL.
Two autograph letters signed "J Belval" concerning a lawsuit at the Paris Opéra

Two autograph letters signed "J Belval" concerning a lawsuit at the Paris Opéra

Letter 1:
2 pp. of a bifolium. Octavo. Dated Dole-du-Jura, June 15, 1870. In black ink. In French (with translation).

Belval has taken advantage of his one-month leave to visit his maternal home. Although he will probably not return to Paris before the end of June, he gratefully accepts his correspondent's intercession on his behalf (via a brother who is close to the Minister). As soon as Belval returns to Paris, he will visit his correspondent, because he anticipates a continuation of hostilities, the cause of which "are a mystery to no one at the [Paris] Opéra."

"Next July 31st, I will have acquired my rights to [my] retirement pension [la pension de réforme]. I intend to exercise them, because I confess to you that I do not have the fortitude, even with the prospect of the 'grand pension' in five years, to continue to live with a director so false and with so little honor as Mr. Perrin."

Slightly worn; creased at folds and slightly overall.

Letter 2:
5 pp. 12mo, ca. 134 x 107 mm. Dated Neuilly, August 20, 1870. In black ink. On personal stationery with embossed monogram printed in green at head. In French (with translation).

Belval recounts in great detail his ongoing dispute with the director of the Paris Opéra, Mr. Émile Perrin, and asks for his correspondent's advice and his intervention. He has somewhat changed his mind since June 15: he would like finish his twenty years of service at the Opéra, so he can receive his full pension, but the director has refused: "I request the continuation, pure and simple, of my contract, the upholding of my position at the Opéra until the completion of my twenty years of service–I have 15!... The Director... maintains and writes to me that I am free from the 31st of July [18]70, the date of the expiration of my engagement, and that he is not forced to keep me. His objective... is to impose an annual reduction of 10,000 francs on my appointments." Belval claims that Perrin's dismissal is illegal for two reasons: first, because the Ministry must approve of the dismissal, and second, because an artist in the full possession of his faculties cannot be dismissed. Belval has written to Mr. Gautier, an important government official, but he has not received a response. It may be necessary to present his case to the State Council [Conseil d'Etat].

Slightly soiled and creased.

Belval, a French bass, "studied at the Paris Conservatoire and made his début in 1846 at Antwerp. After singing in Toulouse, Lyons, the Hague, Ghent and Brussels, he was engaged at the Paris Opéra, making his début in 1855 as Marcel in Les Huguenots. His roles included Bertram (Robert le diable), Balthazar (La favorite), Walter Furst (Guillaume Tell) and Zaccharie (Le prophéte). He took part in many premiéres and created Gargantua in Labarre’s Pantagruel (1855), the Count of Poitou in Halévy’s La magicienne (1858), Soloman in Gounod’s La reine de Saba (1862), Archbishop Turpin in Mermet’s Roland à Roncevaux (1864), Don Pédro in L’Africaine (1865) and King Claudius in Thomas’ Hamlet (1868). His voice was a deep bass, ample in size and dark in tone... He made his last appearance at the [Paris] Opéra in 1875 as Cardinal Brogni in La Juive, at the public inauguration of the Palais Garnier." Elizabeth Forbes in Grove Music Online. Item #23634

Price: $350.00  other currencies

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