Autograph letter signed "Malibran" to "Monsieur [?Carlo] Severini." Maria MALIBRAN.

Autograph letter signed "Malibran" to "Monsieur [?Carlo] Severini."

2 pp. of a bifolium with integral address panel. Quarto. N.d. [ca. 1829-1832]. In black ink. On stationery with watermark "Gaudin Fils 1828." In French (with translation).

Although Malibran is once again confined to bed due to poor health, she will sing in several upcoming performances.

"My health is about the same, given that yesterday I got out of bed for the first time and was obliged to return home very quickly. I am once again confined to bed. Nevertheless I expect to keep my word and take a chance Wednesday in the role of Zerlina [in Mozart's Don Giovanni] for our good [Carlo] Zucchelli. Saturday I will play Rosina [in Rossini's La Barbiere di Siviglia] if you do not object to this opera, which is the least tiring of all my roles and which will put me at least risk of a relapse. Please therefore put in all the newspapers that my perfomance will take place Sunday, because if you don't plan to announce it until Wednesday evening there will not be enough time to inform the public about it. Mr. [Charles] de Bériot is kindly taking charge of the letter I have addressed to Mr. [Louis] Véron. You will have the reply as soon as it is written to me."

Slightly worn; creased at folds; small edge tears; occasional light smudging, not affecting legibility; lacking portion of central fold and right edge of first leaf, with loss of several words; remnants of wax seal and some offsetting and bleeding to blank third page.

Together with:
A carte de visite photographic reproduction of a bust-length lithograph of Malibran published by Pierre Petit in Paris. Ca. 102 x 59 mm. Slightly worn, soiled, and foxed; trimmed and laid down to mount.

Spanish mezzo-soprano Maria Malibran was the daughter of tenor and composer Manuel Garcia the Elder, and sister of the famed singers Pauline Viardot (1821-1910) and Manuel Garcia the Younger (1805-1906). She made her London début at the King’s Theatre in June 1825 as Rosina (Il barbiere), and "her Paris début at the Théâtre Italien in Semiramide in 1828, where she also created the title role in Halévy’s Clari (1828). She reappeared at the King’s Theatre in 1829 in Otello, and then sang alternately in Paris and London until 1832, when she went to Italy... She also created the title role in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda on 30 December 1835, causing a famous scandal by ignoring some changes that the Milanese censors had insisted upon. Bellini adapted the role of Elvira in I puritani (1835, Paris) for her to sing in Naples, but the opera was turned down by the management and she never sang it. Her first marriage having eventually been annulled, she married the violinist Charles de Bériot [1802-1870] in March 1836, and at Drury Lane in May of that year created the title role in Balfe’s The Maid of Artois, which he had written for her. A riding accident when she was pregnant resulted in her death during the Manchester Festival. To judge from the parts adapted for her by both Donizetti and Bellini, the compass (g to e‴), power and flexibility of Malibran’s voice were extraordinary. Her early death turned her into something of a legendary figure with writers and poets during the later 19th century." Elizabeth Forbes in Grove Music Online.

The recipient of this letter was most likely Carlo Severini, co-director of the Théâtre Italien in Paris from 1825 until 1838. "[His] tenure was one of the high points in the history of the Théâtre Italien, a period that featured the Parisian premières of works such as Anna Bolena and La sonnambula, the world première of I puritani and regular appearances by such great singers as Grisi, Rubini, Tamburini and Lablache. In [1838] Severini met a premature death in a fire at the theatre, apparently in an attempt to save administrative papers." Steven Huebner in Grove Music Online.

Louis Véron (1798-1867) was director of the Paris Opéra from 1831-1835. "He was the first director to be permitted to operate the institution as a private enterprise, albeit with a large state subsidy and surveillance by a government commission. With the financial backing of the Spanish banker Alexandre Aguado and new business strategies that included increasing the number of long-term subscribers, Véron amassed a considerable fortune during his four-year directorship. He steered the Opéra to a position of renewed prominence in Parisian society by creating a meeting ground for the aristocracy and upper castes of the bourgeoisie." Steven Huebner in Grove Music Online.

Carlo Zucchelli (1793-1879) was a noted Italian bass. Between 1823 and 1835 he "divided his time between the King's Theatre in London and the Théâtre Italien in Paris. Thereafter he sang at Bologna, Rome, Livorno and elsewhere in Italy, finally retiring from the stage in 1842." Grove Music Online.

This letter was most likely written between 1829 and 1832, during which time Malibran sang frequently in Paris, and at the Théâtre Italien in particular. The watermark, dated 1828, serves as a terminus post quem, and Severini's death, in 1838, as a terminus ante quem. Considering the initial acquaintance of Bériot and Malibran, which did not take place until 1829, and Malibran's departure for Italy in 1832, however, this letter was more likely written between these dates. In any case, it is certainly unlikely that Malibran wrote it after 1835, when Louis Véron left the Paris Opéra and Zucchelli returned to Italy. Item #24149

Price: $1,600.00  other currencies

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