1 page of a bifolium. Quarto. Postmarked Paris, June 3[?], 1837 and Brussels, June 4[?], 1837. In Ink. With integral autograph address panel to verso. In French (with translation).
Stoltz graciously thanks Fétis for his letters of recommendation. She had wanted to wait until after her début to thank him, but that has been postponed, perhaps until the end of the month She will sing in Halévy's La Juive alongside Gilbert Duprez, who must learn his role. She is taking advantage of the delay by taking lessons with the noted tenor, Louis Ponchard, four times a week.
"I was waiting to give you all my thanks until I had made my début, in order to disturb you just one single time from your serious work... The first role that I am to play is La Juive. Mr. [Gilbert] Duprez does not know the role of Eléazar at all, so he must learn it before then. He also has to perform [Louis Niedermeyer's] Stradella, [Meyerbeer's] Robert [le diable], and [Auber's] La Muette. You see from this list that there will be some time before I appear on the stage of the opera... "
Slightly worn, soiled and foxed; creased at folds and corners; slightly faded; remnants of wax seal and minor abrasion and perforation to upper edge of second leaf; previous owner's small round blindstamps to lower margin.
Together with a carte-de-visite waist-length photographic reproduction of the noted French mezzo-soprano published in Paris by Pierre Petit. Ca. 103 x 63 mm. with red borders.
The present letter was written shortly before Stoltz made her Paris Opéra début, as Rachel in La Juive, on August 25, 1837. She remained there for ten years, and created a number of roles, including Ascanio in Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini (1838) and Léonor in Donizetti's La Favorite (1840). Scandal forced her to resign in 1847, but she returned in 1854. She was especially praised for the intensity of her acting, and her vocal color and broad palette of timbres. Mary Ann Smart in Grove Music Online.
Gilbert Duprez, whom the letter mentions, made his highly successful début at the Paris Opéra in Rossini's Guillaume Tell on April 17, 1837. When in the same year first tenor Adolphe Nourrit had to resign from the Opéra due to vocal problems, Duprez, his successor, had to take over many of his roles. "[Duprez] gradually... became the first great tenore di forza, despite a vocal tessitura limited in its lower range... In France he was praised as the first true Romantic tenor and for his excellent declamation and the smoothness of his canto spianato... Presumably through forcing his voice, and also because of the great number of performances he gave during his years in Italy where he had to sing as many as six times a week, a decline set in early; Berlioz greatly admired him in the vigorous music of Benvenuto Cellini in 1838, though noting (Mémoires) that his voice had coarsened somewhat. The story of the famous tenor’s rise and fall in Berlioz’s Les soirées de l’orchestre is largely based on Duprez’s career. He composed a number of operas and his writings include L’art du chant (1845) and Souvenirs d’un chanteur (1880), a valuable account of his times and distinguished contemporaries." Sandro Corti in Grove Music Online.
Fétis was "among the most influential musical figures in continental Europe for most of the 19th century, occupying key posts within the Franco-Belgian musical establishment and initiating significant cultural trends through his theoretical works and his concert activity... [He] was at the centre of a network of historians, librarians and early-music performers active in France and Belgium throughout the 19th century. His writings, though recognized as flawed, provided a reference point for such musicians and often offered valuable methodological models regarding the use of primary and secondary sources in the quest for historical information... His vast library and important collection of early instruments... were bequeathed to the Belgian nation: his library is housed in the Bibliothèque Albert Ier, his instrument collection forms part of the museum of the Brussels Conservatory." Katharine Ellis et al. in Grove Music Online.
An interesting letter linking three important 19th century musical figures. Item #24183
Price: $550.00 other currencies