One page of a bifolium. 188 x 150 mm. Dated Vienna, September 13, 1916. In black ink on personal letterhead with "Franz Lehár Wien, VI. Theobaldgasse 16" printed at head. In German (with translation).
Lehár asks his correspondent (who is not named but may be identified by circumstantial evidence as the soprano Maria Jeritza) to take part in a benefit event for wartime refugees from Transylvania:
"I ask asking you most cordially to participate in a large show for the benefit of the refugees from Transsylvania at the war exhibition (Bundestheater) and to perform the second act of 'Endlich allein' as a concert piece (orchestra on stage) together with [our] friend [Béla] Környei, singing from the music. May we count on your participation? The performance has been scheduled for September 30."
From the collection of Maria Jeritza.
Horizontal fold; some scratches; small brown stain to outer edge of second leaf.
Like other successful composers of the era, Léhar was close to Maria Jeritza (1887-1982), the most celebrated soprano from the final years of the Habsburg empire. She appeared regularly at the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1921 on. “Freund Környei” is the Hungarian tenor Béla Környei (1875-1925), a member of the ensemble of the Vienna Hofoper at the time. Lehár’s operetta Endlich allein was first performed in 1914; a later revision, first introduced in 1930, is known as Schön ist die Welt. It is not known whether the performance mentioned in the letter actually took place.
Price: $400.00 other currencies