Paris: G. Hartmann & Cie. [G.H. et Cie. 1921], . Large octavo. Quarter contemporary mid-brown morocco with marbled boards, raised bands on spine in decorative compartments gilt with titling gilt, marbled endpapers, original publisher's decorative wrappers bound in. 1f. (recto striking full-page polychrome illustration of Esclarmonde by Clairin, verso blank), 1f. (recto decorative polychrome half-title, verso blank), 2ff. (blank), 1f. (recto decorative polychrome half-title, verso blank), 1f. (decorative polychrome title, verso blank), 1f. (recto cast list and contents, verso blank), 1f. (recto named cast list, verso blank), 1f. (table of contents), 1f. (recto table of contents continued, verso floral polychrome device), 306 pp. Preliminary leaves with text printed within stylized Art Nouveau polychrome borders by E. Grasset printed by Gillot.
Named cast list includes Sibyl Sanderson as Esclarmonde, Nardi, Gibert, Taskin, Bouvet, Herbert, Boudouresque, Troy, and Cornubert.
Binding slightly worn, rubbed, and bumped; split at upper hinge. Edges slightly browned.
First Edition, [?]first issue. Lesure p. 213.
First performed in Paris at the Théâtre National de l'Opéra-Comique on May 15, 1889.
"[Esclarmonde] was composed in Massenet’s middle period, immediately after Werther. It was written for the Californian soprano Sibyl Sanderson (1865–1903), with whom he was infatuated; its exploitation of her remarkable range (up to g‴) and agility, allied to considerable weight of tone, has made revivals comparatively rare... Esclarmonde has the reputation of being Massenet’s most Wagnerian score, but in spite of some brief passages for heavy brass the Wagnerianism is of subject matter rather than musical treatment: there are dramaturgical echoes of Tannhäuser, Lohengrin and the Ring and, given the common source material, some interesting pre-echoes of Die Frau ohne Schatten. The musical motifs, though, however resourcefully developed, are as usual with Massenet of the reminiscence as opposed to the leading variety. The composer’s passion for his leading lady resulted in some of his most chromatically tortuous erotic writing – the ‘discreet, semi-religious eroticism’ that Vincent d’Indy found in Massenet’s music here decisively sheds the adjectives. The score’s other main strengths are the speed and economy with which much grand-operatic event is dispatched in just over two hours of music, the subtle shape of the melodies and the diaphanous delicacy of the instrumentation." Rodney Milnes in Grove Music Online. Item #25634
Price: $275.00 other currencies