Milano: Tito di Gio. Ricordi e Francesco Lucca di G. Ricordi & C. [PN 96000], 1893. Folio. Publisher's original full mid-brown calf with decorative titling gilt to upper, publisher's device gilt to lower, raised bands on spine in decorative compartments gilt, titling gilt, patterned endpapers. 1f. (frontispiece with full-length portrait from an original photograph by Avv. U. Campanari and facsimile signature of the composer, verso blank), 1f. (recto decorative title printed in blue, red, and gold, verso limitation statement and printed name of the recipient, the Marchese Filippo Ferrajoli, within decorative red border), 1f. (recto title printed in red and black), verso publisher's device and copyright notice), 1f. (recto named cast list printed in red and black within decorative red border, verso blank), 1f. (recto table of contents printed in red and black within decorative red border, verso blank), 1f. (part-title and scene description of Act I), 474 pp. Uncut. With an unpaginated part-title with scene description preceding each act.
With "Frans Lasson, Roma 17, Juni 1961" in ink to verso of front free endpaper.
Binding slightly worn, rubbed, and warped. Leaves somewhat cockled; some minor foxing and dampstaining; some signatures splitting. An attractive copy overall.
Deluxe Limited Edition of the first version of the opera, this no. 17 of 100. Very scarce. Hopkinson 64A(b).
Falstaff, to a libretto by Arrigo Boito after William Shakespeare's plays The Merry Wives of Windsor and King Henry IV, was first performed in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala on February 9, 1893.
"Perhaps the most immediately obvious level of difference between Falstaff and all Verdi’s previous operas lies in the music’s tendency to respond in unprecedented detail to the verbal element of the drama. In much of the score, but especially in the great duets and monologues, the listener is bombarded by a stunning diversity of rhythms, orchestral textures, melodic motifs and harmonic devices. Passages that in earlier times would have furnished material for an entire number here crowd in on each other, shouldering themselves unceremoniously to the fore in bewildering succession... These new aspects, possible only through the medium of comedy, served to stimulate Verdi’s creative imagination to new levels of fecundity. In the midst of an increasingly fragmented aesthetic world, he was able to follow the whim of the moment, to gaze back serenely on past achievements and, as he said so many times in letters to Boito, simply to enjoy himself. Few would deny how richly Verdi deserved this final triumph, or how heartening a message Falstaff offers. The opera leaves us with a musical image that exactly reflects those famous photographs of Verdi in his last years: an old man, in black hat, with eyes that have lived through a lifetime of struggle, smiling out wisely at the world." Roger Parker in Grove Music Online. Item #25956
Price: $2,500.00 other currencies