Paris: Durand et Schoenewerk [PN D.S. 4025], . Large octavo. Quarter contemporary black morocco with textured red paper boards, rules and titling gilt to spine, marbled endpapers. 1f. (half-title), 1f. (illustration of a scene from the opera), 1f. (title), [i] (facsimile of 2 medallions under which the text "Benvenuto fecit" is printed), [i] (note regarding the mise en scène), [i] (named cast list for the first performance), [ii] (table of contents), [i] (blank), 391, [i] (blank) pp. Text in French.
With publisher's handstamp to lower outer corner of half-title. Supplement ("Annexe") to pp. 388-391.
Binding slighlty worn, rubbed and bumped; partially split at joints. Slightly browned; scattered foxing, heavier to some leaves; several corners slightly creased. With occasional performance markings including accidentals, slurs, and breath marks in pencil.
First Edition of the first version. Ratner II, p. 205.
Ascanio, to a libretto by Louis Gallet after Paul Meurice's play Benvenuto Cellini, was first performed at the Paris Opéra on March 21, 1890.
"Composed in 1887–8, Ascanio makes a grand opera of a play of intrigue set in Paris in 1539. Meurice, whom Saint-Saëns knew well, had collaborated with Alexandre Dumas père on his novel Benvenuto Cellini, published in 1843, and had fashioned a successful play from the story in 1852. To avoid confusion with Berlioz’s opera the title was changed (even though Cellini is still the principal character in the drama) and a scene in the play where Cellini runs out of metal when casting a statue was not included. The choice of an episode from Cellini’s life that took place in France at the court of François I satisfied Saint-Saëns’ longstanding desire to base his operas on French history, and by casting the third act as a fête at Fontainebleau (a departure from Meurice’s play) he found an opportunity for an extensive divertissement of 12 dances very much in the spirit, and to some extent in the style, of French Baroque opera." Hugh Macdonald in Grove Music Online. Item #26255
Price: $225.00 other currencies