Firenze: Gio. Ricordi e Co. [PNs 9201, 9152-9169], [1836-1840]. Oblong folio. Dark green leather backed, embossed paper boards, titling and decorative devices gilt to spine. 1f. (recto title, verso blank), 1f. (recto named cast list, verso table of contents), 5-179 pp. Each number with separate caption title and pagination. Engraved.
19th-century marking "A.[?] 6" in ink on upper right title page. Sinfonia reduction by T[ito] Ricordi. Cast list from the first performance includes Carolina Unger, Celestino Salvatori, and Ignazio Pasini.
From the collection of Italian conductor, vocal coach, and close associate of Puccini and Mascagni, Luigi Ricci (1893-1981).
Binding somewhat worn, rubbed and bumped; some paper loss to edges of boards; front free endpaper lacking. Small stain to upper margin of title, slight dampstaining to lower right corners, light foxing throughout, mostly contained to margins.
First edition, variant issue. Inzaghi IN. 56, pp. 175-7.
This issue's title page has the imprint of Ricordi's branch in Florence as well as that of Chappell in London and Pacini in Paris. The individual pieces contain the Florence and London imprints. The primary imprint of Ricordi in Milan does not appear in this issue.
Belisario was composed to a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano after Luigi Marchionni's adaptation of Eduard von Schenk's Belisarius (1820). It premiered at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice on February 4, 1836 and was dedicated to his friend Giovanni Agostino Perotti (1769/70-1855), composer and maestro di cappella at San Marco.
"Well and widely received during its first decade, Belisario was however overtaken by the vogue for Lucia di Lammermoor, which immediately precedes it in the Donizetti canon. That rarity, an opera without a romantic love interest, Belisario had problems sustaining its popularity because the prima donna’s role is unsympathetic dramatically, in spite of her brilliant arias in the first and last acts. The plot is, in sum, an uneasy mixture of classical and Romantic elements; but considering the eloquence of the music it drew from Donizetti it is fair to say that Belisario does not deserve the neglect into which it has largely fallen." William Ashbrook in Grove Music Online.
Ricci was an important figure in the transmission of 19th century traditions passed on to him by noted baritone Antonio Cotogni (1831-1918), whom he accompanied from the age of 12. He was active as a vocal coach at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, where he taught (amongst many others) Sesto Bruscantini, Anna Moffo, Rosalind Elias, Ezio Flagello, Peter Lindroos, and Martti Wallén. Item #31234
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