Maria Stuarda ... [Manuscript full score of the opera]. Gaetano DONIZETTI.
Maria Stuarda ... [Manuscript full score of the opera].
Maria Stuarda ... [Manuscript full score of the opera].

Maria Stuarda ... [Manuscript full score of the opera].

[1835-1865?]. Oblong folio (30 x 24 cm). Contemporary dark purple leather-backed marbled boards with spine in gilt-ruled compartments with titling and decorative devices gilt.

260ff. Notated in black ink on lined 16 and 20 stave paper in the hand of a single unidentified copyist. Timpani and Bass Drum parts for finale scene written out separately on last page (most likely a mistaken omission from the full score during copying). A few small scattered markings in a later hand in both pencil and ink.

From the collection of Italian conductor, vocal coach, and close associate of Puccini and Mascagni, Luigi Ricci (1893-1981), previously from the collection of Italian composer Francesco Maria Albini (1829-1917), with his signature and the number "2039" to title.

Binding slightly worn, rubbed, bumped; spine slightly faded. A few small scattered stains and very minor soiling. Overall, a very attractive manuscript.

An early manuscript copy, matching the two-act structure of the autograph. Does not contain the Sinfonia written for 1835 premiere in Milan nor any of the changes made for the 1865 performance in Naples. Similar copies exist in Naples, Rome, and Paris. Wiklund: Maria Stuarda (Ricordi, 1999), pp. 755-6. Inzaghi IN. 52, p. 168.

Maria Stuarda was composed to a libretto by Giuseppe Bardari after Andrea Maffei’s translation of Schiller’s Maria Stuart (1800). After the planned premiere was banned in Naples, Donizetti recrafted much of the opera into Buondelmonte (1834). He returned to the opera largely at the urging of Maria Malibran, who took the title role. It opened at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on December 30, 1835 and was banned after only six performances.

There were many aspects to the story and libretto that caused trouble with the nobility and the censors, but the most famous is at the end of the first act, in which Maria accuses Elizabeth of profaning the English throne, calling her "vil bastarda". At the first rehearsal in Naples, this passage caused a physical confrontation between the two leads, and is often cited as the primary reason for it being banned. The Milanese censors insisted that "vil bastarda" be replaced with "donna vile" and Donizetti accepted the change. However, Malibran was determined to sing the original text and did so in Milan, helping to doom the production and the opera. "She [Malibran] performed a real disservice to Maria Stuarda, one of the best of Donizetti's unfamiliar operas, for it has gone down in history as an opera that not even Malibran could save." Ashbrook, p. 179.

Subsequent performances in Italy contained numerous changes, culminating in a revival of the work in a three-act version performed in Naples in 1865. This is the version that was most well-known until the discovery of the original autograph and a new critical edition in 1989.

This manuscript copy of the full score was likely made from the older of two copies in Naples, containing the opera in a form very close to that of the autograph. While it lacks the Sinfonia written for the Milan premiere, it has both versions of the censored text ("vil bastarda" / "donna vile"). There are very few markings – primarily clarification of text or notes that are unclear in the copy – and nothing to suggest that it was used in preparation of a performance.

An interesting undocumented source for what became a celebrated opera noted for its dramatic intensity and affecting emotional portrayals, despite its tumultuous history during Donizetti's lifetime. Item #31238

Price: $2,500.00  other currencies

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