PUCCINI, GIACOMO

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PUCCINI, GIACOMO - Large, Lengthy and Magnificent AMusQS from Tosca, just 12 Days after its La Scala Premiere
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PUCCINI, GIACOMO - Large, Lengthy and Magnificent AMusQS from Tosca, just 12 Days after its La Scala Premiere

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PUCCINI, GIACOMO.(1858-1924). Along with Verdi, modern Italy’s most successful opera composer. AMusQS. (“Giacomo Puccini”). 1p. Large, Oblong 4to. Milan, March 29, 1900. In Italian. Five triple measures from Mario Cavaradossi’s aria “O dolci mani” from the third act of Tosca. Puccini has identified the quotation “Tosca atto 3o,” added “Mario” and “teneramente,” and written out the lyrics “O dolci mani mansuete e pure, o mani elette a bellopre e pietose.”

 

Puccini began working on Tosca, based on the drama by French playwright Victorien Sardou, in 1889 following the premiere of his second opera, Edgar. “For some time Puccini seriously doubted whether this blood-and-thunder melodrama suited him at all. It was his first excursion into the sphere of verismo,” (The New Grove Dictionary). Despite his initial hesitation Puccini worked on the piece for over ten years. In October 1899, his publisher, Ricordi requested that Puccini change portions of Cavaradossi’s third act aria, which were borrowed, yet never used, from Edgar. Puccini eventually won him over, though Ricordi still harbored some reservations.

 

When Tosca finally had its world premiere at Rome’s Teatro Costanzi on January 14, 1900, opening night tensions were exacerbated by rumors that a bomb would interrupt the performance. Fortunately, the premiere came off without incident and the public heartily embraced Tosca – but not the critics who attacked the story’s brutality. The criticism seems to have been incidental and the opera was staged around the world almost immediately, becoming a great success.

 

Our aria “O dolci mani” (“Oh sweet hands”) opens the third act when Tosca shows Cavaradossi the safe-conduct pass and instructs him how to fake his death so they might escape together. For the Milan opening on March 17, the opera was conducted by Arturo Toscanini with the role of Cavaradossi sung by Giuseppe Borgatti.

 

Very darkly penned with a lovely signature. Folded and matted, but not examined out of the matte.


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