Rediscovery of “long-lost” Granados opera

Portion of the score of Enrique Granados's rediscovered opera "Maria del Carmen"

For over two decades, the musicologist Walter Clark wondered what had happened to a “long-lost manuscript”: the full original score of the opera “Maria del Carmen” by the great Spanish composer Enrique Granados. The original edition had supposedly been salvaged from a 1916 shipwreck in which both Granados and his wife tragically drowned. Nonetheless, all performances of this opera after 1916 until 2014 were of a reconstructed patchwork edited by one of Granados’s sons. The original edition had apparently been sold in 1938 by one of their sons to a New York publisher. Finally, in 1970 this edition was reported to have been destroyed in a warehouse fire.

Clark was skeptical about this supposed loss, noting that no inventory had been conducted of the warehouse items. So as part of his research for a biography of Granados, he contacted the grandson of the 1938 purchaser. Eventually in fall 2009, Clark got some very good news: all three volumes of the score had indeed been located! Clark then acquired the opera for the University of California, Riverside where he is Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Iberian and Latin American Music. He has since overseen the full restoration of the manuscript which had suffered some significant smoke and water damage,  his staff later scanning all of the restored pages in preparation for its eventual publication in Spain. This project was completed in 2014 and the full score has now been published by Trito, a publisher and record label specializing in Spanish, Catalan and Iberoamerican classical music. There is also a recording planned as well as performances in several Spanish theatres.

It will be interesting to see the popular and critical reaction to this revived score as it is not every day one hears about the revival of a classical piece missing for close to a century. For fans of Granados and of opera in general, this makes for a very exciting development in classical music and opera. Or as Walter Clark put it, “This is a 20-year detective story with a happy ending.”

Here is an extract of the rediscovered score of “Maria del Carmen”:

Portion of the score of Enrique Granados’s rediscovered opera “Maria del Carmen”
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Renata Tebaldi – Signed Handkerchief from Otello

Renata Tebaldi signed handkerchief from Otello

Top: frame with Renata Tebaldi signed handkerchief used in Otello, with autographs photos by Tebaldi (left), Del Monaco (right) in Otello, and a cast page from a program (center top). Bottom: a larger view of the signed handkerchief.

Collecting opera and classical music memorabilia not always focuses strictly on the usual autograph photos, letters, books, programs and playbills. Over the years, we have seen many unusual items that can become treasured collectibles by the music fan. They include signed ballet pointe shoes, conductor´s batons – signed and unsigned -, magazine ads, violins and other music instruments, pieces of the old Metropolitan Opera building (will say more about this in a future posting), and even a signed fan.

Top: frame with Renata Tebaldi signed handkerchief used in Otello, with autographs photos by Tebaldi (left), Del Monaco (right) in Otello, and a cast page from a program (center top). Bottom: a larger view of the signed handkerchief.

Our collection is on display in our offices, and it includes this handkerchief signed by star soprano Renata Tebaldi (1922-2004) after a performance of Otello in 1964, the very same handkerchief she used on stage at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Otello was dear to Tebaldi since it was the opera of her debut at the Met in January 1955. We framed this item with a signed photo of her as Desdemona, and one of tenor Mario del Monaco (1915-1982) in the title role, plus an original cast page from a program for that debut night on January 31st, 1955 (frame available for sale, price after request).

 

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May/2016: New Categories + Newly Listed Items

Fritz Reiner signed photo

Fritz Reiner (1888-1963), signed photo.

We created TWO entirely new categories in our site!

Fritz Reiner (1888-1963), signed photo.

AUTOGRAPHS – Singers (Russia) now with 90 items,

RECENTLY ADDED items (link is under the top banner, over the right). This category automatically displays all items added to our site in the last 30 days – currently with over 150 listings.

This new category will certainly make it easier for our visitors to find what we our latest additions are.

Additionally, new listings in:

STRINGS: Cesar Thomson

COMPOSERS: Charles Gounod, Anton Rubinstein, Sigmund Romberg

CONDUCTORS: Fritz Reiner, Sergiu Celibidache, Pierre Monteux, Dimitri Mitropoulos

PIANISTS: William Kapell, Claudio Arrau, Vladimir Horowitz, and others.

SINGERS: A couple of unusual items: a beautiful glove signed by star soprano Emma Calvé, and a handkerchief used in performance, signed by Joan Sutherland

Plus many photos added to categories Autographs – Singers ($50 or less)

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Marc Chagall´s Poster “Die Zauberflote”

Die Zauberflote - Marc Chagall Poster 1966

Die Zauberflote - Marc Chagall Poster 1966

We love when customers frame their purchases from us and send us a picture

Die Zauberflote – Marc Chagall Poster 1966

Here is one of a poster we sold unframed, our customer was nice to send us a picture of the final product, beautifully framed.

Back in 1966, five thousand of these posters were created in France for the Metropolitan Opera. They depict part of the mural by Russian painter Marc Chagall (1887-1985) at the (then) recently inaugurated Met Opera at the Lincoln Center. Chagall even created a production of Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) for the Met.

In any case, these original posters are nowadays highly collectible and sought-after by collectors, there are originals from the 1966 lith

ographs and high quality re-prints made in 1973 that sell for a bit less. We currently have in stock one of these Zauberflote posters, signed by Marc Chagall himself – please inquire if interested.

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Mar/2016: New Autographs + New Category Added

Victor Maurel signed cabinet photo

French baritone (1848-1923), signed cabinet photo by Aimé Dupont, New York.

During the last few weeks, we created a large number of new listings on our site,

French baritone (1848-1923), signed cabinet photo by Aimé Dupont, New York.

plus a whole new category:

AUTOGRAPHS – Singers (Russia), this new category has now listings of autographs from Russian singers, mostly pre-WWII, including many rare ones.

Many new items were added to the categories under Autographs – Singers (Under $50), we keep adding several dozen items to this categories every month.

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Just Acquired: The Enrico Aloi Autograph Collection

Autograph Collection

Some of the autographs we just acquired, including Maria Callas, Rosa Ponselle, Giacomo Puccini, etc

We are proud to announce that we just acquired a wonderful collection of autographs,

Some of the autographs we just acquired, including Maria Callas, Rosa Ponselle, Giacomo Puccini, etc

unsigned photos, vintage printed music and sketches that belonged to Enrico Aloi (1922-2002). A close friend of Rosa Ponselle, he authored 3 pictorial books about her, currently well-known in the opera world. He was also a highly skilled sketch artist, and – as the passionate opera fan that he was – portrayed many singers he met during his life.

This highly interesting collection includes over 100 framed autographs (some of them are depicted in the photo) and many unframed signed and unusual/rare unsigned photographs, with a strong focus on Rosa Ponselle.

We will be working on this collection in the coming weeks, and will start listing some of these items on our site – Stay tuned!

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Our Visit to Beethoven´s Birth House in Bonn, Germany!

Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany

The Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany, where the genius was born in 1770

Just days ago, we had the chance to visit Beethovenhaus, the place where Beethoven was born in

The Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany, where the genius was born in 1770

December 1770, and lived for the first 4 years of his life. Located in Bonn, Germany, this was the musical genius´first home, then the Beethoven family moved to different houses in Bonn in the coming years.

Currently a very nice museum, library and mini-concert hall, the Beethovenhaus is open to any visitor and provides a very touching experience, in close contact with Beethoven, his life and his music. Instruments used by him, including pianos and violins, his personal desk, some of the devices he employed to improve his hearing, personal objects, his death mask and a mask that was created in his lifetime, portraits of him, family and friends, and more. The museum also hosts the largest collection in the world of music manuscripts and documents from the great composer, a small shop, concert hall, and even a small theater where we enjoyed a 20-minute video performance of “Fidelio” excerpts, presented with interactive 3D images. Overall, a highly recommended visit to anyone visiting the old, yet very beautiful city of Bonn. Much of their content can be found online in their site.

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Otello “in blackface” – a dying trend?

Star tenor Lauritz Melchior (1890-1973) as Otello

Star tenor Lauritz Melchior (1890-1973) as Otello

This past fall, the Metropolitan Opera opened its season with a new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Otello”. This production was much more widely publicized in the mass media than most operatic performances because of the announcement by the company’s General Manager, Peter Gelb, that the Met would be abandoning the usual practice of “blackening up” the face of the white tenor performing the title role.

In both the Verdi opera and the original William Shakespeare play upon which it is based, Otello is presented as a dark-skinned “Moorish” general in a largely white European society. His racial “difference” – and visible contrast with his white blond haired wife Desdemona – is frequently commented upon by other characters, particularly his mortal enemy Iago. As a result, for several centuries the dominant practice in both the theatre and the opera house was to place “blackface” makeup on the skin of any “non-black” actor or singer portraying Otello. A characteristic image of the operatic Otello in blackface is in this photo of Lauritz Melchior in the early 1930’s.

In the theatrical world, this practice ended quite some time ago but it persisted in most opera houses until recently. This difference has been especially noticeable in the opera world as virtually all the prominent tenors associated with this role have been white – for example, in recent decades such artists as Jon Vickers, James McCracken, Placido Domingo, and today’s leading interpreter (and star of the Met production) Aleksandr Antonenko. However, there have been several significant black interpreters of the Shakespeare role beginning with Paul Roebson in the 1930s and – since then- James Earl Jones and Laurence Fishburne among many others. Even white actors performing this role today almost never utilize blackface – which helps to explain the surprise many felt that this was still happening in opera. Given the strong influence of the Met on the operatic world and the widespread discussion surrounding this production – as well as an observation of performance practice abroad – it appears quite likely that the long practice of “blackening up ” Verdi’s Otello is finally coming to an end.

 

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Tamino is today 9 years old! – We Added New Autographs to our Site

Camille Saint-Saens signed cabinet photo

Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921), one of the greatest composers. Signed cabinet photo.

On December 28th, 2006 our first website opened, with just 35 autographs and many unsigned

Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921), one of the greatest composers. Signed cabinet photo.

programs on it. We are happy to say that 9 years later, we became the largest site dedicated to sell opera, classical music and ballet memorabilia, with over 5000 items!.

Additions in the last few weeks include:

Autographs – Composers: Franz Liszt, Camille Saint-Saens, Charles Gounod, Irving Berlin, William Walton, Carl Maria von Weber. A Cosima Wagner signed portrait was added to the Richard Wagner section

Autographs – Conductors: Karl Bohm, -Hans Knappertsbusch, Rafael Kubelik and others.

Autographs – Pianists: Walter Gieseking, Solomon, Ignacy Paderewski, Van Cliburn, Jean Verd, Khatia Buniatishvilli, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Denis Matsuev, Zoltan Kocsis, Nikita Magaloff, Anatol Ugorski, Arthur Henry Mann

Autographs – Singers: Eleanor Steber as Vanessa, the role she created in 1958, Marian Anderson, Nellie Melba.

Also, over 100 autographs were added to the Autographs – Singers ($50 or less) sections!

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Nov/2015: New Autographs Added!

Sergei Rachmaninoff signed photo

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), signed photo

We have been working hard on finishing the scans of the vast RG collection (9 months of hard work

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), signed photo

just for the scans!), acquired by Tamino Autographs last January. This month, we have uploaded to our website some interesting material:

Autographs – Composers: Franz Liszt, Arnold Schönberg, Anton Bruckner (the first signed photo we ever have in stock), Sergei Rachmaninoff, Manuel de Falla, Gaetano Donizetti, Paul Hindemith, Ernesto Lecuona, a rare Antonio Carlos Gomes signed cabinet photo.

Autographs – Singers: Conchita Supervia, Maria Malibran, a collection of Czech opera stars, and nearly 200 more items to the categories Autographs – Singers $50 or less. Also, a couple of Maria Callas autographs in the corresponding section.

Autographs – Conductors: Eduard Napravnik, Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Krauss, Theodore Thomas, Robert Heger, etc

Autographs – Pianists: Vladimir Horowitz, Olga Samaroff, Martha Argerich, Jeanne-Marie Darré, etc

Autographs – Strings: including violinists and cellists, autographs by Aguilar Quartet (Lute), Michael Rabin, August van Biene, Mstislav Rostropovich, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Mischa Maisky

 

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