ROSSINI, GIAOCCHINO. (1792-1868). Italian composer; creator of The Barber of Seville, William Tell and other operatic masterpieces. ALS. (“Gioacchino Rossini”). 1p. 4to. Florence, August 8, 1851. To Florence Banker EMANUELE FENZI (1784-1875). In Italian with translation.
“Letter received from my agent in Bologna advises me to wait a few more days in the hope of sending me some instructions so that I may act to my best advantage in the recent case… if it is agreeable to you to accept my terms for Bologna at a price of 615 pounds, I pray you to send it to me forthwith in my name; I shall settle accounts with my agent. I am sincerely yours… If you are in agreement, send me the confirmation to the Ricordi firm, in Via Calzaiuoli”
Rossini began his musical career with the hope of becoming a singer, but when his voice broke, he chose to be an accompanist and composer, and soon threw himself into the fashionable, opera buffa, or “comic opera” style. Not content with replicating the existing style, Rossini turned to embellishing his melodies, enlivening the ensembles and finales, and putting the singers at the service of the music. Arriving in Paris in 1823, Rossini was fawned upon by all who received him. There, in 1829, he wrote his “pièce de resistance,” William Tell, which won rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. Inexplicably, from that point on, the 37-year-old Rossini resolved never to write again for the theater. The reasons for his musical silence remain purely conjectural, but some point to the composer’s innate indolence while others suggest that his jealousy over the Parisian success of fellow opera composer Giacomo Meyerbeer might have played a significant role. In 1848, the political turmoil gripping Bologna forced Rossini to flee to Florence, whence he wrote our letter and where he lived until his 1855 move to France.
Established in 1821, Banca Fenzi opened branches all over Europe and diversified by investing in mining, manufacturing, and railways. At the top of the letter and on the address leaf, Rossini addresses Fenzi, who was a Senator and the recipient of several knighthoods, with the abbreviation for “Illustrissimo” – “Illustrious.”
Rossini’s postscript instructs his correspondent to write care of his publisher Casa Ricordi, at their Florence office on Via Calzaiuoli.
Written on a folded sheet with the address leaf intact. Normal wear, though some of the ink has “eaten” through the paper in several words; signed with an uncommon “full” signature.