LEONCAVALLO, RUGGERO. (1858-1919). Italian composer; his most enduring work is the one-act opera Pagliacci, made famous by the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. ALS. (“R. Leoncavallo”). 4pp. 8vo. Monza (?), January 21, 1897. Written to a male friend in French with translation.
“My lawyer has learned that Mr. Tedeschi, as I have told you, with whom I am in a legal case, has written to Germany and to England to gather documentation against me to answer my summons. Will you be kind enough to tell me if he has written to you and what he has asked you? I know very well that everything he will say will certainly not assemble much of anything against me. As for me, I am writing to prove to him that he has failed in my contract with him, which is proved further. With a man as lacking in sincerity as Mr. Tedeschi, it is well to know what he intends to do, in order to be on guard. If I ask him for the immediate return of the money I lent him and the payment of what he owes me for the arrangement of the opera, it is in order for him to declare that he is not able to pay. When he has stated this sentence before the judges, I will take the opera away from him and then you will see Mr. Chatterton. Do you understand that sort of publisher! Do you know what he has just done? Not finding any theaters, he gave Chatterton gratis to Lassari in Sardinia (a city of 2nd rank) with mediocre artists. By un-hoped for luck, the opera triumphed despite all, with 4 encores, an extraordinary number of recalls, and cries of “Long Live Leoncavallo.” But what effect would that have created in Italy for me if the opera would have had a cold success? You understand, the best thing that could happen to the work is to remove it from his hands…”