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Warm Letter to a Friend and “Unable to Express” His Feelings

$1800 net
Item: 22801
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VERDI, GIUSEPPE. (1813-1901). Italian opera composer. ALS. (“G. Verdi”). 1½pp. 8vo. Civitavecchia, March 15, 1859. To his friend ANTONIO CAPECELATRO, DUKE OF CASTELPAGANO (1826-1918) brother of Neapolitan composer Vincenzo Capecelatro. In Italian with translation.

“I have not replied before because as you well know, when one is on the move and leaving a country one has many things to do right up to the last moment. Now I am here in lovely Civitavecchia waiting for a good ship and a good sea to Genoa and I am taking the opportunity of this calm to thank you for the kind and affectionate words you spoke about me. They were very dear to me because I know they came from your heart – if I do not reply to you with as much grace do not put it down to my friendship for you but to some clumsiness which makes me unable to express what I feel very affectionately and I am very sensitive to how much someone else…

Peppina made a long face because we were not going back to Naples, but you will know that at the moment my presence at home is very necessary to organize affairs…”

Portrait of Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi

It was around 1847 that Verdi, a widower for seven years, became involved with the famous soprano Giuseppini [Peppina] Strepponi (1815-1897), whose appearance in a number of his early operas contributed to his success. The pair lived together, unmarried, in Busseto, where Strepponi was treated with derision. In 1848, Verdi commissioned the construction of a villa in nearby Sant’Agata and, in 1851, the couple moved to Verdi’s estate, marrying in August 1859 to enjoy a happy union until Strepponi’s death.

Verdi’s opera Un ballo in maschera (initially titled Una vendetta in domino) was commissioned by Naples’ Teatro di San Carlo in 1857 but its production was first delayed by the January 1858 attempted assassination of Emperor Napoleon III in Paris and, afterwards, by Verdi’s objection to restrictions placed on him by the censor, which led to a legal battle between Verdi and the theater. After parting ways with the Teatro di San Carlo, Un ballo in maschera premiered in Rome on February 17, 1859, roughly a month prior to our letter, and was an immediate success. Our letter discusses his travels from the port of Civitavecchia, outside of Rome, to the port city of Genoa, southwest of Busseto.

From a noble Neapolitan family, Capecelatro founded the humorous magazine Palazzo di Cristallo in 1856 and headed the periodical Diorama.

Verdi’s assertion that he is incapable of adequately expressing his affection is notable as Verdi was a master of expressing his characters’ emotions yet feels inadequate at expressing his own.

Written on two leaves of a folded sheet, with the integral address leaf intact. Folded with some discoloration and wear and a small tear resulting from the wax seal; otherwise fine.

Warm Letter to a Friend and “Unable to Express” His Feelings

$1800 net • item #22801

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