“NEVER YET HAS ANYONE PRODUCED SO ACCURATE A MUSICAL DESCRIPTION OF LA MANIFESTATION PHYSIQUE DES TENDRESSES HUMAINES”: FIRST EDITION OF ESCLARMONDE, ASSOCIATION COPY, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY MASSENET WITH A MUSICAL QUOTATION TO FAMOUS FRENCH BASS-BARITONE JOSEPH TAGLIAFICO
MASSENET, Jules. Esclarmonde: Opéra Romanesque en quatre actes et huit tableaux. Paris: G. Hartmann, . Quarto, contemporary half straight-grain red morocco. $3800.
First edition, scarce association copy, of the piano-vocal score to Massenet's "opera romanesque," with lovely art nouveau color illustrations, including vignette title page, by E. Grasset, very warmly inscribed by Massenet to the great French bass-baritone Joseph Tagliafico: “a l’ami Tagliafico, souvenir de son bien affectionne, J. Massenet,” with a musical quotation from the prologue (“O divine Esclarmonde…”), dated Paris, October 1889.
"On 15 May 1889, Esclarmonde opened at the Opéra-Comique in the Place du Chatelet with Sibyl Sanderson in the title role. Billed as opéra romanesque, it did quite well, with ninety-one performances by the end of 1889 and ten more the following year, before it closed its run" (Irvine, 164). In Esclarmonde, Massenet, the predominant French opera composer of his generation, departs from his characteristic elegance in favor of a more Wagnerian intensity. The opera prompted one contemporary critic to write: "never yet, I believe, has anyone produced so accurate and detailed a musical description of la manifestation physique des tendresses humaines" (Irvine, 166). With front wrapper bound in. This copy is warmly inscribed to Joseph Tagliafico, a renowned French bass-baritone known for his his performances at the Italian Theatre in Paris and at the Covent Garden Opera. Tagliafico eventually left performance and turned to composition, where he proved equally talented. He was an avid translator of European works as well as a composer who favored lighter pieces including dances, songs, and romantic melodies.
Front inner paper hinge splitting, contemporary binding sound and attractive. An extremely good association copy.