Sullivan, Arthur. (1842–1900) [Klein, Herman. (1856–1934)]

Autograph Letter - "I hope they won't take a foreigner as my successor"

Autograph letter from the important English composer, to the music critic and vocal pedagogue Herman Klein. November 19, 1899. Sullivan writes to thank Klein for his positive review in the Sunday Times, mentions that he has finished "the new opera" (his last completed opera, The Rose of Persia), and invites him to a rehearsal the next week. Finally, he mentions that he hopes not be replaced by "a foreigner" as the director of the Leeds Music Festival: "If they do, it will be a terrible disappointment to someone." (Complete text below.) 3 pp. of a bifolium. Mounting remnants to the verso; otherwise in fine condition. 4 x 6.25 inches (10.2 x 15.8 cm).

"Dear Klein, O si sic omnes! I am still young enough to be pleased at reading (in real live print, mind you!) a few kind words written in a kindly spirit such as I have just read in the Sunday Times. Today, I am out of prison, having finished the score of the new opera at 3.15 am, and I feel strange at having nothing to do, except rehearsing. By the way, if you want to know what the music, pure et simple, is like, you will find a full rehearsal of band & voices going on at St Andrew's Hall on Wednesday next, from 11 am onwards. About Leeds—I can't tell you much, but cannot write it. As H. K. suggests, I hope they won't take a foreigner as my successor. If they do, it will be a terrible disappointment to someone. My kindest regards to your wife. Ever yours sincerely, Arthur Sullivan."

In The Rose of Persia (1899), Sullivan returned to his comic roots, writing to a libretto by Basil Hood that combined an exotic Arabian Nights setting with plot elements of The Mikado. It premiered at the Savoy Theatre on 29 November 1899, closing on 28 June 1900 after a profitable run of 211 performances. Sullivan's tuneful score was well received, and the opera proved to be his most successful full-length collaboration apart from those with Gilbert. 

Herman Klein (1856–1934) was a voice teacher at the Guildhall School of Music and helped to edit Manuel García's concise vocal treatise Hints on Singing (1894), also issuing a revised version after García's death. From 1901 to 1909, he lived and taught in New York, before returning to London. Klein also had a career in music journalism, writing for the Sunday Times and the New York Herald; was a scholarly authority on Gilbert and Sullivan; and was one of the first critics to comment on gramophone recordings.  (15654)

Autograph Letter
Classical Music