Chaliapin, Feodor. (1873–1938) [Toscanini, Arturo. (1867–1957)]
Autograph Letter Signed to Arturo Toscanini
Autograph letter from the great Russian bass to legendary conductor Toscanini. 1 p., May 25, 1925. In Italian. Chaliapin writes to ask Toscanini's permission for an acquaintance, Emilis Melngailis, "an adorer of Mussorgsky, a wonderful musician and also a composer, without any material interest," to visit him in Milan and discuss instrumentation in Boris Godunov. He adds in a postscript: "Apologies for my Italian!" Hole punches, toning; overall very good. 8 x 10.5 inches (20.5 x 27 cm).
Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov was Chaliapin's signature role, a part that he first learned under the guidance of Sergei Rachmaninoff and from which he recorded excerpts in the 1920's–1930's. It was largely owing to Chaliapin's advocacy that Russian operas such as Boris became known in the West, with Chaliapin performing in the English premiere of the opera in 1913. Boris was also Chaliapin's last role, performed shortly before his death from leukemia in 1938.