Cocteau, Jean. (1889–1963)
Autograph Letter Signed regarding "La dame à la licorne"
ALS from the important French director to Irma Antonetto of the Associazione Culturale Italiana, written shortly after the Munich premiere of La dame à la licorne, a ballet Cocteau directed and for which he designed the scenery and costumes. In full: "I've returned very tired from Cannes and from Munich where I had to do the scenery and costumes of the ballet "La dame à la licorne" without any help. But the production and the success were superb. I think I will be by the sea when you arrive in Nice. I will be from the 27th in Rome where I will speak at the Picasso exhibition. Keep me current with your dates. With all my heart, Jean C." 15 May 1953; 1 pp. 6 x 7.5 inches (15.2 x 19 cm.). Together with a telegram expressing regret that he would no longer be able to speak at the ACI ("Alas health obliges me to no longer do conferences. I would have loved with all my heart to participate. ") Expected mailing folds, two holes to left margin, else fine.
An interesting letter following Cocteau's triumphant return from the Munich premiere of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo production of La Dame à la Licorne, choreographed by Heinz Rosen. This description of the 1953 ballet appeared in the April 1957 issue of Dance Magazine ahead of the work's New York premiere: "Cocteau...has created an enigmatic libretto in which a noble maiden has a lovely white unicorn which eats only from her hand. But after the Knight comes, and an amorous pas de deux ensues between the two aristocrats, the Unicorn will no longer eat and dies. The Knight, who has left, now returns, but the Lady is no longer interested in him. As the curtain falls, she is on stage alone, with neither Knight nor Unicorn, pointing to a banner on which is inscribed 'Mon seul désir' (My only desire)."
Irma Antonetto (1920-1993), was founder and director of the Associazione Culturale Italiana [Association of Italian Culture] for 46 years, during which time she brought some 400 philosophers, writers, scientists, artists, and Nobel winners to lecture in Italy. She was recipient of the 1964 Cavaliere al merito della Repubblica italiana.