"After Lent, they will revive Belisario with you as Irene and me as Antonina." - Autograph letter to Sophie Mequillet
Autograph letter by the Austro-Hungarian contralto (then, still soprano) to Sophie Mequillet-Biarowsky. 2 pp. (of bifolium), n.d. [February 1836?]. In French. The author, taking a motherly pose, gives her correspondent detailed exhortations for an upcoming engagement during the carnival in Venice in which both participate. In part: "[Alessandro] Lanari counts on you, and I am happy to make you leave his reach and to make you earn during carnival what he should have paid you for the whole year.... After Lent, they will revive Belisario [at La Fenice] with you as Irene and me as Antonina." Also mentioned is a "Count Mocenigo of Venice". Autograph address on p. 4: "Mademoiselle / Mlle Sophie Mequillet- / Biarowsky - Primadonna / Toscana Firenze." 8vo, fold partly detached and frayed; ink bleeding through from both sides.
Donizetti's opera Belisario was first performed at La Fenice, Venice, on 4 February 1836, with Ung[h]er as Antonina (soprano) and Antonietta Vial as Irene (mezzo-soprano). Little is known about the recipient of this letter, opera singer Sophie Mequillet, née Biarowsky (1793–1874). This letter suggests that she took over the role of Irene from Antonietta Vial after the Lent break; whether this happened in 1836 already or in a later year, is unknown.
Alessandro Lanari (1787–1852) was an Italian impresario, director of the Teatro della Pergola in Florence from 1820 to his death and Mequillet's employer at the time of this letter. "Count Mocenigo of Venice" is probably Alvise Francesco Mocenigo (1799–1884).