Donizetti, Gaetano. (1797–1848)

"We will speak of, patrimony etc." - Autograph Letter Framed

Autograph letter signed by the prolific Italian composer. 1 page, no place, no date ("Martedi"), probably Vienna, 15 March, 1843. On his embossed monogrammed personal stationary, "GD," Donizetti writes to one Signor Berizzi, inviting him to lunch with him tomorrow with David and Salvi where "we will speak of, patrimony etc. if you can join us as I hope tomorrow Wednesday we will all meet at the Caffé Toroni at 5." Executed in black fountain pen ink, usual folds, possible repaired tear, light staining, letter measuring 7' x 5", framed and matted with a period portrait engraving signed "McMurphy" to 13 x 17¾ (33.5 x 44.5 cm.) overall in fine speckled gilt wood frame. Unexamined out of frame but in apparently fine condition overall.

Our dating of the letter is based on a published letter from Donizetti to Simone Mayr, dated 15 March, 1843, in which he reports that the following day "three patriots," including "Signor Berizzi, tomorrow will eat with me..." ("Gaetano Donizetti e G. Simone Mayr: notizie e documenti," op. 90, ed. Federico Alborghetti, ‎Michelangelo Galli, 1875). The success of Linda di Chamounix in Vienna in May 1842 had earned him the appointment as Court Composer and Maestro di Cappella e da Camera in Vienna, beginning a period in which Donizetti travelled regularly between the court of Vienna and Paris, with its public theatres.  The following year was an important one, beginning in January 1843 with the staging at the Théâtre Italien of his comic masterpiece Don Pasquale, then in June 1843 in Vienna Maria di Rohan, a contemporary drama featuring situation and characters, which vocally and theatrically has been seen as Verdi’s operas starting point. And again in Paris, a new premiere: Dom Sebastien a monumental historical fresco marked by sophisticated instrumentation and surprisingly innovative melodies.  Also in 1843, Donizetti started showing the first symptoms of a terrible brain disease,  perhaps overlooked or misinterpreted at the beginning but almost certainly syphilis, which got rapidly and progressively worse, eventually leading to his death.

Matteo Salvi (1816 – 1887) was a composer of opera and classical music and a theatre director. A student of Gaetano Donizetti, he is best known for having completed the score of Donizetti’s unfinished opera Le duc d’Albe for its first public performance in 1882, some forty years after Donizetti’s death. (19696)

Autograph Letter