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A collection of 14 important autograph letters to the German soprano Rose Ader, Puccini's "last love and the only consolation in my life." 30 pp. in total. Written between May 20, 1921 and September 11, 1924, the letters chart the progress of both the couple's love affair and Puccini's final opera, Turandot, which he never completed. Puccini died on November 29, 1924, less than three months after the final letter in this collection was written. With much revealing commentary regarding both the composer's personal and musical activities and offering new insight into his relationship with Ms. Ader
Rose Ader (1890-1955) made her début at the Hamburg Opera in 1915. She sang at opera houses in Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Italy, including the Vienna Staatsoper and the La Scala. In 1921 she sang the title role in the German première of Puccini's Suor Angelica in Hamburg, and in La Bohème at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome in 1922. Her repertory included both coloratura and lyric roles. Following her marriage to an Italian baron, she sang under the name Ader-de Trigona. Ader's Jewish heritage forced her to emigrate to Austria in 1933, and then to Italy. In 1949, she settled in Buenos Aires, where she spent her final years as a pedagogue. "Thirty-two years his junior, [Ader] had sung Angelica at Hamburg in February 1921. Schnabl, who produced, found her insufficiently dramatic for the role. Puccini, who attended at least one performance, formed a more positive opinion, although he would later admit that the final scenes were too heavy for her. Photographs were exchanged, and by the spring a love affair had blossomed. Of his many letters to her, known to exist in private hands, only one, dating from May of that year, has found its way into print - an extravagant outpouring of infatuation ('the only woman I love in the world etc')... Yet, as with Wagner and Judith Gauthier, one suspects that the affair was more in the mind than in the flesh. There is no record of secret trysts, of carefully laid plans to elude Elvira's detection." Budden: Puccini His Life and Works, p. 433. The present collection presents an intriguing counterpoint to Budden's contention regarding there being no record of "secret trysts" and/or attempts to elude Puccini's wife Elvira's detection of his infatuation with Ader. As concerns possible trysts, in letter no. 6 dated October 19, 1921 Puccini mentions that he thinks that his wife is trying to prevent him from being with Ader and is going to try to have Adami help him see her and, in letter no. 8 dated February 4, 1922, Puccini suggests that "it would be better if you came towards the thirteenth or fourteenth" and that they can then be together in Rome, saying that he would like to see Ader very much. As concerns possible attempts to elude his wife's detection, in letter no. 4, Puccini specifically asks Ader not to write to him because the letter might be opened and thus cause trouble; in letter no. 6, Puccini states that he thinks that Elvira is trying to prevent him from being with Ader; and, in letter no. 10, the composer asks Ader to send her letters to his house, because no one [else] will read them if she does so.. Letter 1 2 pp. Octavo. Dated Torre del Lago, May 20, [19]21, 11:00 p.m. On stationery with "Torre del Lago Toscana" embossed at head. Incomplete. With autograph envelope postmarked Torre de Lago, May 21, 1921 with Ader's name and Hamburg address. Puccini laments his inability to be near Ader; he cannot go to her without causing a great scandal. He works all day. Only his thoughts of her give him comfort; he kisses her portrait and writes music - presumably his opera, Turandot. "This Turandot is so difficult! Liù is coming along well - it is for you that I am writing it (as I have already told you)... ". Letter 2 2 pp. Octavo. Dated Torre de Lago, Sunday, May 22, [19]21, midnight. On stationery with "Torre del Lago Toscana" embossed at head. Puccini speaks of seeing Ader in nearby Viareggio, then Milan, but absolutely cannot leave. She should never doubt that, if he could, he would "fly" to her. He tells her not to grieve for him. He is not badly off in his own home, but does not have the freedom he would like. He will write to her if he finds that he must go to Berlin in the autumn. Puccini goes on to discuss several of his compositions: his operatic trilogy, Il Trittico; La Bohème; and Turandot, upon which he is still hard at work. "I received a telegram from Leipzig, where Il Trittico has had great success. [Otto] Lohse conducted Tabarro (Mantel) and Schicchi. Fine director... I am working a lot on Turandot. I read that Busoni's [Turandot] was given in Berlin. I am very pleased with my work. It is you, and my love for you, that encourages me to do well. We hope!... I wish you good luck for [your performance as] Mimi on the 30th. You will be delicious!" Letter 3 2 pp. Octavo. Dated Torre del Lago, June 6, [19]21. On stationery with "Torre del Lago Toscana" embossed at head. With autograph envelope postmarked Torre del Lago, June 7, [19]21 with Ader's name and Hamburg address. Puccini has not heard from Ader in two days, but that may be because of a postal strike. He misses her letters; his day is wasted if he does not hear from her. He keeps her photographs in a book between other books near his work table so he can look at them whenever he wants. He especially likes the picture of her as Mimi, and another large one with a veil, which he has cut down to a smaller size. He kisses them many times. He complains of how difficult Turandot is. The previous day was bad, and he couldn't do anything good. Today, things are going better. So is his life, with high and low moments, even with regard to his health. Perhaps he is working too hard; he hardly ever moves, unless it is in an automobile. He concludes with love. "I love you! I kiss your beautiful and savory mouth!" Letter 4 4 pp. of a bifolium. Octavo. Dated Munich, [ca. August 21, 1921], Midnight. On stationery with the name, Munich address, and emblem of the Regina-Palast-Hotel embossed at head. With several annotations and corrections in Puccini's hand. With autograph envelope postmarked Munich, August 2[1?], [19]21 and Hamburg, August 22, [19]21 with Ader's name and Hamburg address. Puccini has just telegraphed Ader; he thinks it best not to write, because the letter might be opened and cause trouble in the future. He has had a tiresome day: tea at the home of the painter [Gerolamo] Cairati, his friend from Milan, and dinner at the usual Odeon Bar with [Riccardo] Sch[nabl] and Mrs. Frigierio, [?]his mother, and her husband, all from Milan. Now he is going to bed. He longs for her. She will be very busy now, preparing to go to Viareggio. He was wrong to tell her not to write, but now it is too late. He received her two telegrams that evening, and he will telegraph her again the following day, requesting an answer, so that he will have news of her each day. The following night he will see Braunfels' opera, Die Vögel, which Walter had told him was very interesting. He expresses his love. "This evening I dined at the usual restaurant, the Odeon Bar... Sch[nabl] spoke a lot about Art ["Kunst"]! I was very bored. The usual violinist played Angelica, Bohème, Butterfly. Now I'm going to bed with Adalina, who is not a woman, but another thing that you know. I think and will think about you, about your beauty, your eyes, your mouth, your hair, your hands, so many of your things so beautiful and dear that I would like to have here close to me!... [In broken German:] Goodbye my pretty Rose, my life, my treasure, I love you with my heart! [In Italian:] Don't laugh!... " Letter 5 2 pp. Octavo. Dated Torre del Lago, September 22, 1921. On stationery with "Torre del Lago Toscana" embossed at head. That morning Puccini felt badly seeing Ader so discouraged and sad. He does not know what to do to make her happy, and grieves over it. She knew his circumstances; he told her everything about himself and hid nothing. He wishes he could surround her with so much care and attention, and give her everything himself, but it is impossible. He leaves her free to decide - not to worry if he suffers. He will suffer whatever sorrow there is for her. He cannot stand knowing her discontented, and does not want her to live a life that she cannot stand. "My life is shattered without you. I already hold you in my heart. You are my last love and the only consolation in my life. But to see you so dissatisfied and sad grieves me and I can sacrifice myself to let you go. But even when [you are] far away, I will not cease to love you - and until death... I adore you and will always adore you, that is certain. Farewell, I kiss your sweetest mouth." Letter 6 2 pp. Quarto. Dated Mercaldi, October 19, 1921. Puccini has received two letters from Ader. They were well written, and he understood everything. He had telegraphed her that he was leaving the following day, but instead he will leave on Friday. He hopes to find her letters at the Teatro Comunale. Schnabl has written from Vienna, and will come to Bologna. Puccini himself is very sad because he will not be alone in Bologna. They will go to Rome and then afterwards he will come to Milan in order not to move again. He thinks that his wife is trying to prevent him from being with her. He is going to try to have [Giuseppe] Adami help him see her. He understands that her studies with Bettinelli are going well. He concludes with many loving remarks. "... I curse my life, because it is my Rose I would like near!...You are my poetry, and I adore you, and I would like to see you always and kiss your mouth, so beautiful, fresh, adorable! And instead I am so far away! But there will come a time, I hope, when I can be happy with you? The Mrs. ["Frau"] has never mentioned you, but I know she thinks a lot about this love of mine. I have not been bothered, but I feel that The Mrs. thinks about it, and is going to Bologna so that I don't go with you. It is a little hidden battle. But my Muckili is in my heart and no one can take her away!... " Letter 7 2 pp. Quarto. Dated Milan, February 1[?], [19]22. On stationery with Verdi's Milan address embossed at head. With original autograph envelope postmarked Milan, February 2, 1922 with Ader's name and St. Moritz (Switzerland) address. Puccini reports that, after a thousand difficulties, Il Trittico has been produced. On the first night, the public was a little cold, but was better on the second. The audience at La Scala is terrible. In Rome he has also had great success with Gilda. He asks why he has not heard any news from her. He was unable to write because he was not well and then he spent the whole day at La Scala. He is a little tired and would like to be in Viareggio where there is sun and quiet. He is sad, and misses her very much. He expresses his love. "... My soul is full of sadness because of you - not through your fault, my poor, sweet one, but because I don't have you and cannot have you as I would like - always with me, or at least nearby, in order to tell you everything in my soul and to find in you that consolation that I need so much! But the world and destiny are against me... " Letter 8 2 pp. Small quarto. Dated Milan, February 4, [19]22. On note card with "Ente Autonomo del Teatro alla Scala" printed at head. With original autograph envelope postmarked Milan, February 4, 1922 with Ader's name and St. Moritz address. Puccini has telegraphed both Hamburg and St. Moritz, but has heard nothing from Ader in several days. He is perplexed. He plans to go to Viareggio towards the fourteenth or fifteenth of the month because he does not feel well in Milan. On the twenty-first he must be in Rome for eight days. [Riccardo] Redaelli found her a very clean pension, which, however, did not have any room. He will have something for her when she arrives. Il Trittico went well at La Scala, Suor Angelica not so well with a soprano from Bologna. He sends kisses. "... Where have you been? O mysterious woman! And what have you done in Berlin? Whom have you seen?... It would be better if you came towards the thirteenth or fourteenth - then [we can be] together [in] Rome, Muckili. Think about it. I want to see you very much, but I am a little perplexed because[?] you [are] mysterious!... " Letter 9 2 pp. Quarto. Dated Viareggio, Lunedi [February 1922?]. On stationery with "Viareggio Via Buonarroti" embossed at head. Puccini has just received Ader's two letters. He asks her whether she has seen Ortlieb and whether he mentioned Puccini. He sent telegraphs to Maestro Paolantonio and to Valcarenghi. Hoping to feel better, he took a purge that morning, but feels immensely sad instead. On Saturday his wife, Elvira, and his son, Tonio, will arrive, so Ader should write to Viareggio, post restante. It annoys him that they are coming. He would have wished to have seen her without them there, but patience, always patience. She is in the middle of the festivities and the automobile races. His is mailing this letter registered. He reports that Redaelli has left for Milan. The weather is as gloomy as his own spirits. He laments life without her. He sends kisses. "I don't know what to tell you today! I am not well and I no longer have faith in myself, nor hope in anything. I feel that I am losing you. Life without you is very sad for me. It is as though everything were finished. It would have been better if I had never known you - yes, better for you and for me. But you are young and will have a good life, whereas for me, it will be the opposite... My sky is full of dark clouds! Even Turandot gives me no comfort!... " Letter 10 2 pp. Quarto. Dated Viareggio, July 10, [19]22. On stationery with "Viareggio Via Buonarroti" embossed at head. With original autograph envelope postmarked Viareggio, July 10, [19]22 with Ader's name and Salzburg address. Puccini has seen [Giulio] Gatti-Casazza, whom Ader met in Vienna, and was unable to obtain anything for her. Gatti-Casazza has no openings for lyric singers, and there much competition among Americans. He very much wishes he could have been of service to her. He has received her letter, and read of her success in Budapest. He was very happy for her. He asks if she no longer goes to the Seeligmans, and for news about an Italian baron (probably Ader's future husband), whom she should not trust. He does not work because he does not feel like it. He has received the third act (presumably of Turandot), but it is still not good. Adami will come soon, and they will correct it. He begs Ader to write to him. She may send her letters to his house, because no one will read them. "... And what news is there of the Italian baron? I would not put too much trust in a man from the South. Be careful!... I think a lot about beautiful times gone by! My Muckili is so far away and life is difficult for us! Then, the usual word: I am old! Truly I am. There are many people here, but they all mean nothing to me. Winter is better. I often see [Angiolino?] Magrini and a few others - no women... " Letter 11 2 pp. Quarto. Dated July 23, [19]22. On stationery with "Viareggio Via Buonarroti" embossed at head. With original autograph envelope postmarked Viareggio, July 24, [19]22 with Ader's name and Salzburg address. Minor tearing, soiling, and wear; annotations in pencil to upper panel. Puccini has just gotten out of bed; he has been sick with a fever for several days, and feels very weak. He has received all of Ader's letters. If he feels better, he, his son, and Magrini will drive to the Dolomites, then to Munich, and perhaps to Holland. If he is well enough to make the trip, it would be toward the fifteenth or twentieth of August. He has not worked any more on Turandot. He tells Ader that if she wants to be a coloratura, she must have courage. He congratulates her because he knows she has the tenacity and desire to become one. He begs her for news. In a postscript he adds that he has sent her a copy of Madame Butterfly in Italian. "... I have not worked on Turandot any more. I don't feel like it; I don't feel like doing anything. I think that my life is no longer what is was. I am a little sad and also resigned to my destiny. I have a dry heart. I think, though, about all our matters with pleasure and even with nostalgia. If you had been near me I would have had some consolation. But your future with me would have been dangerous... " Letter 12 2 pp. Quarto. Dated Catigliano, August 9, [19]22. On stationery with "Viareggio Via Buonarroti" embossed at head. With original autograph envelope postmarked Catigliano, August 9, [19]22 with Ader's name and Westerland address. Annotations in German in black ink ("Miramar House unknown"). Puccini is staying with Magrini. It was too hot in Viareggio, and there were too many people there. He will, however, return to Viareggio the next day to prepare for his automobile trip. They will probably leave around the fifteenth, and will go to the Dolomites, then to Oberamergau, Munich, and the Black Forest. They propose to arrive in Holland. He is much better since his illness; the last few days in the mountains have done him good. Madame Vezsi wrote him a very kind letter from Berlin. He may be in Munich on August twenty-second, but he does not think they will stay at the Regina because it is too expensive. There are four Magrini people accompanying him on the voyage. He asks for news from her, and sends greetings to Dr. and Mrs. Tony[?]. Puccini also mentions Turandot (which remains unfinished), Manon Lescaut, and Suor Angelica; as well as a disagreement with the publisher Giulio Ricordi regarding a foxtrot (based upon the humming chorus from Madame Butterfly) which had been illegally published by Ricordi's New York branch. "... I always think of my dear and sweet Muckilina with nostalgia... Gilda [Dalla Rizza] wrote me from Buenos Aires that she sang Suor Angelica. Toscanini will give Manon at La Scala this winter. In a few days, I will sign the contract with Ricordi for Turandot, and I think we will reach an agreement on the subject of the Butterfly foxtrot... And what news of yourself? The Baron?... How sweet was Muckilina's mouth! With whom are you in Westerland? With the Seeligmans?... " Letter 13 2 pp. of a bifolium. Octavo. Dated Vienna, May 19, [19]23. On stationery with the name and emblem of the Hotel Bristol in Vienna printed at head. Manon has been postponed until September, and so Puccini has made his trip for nothing. In three or four days he will return to Viareggio. He thanks her for her letter. He also mentions Turandot, which he still has not completed, and the Austrian composer Erich Korngold. He sends his affectionate greetings. "... To see your handwriting again gave me joy and made me very melancholy[?]. I hope that you are happy. I am returning to my little house in Viareggio to complete the eternal Turandot. I finally have the third act, which is very beautiful. I have seen Maestro Korngold many times, who is a good and fine person. We have even spoken about you..." Letter 14 2 pp. Ca. 89 x 138 mm. [Dated Viareggio, September 11, 1924]. On a notecard with Puccini's name printed at head. With original autograph envelope postmarked Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi, September 11, [19]24 with Ader's married name ("Gentilissima Signora Baronessa Rosa Trigona") and address. Puccini asks Ader, now married, to forgive him for having shown no signs of life. He complains of a sore throat - surely a symptom of the throat cancer that precipitated his death less than three months later. The upcoming première of Turandot impels him to work. He sends affectionate greetings to Ader and her husband, Baron Trigona. "... I have not been well, and at present my sore throat is bothering me. I must set to work assiduously because in April I will give Turandot at La Scala, and I must finish the opera! I hope that my health improves... " All in Italian (with translations) except for letter no. 4 which is in both Italian and German. All in black or blue ink except for letter no. 2, which is in pencil. Signed variously "Giacomo," "G.P." "G. Puccini," "Muckilissimo," etc., and addressed variously "My good Rose," "My dear Rose," "To my sweet Rose," "My Rose," "My Muckili," etc. With minor defects including occasional wear, soiling, foxing, browning, small tears, etc. In very good condition overall.
      [Bookseller: J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians LLC]
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