Lot 718: ALS, two pages on two adjoining sheets, 5 x 6, October 12, 1906. Letter to the singer Georgette Leblanc, reiterating what he had already written about the casting of the role of Melisande in his opera Pelleas et Melisande. He says that the directors of the Theatre de la Monnaie only asked for his advice once things had been decided. He expected that she had been cast long ago but now it seems that Mary Garden was chosen, though she denies it. Debussy asks how he can find the truth behind the contradictory story, and hopes to remain on good terms with Leblanc's lover, Maurice Maeterlinck, who collaborated with him on Pelleas et Melisande. Since Maeterlinck is more powerful than Debussy in the Brussels arts world, he suggests leaving it to him to achieve the result they all desire. In very good condition, with moderate scattered toning and soiling. Previously sold by Sotheby's, 2000.With music by Debussy and a libretto adapted from Maurice Maeterlinck's Symbolist play of the same title, Pelleas et Melisande premiered in Paris in 1902 starring the Scottish soprano Mary Garden as Melisande. Debussy had promised the role to Georgette Leblanc and had even privately rehearsed the part with her, but the head of the Opera-Comique preferred Garden for the part and Debussy—after hearing her perform—agreed. Maeterlinck was enraged over Debussy's betrayal and tried to take legal action to prevent the production; after that failed, the writer threatened physical violence. It seems that this same exact problem came up again for the opera's first foreign production, which came five years later at the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels. A fascinating letter concerning what has become recognized as one of Debussy's landmark works.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 466
Wednesday, 9th December 2015
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