Text Box: HARMONIE AUTOGRAPHS AND MUSIC INC.

MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN

Price: $450.00

Text Box: MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS AND EPHEMERA BOUGHT AND SOLD

 FINE CONDITION

Autographed and inscribed Ferdinand Mulnier of Paris lacquer faced carte de visite photograph of the important French opera composer and Director of the Paris Conservatoire to the mysterious Russian noble opera mezzo soprano Speranza Engally.

Thomas (1811-1896) in his lifetime was one of the most important composer’s operating in Paris.  Today like Gounod, he is chiefly remembered for two operas, “Hamlet” and “Mignon”.  Thomas from a musical family, entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1828 studying piano with Pierre Zimmermann the chairman of the department at the time and earning a first in piano performance the next year.  He earned a first in harmony in 1829 and after a try for the prix de Rome in 1831, won the prize in 1832 with his cantata “Hermann et Ketty”.  He also studied piano privately with Friedrich Kalkbrenner and composition with Jean-François Lesueur.  He was very productive in Rome writing chamber music, a requiem mass and a fantasia for piano and orchestra.  After he returned to Paris he chiefly composed music for the stage.  His first opera, “La Double Echelle” premiered in 1837 at the Opera Comique, which with a few exceptions became his artistic home for his operas.  Exceptions included, “Le Comte de Caragnola” in 1841, “Le Guerilliero” in 1842, “Hamlet” in 1868 and Françoise de Rimini” in 1882 which Premiered at the Paris Opera and “Mignon” which premiered at the Drury Lane Theatre in London in 1870. Twenty one in total not including revisions.  He also composed three ballets as well.  Other music written after Rome included vocal music both sacred and secular, chansons, orchestral marches, a few chamber pieces and both solo piano and organ works.

Auber appointed him Professor of composition at the Conservatoire in 1856, where in 1871 he succeeded him as Director.  Thomas was known for his Catholic taste in music where he remained hard and fast to French music of the Romantic period and would not hire Professors who were bent on changing music, so a professorship for Fauré did not occur until after his death.  That said he expanded offerings and classes during his tenure.  He worked until his death in 1896.

The photograph is dedicated to the Russo-French mezzo-soprano Speranza Engally (1850-????).  Born in Russia to a noble family, her real name was Nadezhda Engalltschow.  She sung with the Theatre Italien, Theatre Lyrique and arrived at the Opera Comique in 1878.  She made her Paris Opera debut in 1882 as Amneris.  She created roles in Victor Massé’s “Paul et Virginie”, Delibes “Jean de Neville” and Marpha in Jonciere’s “Dimitri”.  She created the role of Eros in the 1878 revision of Thomas’s 1866 opera-comique “Psyché”. Despite quite a bit of research, her fate after 1882 is quite unknown.

AMBROISE THOMAS  - COMPOSER
Text Box: COMPOSER AUTOGRAPHS

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