Price: $1800.00


Well preserved and legible long one page autographed letter signed to his close friend and hunting buddy, Antonio Bettolacci, January 30, 1917.  We include a vintage French postcard portrait.

The composer writes:

Dear Tonino,


Will you be in Sestri? But if you are there will you receive it if I write to you there? Atrocious doubt, like Hamlet! And when in doubt abstain says the apostle, but I do not give any credence to the ancient dictatorship and I address it to Sestri, come what may. I am extremely doubly dear to Lucchese - is it the cold? Is it my ass? (Here in Milan the double consonants are not valid) The fact is that I wanted to tell you that I cannot take the warm lambskin coat. I have one (indeed I had one, in words  / a cave) (as they say in the funny Livornese) and I had it fixed.  And everything is because of the motorcycle because you must know that the gasoline economy is a thing of the maximum importance and the motorcycle consumes less than the Fiat.  The choruses I will finish early around 5 and then I will be at Torre d’Orlando.  And will you will be there? I would be sorry not to find you there.


I greet you with affection,


G. Puccini

Puccini (1858-1924) found the War years very difficult and was typically morose during the period.  This letter written to his friend and business advisor proves that he did not completely lose his sense of humor. He finished his opera “La Rondine” at Easter in 1916 and despite the negativity coming from Ricordi that it was an operetta had sold it to Monte Carlo, out of the war zone for a March, 1917 World Premiere.  He was working on his long held plan of writing an evening of 3 one act operas based upon the success of Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” an idea he had conceived of as early as 1904.  His evening of opera theatre was initially conceived of for the Teatro Costanzi and he had met with Emma Carelli, the soprano and then intendant of the house numerous times to discuss the premiere. It was to be a diverse evening offering a melodrama, a sentimental work and a buffo piece to end the evening.  Tito Ricordi who Puccini regarded like a father had turned down Rondine as an operetta and unworthy of Puccini’s talent and so it went to Sonzogno their competitor.  He had also rejected the idea of “Il Trittico”, though as he passed away in 1912 and the Ricordi’s wanted their cash cow composer back, he agreed to let them publish the work. He worked on “Il Tabarro” in 1916 and finished “Suor Angelica” the Summer of 1917, which leaves the choruses mentioned in this letter belonging to the buffo opera end, “Gianni Schicchi”, the most critically acclaimed of the three at the World Premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in December, 1918.  Puccini was unable to travel to New York for the premiere like he had for “La Fanciulla del West” due to the limited post war passenger shipping at the conclusion of the War, so he concentrated his efforts on the Teatro Costanzi preparations for the Italian premiere.

The letter is addressed to Bettolacci’s son to give to his Father.  Due to the postage cancellation, we know it begins with a “C”.  Bettolacci was perhaps Puccini’s closest friend and hunting buddy.  His main job was the day to day operation of the business affairs of wealthy and noble Ginori-Lisci family and is often stated as Puccini’s business manager.  That said, as asked, when Puccini was not around he would handle things which might come up at his home in Torre de Lago.  Bettolacci’s responsibilities were quite involved with the Ginori-Lisci’s who in addition to running Florence, were involved in the wool business, pottery business, agriculture business and had a famous winery.  His friend Puccini was not in their financial league.

Most Puccini letters we see are in generally terrible condition and do not have much to say.  This amusing letter is quite the opposite!


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