[Please feel free to forward to interested parties.]
I'm happy to announce that an exhibit I co-curated with sound engineer
Seth Winner has just opened where I work, at The New York Public Library
for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center (next to the Met Opera House).
Here's a brief description on the library's website:
Beyond the idea of observing the 50th anniversary of the conductor's
death, one thing that we were anxious to include were little-known and
rarely seen documents, scores, and photographs, most of them a part of
the "Toscanini Legacy" -- the conductor's personal papers which his
family generous gave to The New York Public Library for the Performing
While opera is not specifically a theme of the exhibit, there is quite
a bit of it included in the form of pictures and scores. There's a case
devoted to Toscanini's relationship to Puccini, including letters, the
familiar pic of the climax of LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST as well as a
less-familiar shot in a slightly different pose, offering a much wider
view of the stage. There's Toscanini's score of TOSCA, open to the final
pages of act 1. At the climax where Scarpia and the chorus sing the Te
Deum in unision, Toscanini has changed the orchestration to include
On this theme, there is a case devoted to scores in which Toscanini
emended scores, including Gershwin's An American in Paris, Stravinsky's
Petrouchka (changing 12 bars of a 5/8 passage into 10 bars of 6/8), and
Another case is devoted to soprano Rose Bampton and her husband, conductor
Wilfred Pelletier, and many of the gifts Toscanini presented to them,
including copies of his own youthful musical compositions.
There's a frame devoted to Frances Alda, including a special homecoming
party she held for Giuseppe de Luca in 1946, featuring de Luca, Toscanini,
Martinelli, Alda, and a seemingly soused Maria Jeritza.
Less well known is Toscanini's influence in post-war La Scala affairs.
Although we couldn't include very much, La Scala's management was in
constant contact with Toscanini and consulted with him on numerous aspects
of running the house. What we did include were 2 out of 5 color pencil
drawings by Nicola Benois of the 1952 production of OTELLO.
For the media portion of the exhibit, Seth has culled together some
rare recordings and rehearsals, including the earliest existing Toscanini
rehearsals (Beethoven's 4th symphony, 3rd movement, with the La Scala
Orchestra, in 1926), Toscanini's last performance of Bruckner's 7th
symphony (most of the 3rd movement), some fascinating rehearsal material
from of his suite arranged from music of Dukas's ARIANE ET BARBE-BLEU,
a really crisp performance of the Brahms Piano Concerto no. 2 with
Vladimir Horowitz (from 1945, which was never broadcast) and many other
Most of all, I hope everyone realizes that this exhibit is a tiny, tiny
fraction of the Toscanini Legacy (i.e. the collection), and that it
should serve as an incentive to visit The Library and find, see, and
hear much more of this fascinating material.
Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-TALK ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---