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[Puccini, Giacomo]--Elvira Puccini
REMARKABLE LONG TRENCHANT AUTOGRAPH LETTER BY ELVIRA TO HER ERRANT HUSBAND GIACOMO, DETAILING HER MANIFOLD GRIEVANCES AGAINST HIM, SIGNED ("ELVIRA")
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59
[Puccini, Giacomo]--Elvira Puccini
REMARKABLE LONG TRENCHANT AUTOGRAPH LETTER BY ELVIRA TO HER ERRANT HUSBAND GIACOMO, DETAILING HER MANIFOLD GRIEVANCES AGAINST HIM, SIGNED ("ELVIRA")
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[Puccini, Giacomo]--Elvira Puccini
REMARKABLE LONG TRENCHANT AUTOGRAPH LETTER BY ELVIRA TO HER ERRANT HUSBAND GIACOMO, DETAILING HER MANIFOLD GRIEVANCES AGAINST HIM, SIGNED ("ELVIRA")
denouncing his selfishness in leaving the mother of his two children alone and undefended for months to face prosecution [for defaming their housemaid Doria], when he could easily have put an end to all the false accusations, which, even if she is guilty, he Giacomo is the root cause of it all, as she will certainly be pointing out in court, reminding him how accommodating she has been whilst he has been cavorting with "la Torinese" for the last three years, keeping quiet about behaviour that could have landed him in prison, taunting him about the craven letter he had sent her about fleeing to Switzerland when he feared prosecution, warning him that she feels confused and does not know how she will respond to the conflicting advice of her lawyers, once accusations start flying around, but he will have to bear the consequences; Elvira then turns her fire on Giacomo as a man and husband more generally, for rejecting her love and turning her from a passionate woman into a victim, calling on God to punish him, when it will all be too late to feel regret as, through his selfishness, he has destroyed their family, reminding him that he probably has barely twenty years more to live, his health being weak, that when he finally needs the love of an affectionate woman, it will be too late, and he will live out his last days isolated and alone, since not even all his money will reconcile his son to the man who has so mistreated her, urging him to stop lying to evade his responsibilities, as he is deludes only himself, concluding that it is useless to say more since it is all so obvious now

16 pages, 8vo (c.18 x 11cm), on 4 bifolios, a few holes in the first sheet through oxidization of Elvira's heavy brown ink, [Milan] 25 March 1909


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Provenance

Bubb Kuyper, 22 May 2008, lot 4208.  

Literature

A. Marchetti (editor), Puccini com'era (1973), letter no.359 (pp.256-365, including a facsimile); the letter is referred to in subsequent biographies of Puccini, notably by Julian Budden (2004).

Catalogue Note

This is a famous letter, written at the height of the "Doria" affair, but made public only in the 1970s.  Elvira was convinced that Puccini was having an affair with their housemaid Doria Manfredi and conducted a relentless campaign of public vilification against the poor girl, in which she was as single-minded as she appears in this letter.  Despite Giacomo's attempts to restrain his wife, Doria was finally driven to commit suicide in January 1909.  Puccini subsequently tried to defend her but Elvira was successfully prosecuted by Doria's family for defamation, libel and threatening behaviour and was condemned to jail for five months and a large fine.  Puccini eventually came to a substantial settlement with the Manfredis; indeed he had tried to buy them off beforehand.  Elvira appears remarkably unconcerned to excuse her own behaviour against Doria; she devotes all her considerably energy to lambasting her husband.

"...[p.10] Per troppo lungo tempo hai fatto di me la tua vittima, hai sempre calpestato i sentimenti buoni e amorosi miei verso di te offendendomi sempre nel mio [p.11] affetto di moglie e di amante appassionata quale fui sempre.  Ma se un Dio c’è dovrà farti pagare quello che hai fatto soffrire a me, e l’ora del castigo suonerà anche per te, e allora ti pentirai del male [p.12] che mi hai fatto ma sarà troppo tardi col tuo egoismo hai distrutto una famiglia ed hai causata cose assai gravi e le è vero che tutto nel mondo si sconta, tu la sconterai, Non hai più 20 anni nè godi di un florida salute e verrà presto [p.13] il giorno in cui l'isolamento ti peserà e ricercherai le cure e l’amore di una persona affettuosa, ma sarà troppa tardi e dovrai finire i tuoi giorni solo e abbandonato da tutti..."

Musical Manuscripts

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