A fine copy of the first edition of one of Gluck's most important Italian operas, the second of the so-called 'reform' operas. It contains the celebrated epistle or preface in which Gluck and Ranieri de' Calzabigi outlined their principles and ideals in composing opera. The present copy appears, remarkably, to have belonged to the castrato and singing-master Giambattista Mancini (1714-1800), author of the influential singing treatise Pensieri, e riflessioni pratiche sopra il canto figurato (Vienna, 1774). In 1778 Mancini assisted his former composition teacher G. B. Martini in arranging a Bologna performance of Alceste.
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