Lot 208
  • 208

Verdi, Giuseppe

12,000 - 15,000 GBP
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  • Verdi, Giuseppe
  • La forza del destino, libretto in quattro atti di F.M. Piave, Milan: regio stabilmento nazionale Tito di Gio. Ricordi, 1863 [blind-stamp to title "T.R./ 63/ III"], revised by the composer
  • paper
THE FIRST ITALIAN EDITION OF THE LIBRETTO, VERDI'S COPY WITH HIS UNPUBLISHED ADDITIONS AND REVISIONS, 50 printed pages, 8vo (16.5 x 11.3cm), original cast-list of the St Petersburg production, interleaved throughout with blue paper, with autograph additions by Verdi on five pages, and by Piave on six pages, including the complete re-drafting of the final scene over 7 pages, written in dark brown ink, [probably late November 1863], green printed wrappers, with Ricordi's advertisements 


ICCU\PAR\0690328, recording a single exemplar in Parma: Biblioteca dell'Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani (no copy in the British Library).  J. Nádas, 'New Light on Pre-1869 Revisions of La forza del destino', in Verdi Newsletter, volume 15 (New York: 1987), pp.7-29.  See also, A. Porter & D. Rosen, Verdi's Macbeth. A Sourcebook (1984), pp.339-345.

Catalogue Note

RARE:  few copies of printed librettos revised by Verdi have survived: we only know of copies of Macbeth and Il trovatore in institutional libraries.  Verdi composed La forza del destino for St Petersburg in the winter of 1862; the present libretto is the first Italian edition, issued in 1863, and is itself very rare. The dénouement of La forza del destino, with the hero leaping from a cliff (and two other violent deaths) always troubled the composer, and he began to revise it almost immediately, collaborating with the librettist Francesco Maria Piave.  He has revised scenes V and VIIIwith a working draft of some new lines which are partly incorporated in the final version. 

"Tutto fec' io per evitar lo scontro..
[deleted line:] Chiusi in un chiostro...E mi 
In un chiostro mi chiusi
Così in un chiostro [...]
E mi raggiunse...un insulto...e morì"

Verdi's additions to the present libretto represent an early stage in his revisions.  He wrote to Piave on 30 October and 13 November 1863, asking for his ideas as how they could revise the ending, and they set to work using the present interleaved copy of the published libretto, provided by Ricordi.  The librettist visited Verdi at St Agata between 16 and 26 November, which is probably when this work was done.  (There is another such example of Verdi and Piave working together in this way in 1865, using an interleaved copy of the original Macbeth libretto). The final pages contain a final scene in Piave's hand, including Padre Guardiano's "Non imprecare, umiliati", but otherwise quite different from either the original 1862 libretto or the final La Scala version.  Although it is no longer explicit that Don Alvaro leaps to his death, he still breaks away at the end to "lose himself among the precipices".  It was only when Ricordi suggested that the opera should be performed in Milan in 1869, that Verdi completed his revision with the help of  the librettist Antonio Ghislanzoni.