Lot 211
  • 211

Verdi, Giuseppe

5,000 - 7,000 GBP
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  • Verdi, Giuseppe
  • Autograph manuscript draft of part of the libretto of Otello, comprising twelve lines of text written by the composer 
  • paper
a draft for the final scene of the opera, the revelation of Iago's treachery in stealing Desdemona's handkerchief and falsely implicating Cassio, where Otello utters the famous line "E il Ciel non ha più fulmini" ("Has Heaven no more thunderbolts?"), an early version with considerable differences from Boito's final libretto; on the verso, there is a draft of a letter about providing poor relief for the Comune of Polesina, near Verdi's home

...O[tello].  Ma il fazzoletto
E[milia]. Io lo trovai.  Iago me l'a rubò
C[assio].  E Iago il diede a me
O.  Parla...
I[ago]. Non interrogarmi
O. E il Ciel non ha più fulmini...

2 pages, 8vo, no place or date, probably 1884-1885, creasing along central folds

Catalogue Note

THIS IS VERDI'S EARLY WORKING DRAFT FOR THE CLIMAX OF "OTELLO" showing the composer's involvement in a key scene of the libretto.  This manuscript represents a very early, rough sketch of what Verdi envisaged for the final scene. It is not possible to know if it predates Arrigo Boito's original libretto, which is inaccessible. However, we know that, by October 1885, the text was already approaching the final version: see Verdi's transcription in the letter to Boito of 5 October 1885, in Hans Busch, Verdi's Otello and Simone Boccanegra in Letters and Documents, 2 volumes, (1988), p.181. The manuscript is written on the verso of an unrelated draft and is an undeveloped sketch, never sent to Boito.