1) Bizet, "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée" from Act 2 of Carmen, inscribed by Bizet ("à Madame Lhérie, souvenir de Carmen 20 janvier 1875 Georges Bizet"), written before the premiere, notated for tenor ("Don José") and piano, in brown ink on nine staves, 1 page, oblong 4to (c.18 x 33cm), mounted at one corner, 20 January 1875
2) L. Cherubini, "Canone a 4 voci uguali di L. Cherubini", notated on seven staves, comprising a work of twenty-eight bars in all, c.22 x 29cm, no place or date, c.1840 or earlier
3) Gounod, "O blanc bouquet de l'épousée!" from Le Tribut de Zamora, signed ("Ch. Gounod")
4) Delibes, "N'ai-je pas l'impertinence" from Le Roi l'a dit, signed and inscribed ("à Madame Lhérie, très sympathique Hommage Léo Delibes,"), notated for tenor ("Benoit") and piano on nine staves, comprising seventeen bars in all, 24.5 x 35.5cm, July 1873
5) Saint-Saëns, "Anime-toi, respire!", from the one-act opera La Princesse jaune, notated for voice and piano on six staves, signed and inscribed ("à Madame Lherie, C. Saint-Saëns, Juin 1872")
6) Massenet, the cavatine "Que de ta lèvre en fleur" from Don César de Bazan, signed and inscribed ("à Madame Lhérie, Hommage respectueux. J. Massenet"), notated in black ink on six staves, December 1872
30 pages, oblong folio (overall size: c.25 x 36cm), some ruled with a rastrum, nineteenth-century red morocco, blocked in blind, gilt-lettered on cover ("C. L."), gilt clasps and edges, Paris, 1840-1945, (but mainly 1868-1875), some items laid down or mounted
Carmen was first given at the Opéra-Comique on 3 March 1875 and its lurid "realism" was greeted with outrage by the audience and press. Bizet died only three months later, before its success was assured: Carmen is now one of the best-loved operas in the repertoire, but its comparative failure is thought by some to have contributed to Bizet's decline. When the rehearsals began in September 1874, Bizet faced opposition from the director of the theatre, who asked for the "realism" of the drama to be toned down. "Fortunately Bizet was firmly supported by Galli-Marié and his Don José, Lhérie, so that few compromises had to be made" (OG, i, 735). It would appear that Bizet penned the present rare memento of Don José's famous lyrical outburst, whilst the opera was still in rehearsal, and in recognition of his tenor's support during that trying period.
The album contains further autograph quotations, also mainly operatic, by Ambroise Thomas (from Hamlet), Reyer (from Erostrate), Auber, Massé (a piano piece), François Bazin (From Le Voyage en Chine), Carafa ('Il dispetto'), Raoul Pugno, Lenepveu (from Le Florentin), Auguste Mermet (from Roland à Roncevaux), Ferdinand Poise (from Bonsoir, voisin), Ambroise Dubois, Maillart, Eugène Gautier ('Nouvel Air'), Weckerlin, Jules Cohen, Gevaert, Henri Potier and others; together with signatures etc. by VICTOR HUGO, Alphonse Dubois and Line Zilgien. Some of the earlier entries are inscribed to Mademoiselle Clémence Abazaër or Lhérie-Abazaër.
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