Alceste. [Paris?: after 1673, before 13 October 1702]
Manuscript vocal score, folio (13 ½ x 9 in.; 342 x 230 mm.). 148 leaves paginated 1-296, with interlinear libretto in French by Philippe Quinault, directions and minor headings in French, by a scribal hand, the caption-title and major headings lettered through stencils, written in black ink on paper watermarked with grapes and countermarked BR or BB on the horns of a crescent, staves ruled and pricked twelve to the page, with early emendations, annotations, marginalia, additional music and one line in French written on the last page dated 13 October 1702; scattered foxing. 18th-century mottled sheep, gold-stamped tan title label, spine gilt; corners mended, slight worming on spine.
Fine contemporary manuscript of one of the earliest french operas, first performed at Versailles in November 1673. This was Lully’s second tragédie lyrique, preceded only by Cadmus et Hermione a few months before. The libretto was printed immediately but for more than thirty years the music was circulated only in manuscript, long after Lully’s death. No autograph manuscript is known to survive, but some 25 early scribal manuscripts are recorded in institutional collections.
See Schneider, Chronologisch-thematisches Verzeichnis ... Lully, p. 225, no. 50
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