Tuesday at 8:00 PM
Robert Merrill (Rigoletto); Roberta Peters (Gilda); Jussi Bjoerling (Duke)
“Operas uniform with this, in foreign and English…”
It’s difficult to find much background on the London publisher who issued “Davidson’s Musical Opera-Books,” but the online versions of these are a find, complete with melodies printed for all the major pieces—perfect for 21st century iPad users.
Imagine the anticipation: climbing into a carriage bound for the Royal Opera House, clutching a newly purchased libretto for the London premiere of Rigoletto. In 1853, it had been the talk of the theater world since its open at La Fenice in Venice (1851). It was said that Verdi knew he had a hit, and had withheld the music for “La donna è mobile” from the performers until hours before curtain, preventing it from being leaked to the public. The morning after, Venetians were singing it on the canals.
As a Londoner, one could expect a pleasant transaction with this publisher, “Orders by Post, with Stamps remitted, punctually attended to.”