Sei sulla pagina 1di 62







Centro studi GIACOMO PUCCINI, Lucca

Fondazione WALTER STAUFFER, Cremona

propedeutica alla giornata di studi in forma seminariale:

La filologia del melodramma italiano

fin de sicle e oltre, il caso Tosca

Palazzo Raimondi
Corso Garibaldi
Cremona, 14 gennaio 2000, ore 9.30-18

Bibliografia del seminario


D ELLA S ETA , F ABRIZIO , Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian

opera, Cambridge Opera Journal, vol. 10/1, 1998, pp. 3-14.


D OTTO , G ABRIELE , Opera, Four Hands: Collaborative Alterations in

Puccinis Fanciulla, Journal of the American Musicological Society,
XLII , 1989, pp. 604-24. Trad. italiana: Lopera a quattro mani: modifiche
in collaborazione nella Fanciulla del West, in Puccini, a cura di V.
Bernardoni, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1996, pp. 355-80.


DOTTO , G ABRIELE - P ARKER , R OGER , Prefazione allEdizione critica delle

opere di Gaetano Donizetti (Milano, Ricordi, 1991-), pp. VII-IX.


GOSSETT, PHILIP, Prefazione allEdizione critica delle opere di Giuseppe Verdi

(The works of Giuseppe Verdi, Series I: Operas. Le opere di Giuseppe Verdi,
Serie I: Opere teatrali), Milano - Chicago, Ricordi - The Chicago
University Press, 1986-).


H EPOKOSKI , J AMES , Overriding the autograph score: the problem of textual

authority in Verdis Falstaff, Studi verdiani 8, 1992, pp. 13-51


P ARKER , R OGER , A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world, in

LOpera teatrale di Gaetano Donizetti, Atti del Convegno Internazionale
di Studi, Bergamo 17-20 settembre 1992, a cura di F. Bellotto, Bergamo,
Comune di Bergamo e Assessorato allo spettacolo 1993, pp. 57-66.


PARKER, ROGER, Commento critico allo spartito di Tosca, introduzione,

Milano, Ricordi 1995, p. XVII.


SCHICKLING, DIETER , Puccinis Work in Progress: The so-called Versions of

Madama Butterfly, Music & Letters, vol. 79/4, 1998, pp. 527-37.

Questa pubblicazione stata curata da Michele Girardi. Tutti i testi

seguono le norme redazionali previste dalla pubblicazione in cui sono
apparsi in origine: si ringraziano autori, editori, curatori, e in particolare
casa Ricordi, proprietaria delle musiche citate (26 novembre 1999).

Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera




The historiography of Italian opera is particularly well suited to illustrate

some problems in the general field of music history and musicology.1 On
the one hand, there is little doubt that Italian opera belongs to the canon,
not to say the museum, of learned western music; indeed, todays opera
houses surpass concert halls in projecting the museum character in which
musical tradition seems frozen. On the other hand, it is also true that
only in recent years has international musicology accepted Italian opera
as unquestionably deserving of attention. The reasons for this delay are
clear enough. Some were easily overcome, connected to the very history
of our discipline: since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the musical language of Italian operatic composers diverged from the mainstream
Austro-German tradition; the dramaturgy of Italian opera was difficult
to understand in a cultural context moulded by Wagnerian theory and
practice (in part also by Shakespeare, Schiller, etc.). Other factors, however,
are more deeply embedded, and continue to have an effect even in
intellectual conditions very different from those of traditional musicology.
These include: the manner in which extra-artistic factors determine the
operatic work; the various creative competencies that take part in operatic
production; the considerable importance accorded to performers,
particularly singers; the possibility that parts of an opera may be moved
from one work to another, or from one author to another; the fact that in
the history of Italian operatic conventions, shared codes and repetition of
formulas often prevailed over the search for novelty.
These features were generally felt to clash with a Classical-Romantic
idea of artistic creation. Indeed, they are scarcely compatible with such

Abbiati = Franco Abbiati, Giuseppe Verdi, Milano, Ricordi, 1963, 4 voll.
Carner = Mosco Carner, Puccini. A Critical Biography, London, Duckworth, 1958;
trad. it.: Giacomo Puccini. Biografia critica, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 1961, 1974 2.
Gara = Carteggi pucciniani, a cura di Eugenio Gara, Milano, Ricordi, 1958
Hopkinson = Cecil Hopkinson, Bibliography of the Works of Giacomo Puccini 1858-1924,
New York, Broude & Brothers, 1968.

This paper is an expanded version of my contribution to the round table on

Historiography at the 16th Congress of the International Musicological Society, held
in London in August 1997. Like most panellists, I took as a starting point Harold Powers
Musical Historiography from an Other Perspective, to be published in The Journal of
Musicology, which takes as a point of reference Lydia Goehrs The Imaginary Museum of
Musical Works. An Essay in the Philosophy of Music (Oxford, 1992).

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera

[Verdis] criteria for determining success or failure were deeply rooted in the
operatic culture in which he had matured. The chief standard, quite simply, was
instant success at box office. The hope of creating masterpieces for posterity
and the increasing suspicion of widespread public success (characteristic of the
greatest German and Austrian composers throughout the Century . . ) were
alien ideas. . . . No evidence suggests that he actively sought a new form for
Italian opera or aimed for philosophical truth or formal profundity. Instead, he
produce a work whose musical and dramatic qualities would lead to a genuine,
ongoing success in the practical theatre.6

deep-rooted concepts as authorship, uniqueness of inspiration, organicity

and the architectonic character of the art work. The situation may also
have encouraged in historians an implicit idea of artistic morality difficult
to locate in Italian opera. I hardly need recall how these presuppositions
affected the best musical historiography of the past, from Hermann Abert
to Alfred Einstein, from Edward J. Dent to Donald J. Grout, nor do I
need to stress their continued currency in recent general histories.
Carl Dahlhaus is perhaps unique in German musicology in his striving
to understand Italian opera within the frame of a broader European musical tradition. In the first pages of his Nineteenth-Century Music we read
that: Italian opera of the nineteenth century represents a musical culture
in its own aesthetic right and should not be measured against a concept of
music drawn from Beethovens symphonies or Wagners music dramas. 2
This does not imply a value judgement, least of all a negative one. Indeed,
we are immediately warned against concluding that the music of Rossini
is a product of genius in its fashion [with] the caveat that the fashion
it represents merits an inferior rung in the musical hierarchy.3 It is none
the less true that Dahlhauss discussions of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti,
Verdi and Meyerbeer all start from a comparison with the German
tradition, especially with Wagner and Beethoven;4 and that this has caused
others to charge him, ungenerously but by no means groundlessly, with
germanocentrism.5 However, it is not unusual to find among distinguished Anglo-Saxon scholars a similar concern about the identity and value
of Italian opera, and an initial premise that we should not judge the genre
according to criteria used in Classical music. In a fine book on Verdis
Falstaff, for example, whe read that:

To declare the identity and value of an artistic phenomenon via negationis

as being what it is not means in some way to define it as Other with
respect to a culture felt as central. In other words, music historians have
been inclined to assume a perspective towards Italian opera similar to the
one European ethnomusicologists anthropologists have taken towards
other musical cultures. We can see surprising confirmation of this in the
fact that the four criteria Harold Powers recently proposed for ascribing
canonical status to a musical practice without linking it to a work-concept
the existence of highly skilled specialists who undergo long training, a
learned music-theoretical tradition with which the musical practice in
question is supposed to be in some sort of conformity, an independent
grounding of the musical practice in the culture, and a patron class that
professes connoisseurship7 all perfectly fit with Italian opera throughout
its history.
Powers has indeed made a powerful contribution to our understanding
of the formal mechanisms governing nineteenth-century Italian opera, mechanisms seen as sets of conventions shared between the author and his
public.8 In this context, variations on the known are more important than

Carl Dahlhaus, Die Musik des 19. Jabrhunderts (Wiesbaden, 1980); English trans.
Nineteenth-Century Music (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1989), 8.
Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-Century Music, 8.
See Arnold Whittall, Carl Dahlhaus, the Nineteenth Century and Opera, this journal,
3 (1991), 79-88.
Philip Gossett, Dahlhaus and the Ideal Type, 19th-Century Music, 12/1 (1989), 49-56,
and also the present writers Affetto e azione. Sulla teoria del melodramma italiano, in
Atti del XIV Congresso della Societ internazionale di musicologia (Bologna, 27 agosto 1
settembre 1987) Trasmissione e recezione delle forme di cultura musicale, 3, Free Papers ),
395-400. Although Dahlhaus had no special competence in Italian language and culture,
he never stopped elaborating and modifying his views of Italian opera. See his Drammaturgia dellopera italiana, in Lorenzo Bianconi and Giorgio Pestelli, eds., Storia dellopera, 6, Teorie e tecniche. Immagini e fantasmi (Turin, 1988), 79-162; and What is a
Musical Drama?, this journal, 1 (1989), 95-111.

James A. Hepokoski, Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff, Cambridge Opera Handbooks

(Cambridge, 1983), 54.
Harold S. Powers, Classical Music, Cultural Roots, and Colonial Rule: An Indic
Musicologist Looks at the Muslim World, Asian Music, 12 (1979), 5-39, quoted in his
Musical Historiography from an Other Perspective (see n. 1).
The most important is La solita forma and the uses of Convention , in Nuove
prospettive della ricerca verdiana. Atti del convegno internazionale in occasione della prima
del Rigoletto in edizione critica, Vienna, 12/13 marzo 1983 (Parma and Milan, 1987),
75-109 (also in Acta Musicologica, 49 [1987], 65-90). On p. 76 of this fundamental study
we read: Our approach to analysis is generally both prospective and Germanic: we
look at works as we hear them, and we think of each as a predecessor of all that follows,
ultimately of us: furthermore, we approach them with perceptions trained on the analysis
and criticism of instrumental music from North of the Alps.

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera

searching for the unknown, and the rhythm of change for these conventions
is extremely slow. We know that such features are typical of cultures in
which a non-written transmission prevails,9 and it has rightly been said
that Powers looks at his object with the estranging, and therefore perspicacious glance of the ethnomusicologist. 10 More recently, Martha Feldman
has suggested an anthropological reading of eighteenth-century opera seria,
centred on an analysis of the audience as active participants in the ritual
of operatic spectacle.11 Such analysis should enable us to explain the compositional structure of the opera. Even Dahlhaus, a scholar who, notwithstanding wide-ranging interests, never seems to have concerned himself with
ethnomusicological problems, constructed an opposition between text and
event that is typical of multicultural thinking:
Beethovens symphonies represent inviolable musical texts whose meaning is
to be deciphered with exegetical interpretations; a Rossini score, on the other
hand, is a mere recipe for a performance, and it is the performance which forms
the crucial aesthetic arbiter as the realization of a draft rather than an exegesis of
a text. Rossinis musical thought hinged on the performance as an event, not on
the work as a text passed down. . . . Thus Rossinis docile attitude toward his
singers was not evidence of aesthetic spinelessness, of a willingness to sacrifice
the authenticity of his text to the effect of a performance, but rather a direct
consequence of the view that the reality of music resides in its performance.12

That different disciplines engage with one another is obviously fruitful,

and each of the initiatives I have mentioned has the great merit of allowing
us to address our object from a fresh point of view. Nevertheless,
crossing-over also has its costs
(a) Reading opera seria through an anthropological lens certainly satisfies
the possibility of finding musical documents to illustrate social structures
Petr Bogatyrev and Roman Jakobson, Le folklore, forme spcifique de cration (1929),
in Jakobson, Questions de potique (Paris, 1973), 59-72.
Lorenzo Bianconi, La drammaturgia musicale (Bologna, 1987), 40.
Martha Feldman, Magic Mirrors and the seria Stage: Thoughts toward a Ritual
View, Journal of the American Musicological Jociety, 48 (1995), 422-84.
Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-Century Music (see n. 2), 9-10. This opposition was already
considered by a father of classical aesthetics, for whom, however, it was the basis for
an extremely elevated value judgement: Thus when it is said, for instance, that Rossini
makes things easy for the singers, this is only partly correct. Indeed, he makes it really
difficult for them by so often referring them to the activity of their own musical genius.
If this really is genius, the resulting work of art has a quite peculiar attraction, because
we have present before us not merely a work of art but the actual production of one.
G. W. F. Hegel, Aesthetics, trans. T. M. Knox (Oxford, 1975), II, 957.

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera

and processes. But this reading disregards establishing a relation between

the aesthetic and the historical substance of works of music.13 That is, the
reading tells us a lot about eighteenth-century society and its mentality,
but little about why some operas were judged better than others, and
why some are today re-enacted in the theatre, recorded, fixed in a critical
edition in short, continue to live through time. In Die italienische Oper
im 18. Jahrhundert, Reinhard Strohm sets out the premise that we should
once and for all accept early opera as an artistic phenomenon altogether
foreign to us. 14 Nevertheless, writing of Pergolesis Olimpiade, Strohm
maintains that we cannot pretend to read works of the past as if we did
not know what had happened since then (for example, Gluck and Wagner);
that it is mistaken to look at works of a period as if they were all equally
good or bad, and that it is perhaps possible to restore something of the
real fascination that art exerted on both creators and audiences.15 I think
Strohm is right: the fact that we apply to works of the past judgements
grounded on concepts that were conceived much later is neither a
conceptual error nor a consequence of cultural imperialism; it is, rather,
the foundation of our interest in the past, of the very existence of musical
(b) The dialectics between convention and innovation is fundamental
to every artistic culture; Beethovens symphonies also presuppose and
use conventions. Insisting too much on the pervasiveness of formal
conventions in Italian opera runs the risk of underestimating elements of
individuality that were at the time acknowledged as typical of some
(c) The opposition between Beethovens symphonies as Werk, fixed in
a written text, and Rossinis operas as a recipe for performance for the
event in which the musical reality would exist leads to a historical
simplification. It overlooks the importance of performance in the AustroGerman tradition, and it ignores the fact that Rossinis operas were the
starting point for a change in the conception of Italian opera, a change
that in the second half of the century resulted in a monumentalisation of
the repertory and a tendency towards idealising the operatic text. 16 It is
Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-Century Music (see n. 2), l.
Strohm, Die italieniscbe Oper im 18. Jabrhundert (Wilhelmshaven, 1979), 17.
Strohm, 217-18.
I have dealt with this topic in my Italia e Francia nellOttocento, Storia della musica 9
(Turin, 1993), 40-3 and 51-2.

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera

significant in this respect that Ricordi planned a complete edition of

Rossinis orchestral scores as early as the mid-1820s. The project was never
realised, but in the 1850s Ricordi instead published a complete edition of
the vocal scores: the first such series in the history of Italian composers,
and this in the same years that the great editions of Bach and Handel
began to appear. If we move back from Rossini to seventeenth- and
eighteenth-century opera, a one-sided interpretation insisting on its event
character would overlook the centrality of literary drama, the strong
written nucleus known by all the audience, of which the staging was but
one realisation.
(d) Insisting on the impossibility of value judgements between works
belonging to different musical cultures betrays a preoccupation with
estabhshing a value hierarchy between the cultures themselves; in fact it
tends to confirm that very hierarchy.
(e) The idea of Italian opera and the German musical tradition being
different cultures, each valued according to its own principles, is dangerous
because it casts doubt on the possibility of grasping, besides the many and
obvious differences, the resemblances and interchanges between them.
An unavoidable consequence is the concept of the uncontemporaneousness of the contemporary, to which Dahlhaus returned more than once:
there is no inner coherence to be detected in the music of the 1850s and 1860s ...
key musical phenomena of the time diverge so sharply that any history that
wishes to rise above the level of mythology is forced to abandon its search for a
formula expressing the internal unity of the era. . . . Not that the coexistence of
contrasting and virtually irreconcilable musical languages is surprising in itself:
the surprising thing is that each of these languages produced music of distinction,
causing its representative works to take their place in music history (Offenbach
no less than Brahms ).17

These words sound a warning note against the mythology of Geistesgeschichte. But Dahlhaus seems to introduce a kind of reverse Zeitgeist when
he weighs the divergency of musical languages against the fact that the
age of positivism could not boast of a musically tractable Zeitgeist capable
of proclaiming one style-period historically substantial and another
insubstantial.18 But what if, instead of affirming or denying the unity of
an age through the existence or non-existence of a unifying principle, we
Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-century Music (see n. 2), 194. See also Dahlhaus, Foundations of
Music History (Cambridge, 1983), 140-1.
Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-century Music, 194 (original edn, pp. 160-l).

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera

try to grasp the multiplicity of its links and oppositions, just as, according
to Wittgenstein, the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that
some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of
many fibres?19
The second half of the 1970s was of great significance in the historiography of Italian opera. In 1976 Strohms Italienische Opernarien des frhen
Settecento was published,20 and in 1977 an important round table chaired
by Pierluigi Petrobelli on Seventeenth-Century Music Drama took place
at Berkeley, at the centre of which was Lorenzo Bianconis and Thomas
Walkers paper, Production, consumption and political function of
17th-century opera.21 These studies initiated a radical rethinking of purposes and methods. Bianconi, for example, later singled out the implicit
premises of traditional historiography (opera criticism by eighteenthcentury men of letters, Wagners concept of musical drama, the teleologies
of both Romantic-idealistic and positivist musicology), and suggested
methodological models for a new history: Fernand Braudel (and, in general, the nouvelle histoire of the Annales) for the distinction between a history of the longue dure and an histoire venmentielle; Carlo Dionisotti
for the idea of an Italian tradition as a multiplicity of geographically different traditions; and the reception theory of Hans Robert Jauss, as extended by Reinhart Koselleck to political history, for the concepts of Erwartungshorizont (horizon of expectation) and Erfahrungsraum (space of experience).22
One outcome of this new perspective was the project for a Storia dellopera italiana, a multi-author work planned and edited by Bianconi and
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (Oxford,
1958), 32e.
As vol. 16 of Analecta Musicologica (Cologne).
A report of the round table, with a synoptic version of Bianconis and Walkers
paper, can be found in Daniel Heartz and Bonnie Wade, eds., I.M.S. Report of the Twelfth
Congress Berkeley 1977 (Kassel, 1981), 680-711; the complete version is in Early Music
History, 4, (1981), 209-96. Complementary to this study is the same authors Dalla
Finta pazza alla Veremonda: storie di Febiarmonici, Rivista Italiana di Musicologia,
10 (1975), 379-454. The topic was extended to the eighteenth century in the round table
Condizione sociale e intellettuale del musicista di teatro ai tempi di Vivaldi, in a report
published in Bianconi and Giovanni Morelli, eds., Antonio Vivaldi. Teatro musicale,
cultura e societ (Florence, 1982), 368-578.
Lorenzo Bianconi, Perch la storia dellopera italiana, Musica/Realt, 17 (August
1985), 29-48. Bianconi has also discussed these problems in Storia dellopera e storia
dItalia, Rivista Italiana di Musicologia, 9 (1974), 3-17; and in The Music in the Seventeenth
Century, trans. David Bryant (Cambridge, 1987), 45-104.

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera


Giorgio Pestelli.23 So far only the second part, three volumes under the
general title I sistemi, have appeared; of the first part, Le vicende, there is
still no sign. The reasons why the work has not yet been completed are of
course complex. Nevertheless, the question of whether the delay is in
part a symptom of epistemological difficulties is perhaps not only legitimate, but also productive.24
Among the historical models cited, that of Braudel seems crucial. From
this model Bianconi derives
a distinction between different temporal levels of historical analysis that, valid
in particular for economic history, and thus for political history, cannot fail to
apply so to the history of artistic matters, above all when, as is the case in opera,
art is deeply involved in economic-political contexts ... the interaction between
a study of structures that cut across generations, the analysis of simultaneous
phenomena and the discussion of single events is all the more necessary to the
historian of a form of spectacle that is both realised through a succession of
theatrical events (the single production, the single spectacle) rather than of
works ... and also unfolds in long-lasting and ever-changing modes of execution,
determined by a practice that is often and knowingly passed down unreflected
and slow-moving from generation to generation.25

In I sistemi the focus is on structures that persist through time: the

system of production, general artistic structures, and finally the ways in
which Italian opera was theorised, judged and represented. Even in thus
phase, different trajectories are at work: for example, taste in matters of
dramatic theory and poetic forms changed more quickly than the system
of production. However, we are dealing throughout with systems,
structures that can be described synchronically, cutting from the flux of
time a portion that we imagine to be motionless. In Le vicende, on the
contrary, we deal not only with single events but with successions;
moreover, with events that in time have condensed into works, have been
transmitted as such, have been forgotten and rediscovered, have influenced
other works and have been read in the light of them. Some historians tell
Turin, 1987. The series is being translated into German (Laaber, 1990), French
(Lige, 1992) and English (Chicago, 1998). Two important reviews are by William C.
Holmes in Journal of the American Musicological Society, 44 (1991), 120-8, and by Margaret
Murata in Il saggiatore musicale, 1 (1994), 227-38.
In October 1994 a study seminar took place at the Fondazione Levi of Venice on La
storiografia dellopera italiana, the central theme of which was: how to bring the Storia
dellopera italiana to an end? The present considerations rise from a rethinking of the
papers and discussion heard on that occasion.
Bianconi, Perch la storia dellopera italiana (see n. 22), 39.

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera


us that such a succession should not be described or analysed; if we do not

want to lose its basic historical character, it must be narrated.26 By now,
the story of Italian opera has been told many times; the problem is how
to retell it consistently within our methodological premises; how to speak
of individual works, composers and languages without offering merely a
gathering of all kinds of biographical information on composers or trivia
on their works;27 how to describe the succession without falling into the
traps of teleology and mechanistic causality. Can a historically grounded
judgement explain the aesthetic contemporaneity of specific works or
repertories? More important, can the history of events and the history of
systems be connected in a convincing way, showing that events are
sustained by structures, and structures in turn are realised and made
manifest in events?28
Not having a ready answer to these questions, I should like rather to
focus on two types of problem. The first concerns the distinction between
and relationship among system (or structure), event and work. Dahlhaus
deals with this in what is despite its importance one of the least discussed
chapters of his Foundations of Music History: Thoughts on structural
history. He departs from work done in the 1970s, mostly by German
historians such as Reinhart Koselleck. According to Koselleck:
structures in the temporal sense should be understood as collections of
relationships that do not resolve into a strict succession of one-time events, but
rather indicate duration, notable stability, . . . changes that happen only over
the long term. . . . While events are produced or experienced by specific subjects,
structures are by their very nature above the individual ... they are long-term
processes that occur independently of whether they are opposed or promoted.29

We should remember, however, that concepts of system and structure

are also central to literary theory. When structure is mentioned in that
See, among others, Koselleck and W.-D. Stempel, eds., Geschichte Ereignis und
Erzhlung, Poetik und Hermeneutik 5 (Munich, 1973); Paul Veyne, Comment on crit
Lhistoire (Paris, 1971); Jerzy Topolski, Narrare la storia. Nuovi principi di metodologia
storica (Milan, 1997). In the musicological field the problem of the history as narrative
has been discussed by Leo Treitler, What kind of Story is History?, in his Music and the
Historical Imagination, (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1986), 157-75.
Manuel Carlos de Brito, in the preliminary paper to the round table on historiography
(see n. 1, and Acta Musicologica, 69 [1997], 22).
Dahlhaus, Foundations of Music History, 133.
Koselleck, Vergangene Zukunft. Zur Semantik geschichtlicher Zeiten (Frankfurt am Main,
1979), 146-8.

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera


field, one thinks of (literary) works more than of systems of long duration.
The structure represents the entirety of the latent relationships between
the parts of a whole, and it puts itself into dynamic relationship with the
system: Structure is one of the possible relations of a given system, the
one that really came true. 30 In the present post- and anti-structuralist
atmosphere, it is useful to recall these definitions; they remind us of how
to think of the work-concept from a dynamic perspective, one that
concerns in the first place what we call the creative process:
This dynamic precedes the literary work, is inherent in its elaboration, and can
also follow it, in the case of revisions, new versions, etc.. . . But within the text
dynamism is halted: the totality remains, transformations cease to exist. Within
the system/structure complex are thus enfolded both the dynamic moment and
that which is static and (provisionally) definitive.31

Reception theory has emphasised the dynamic aspect, extending it to

the whole history of the text, and introducing the creative contribution
of readers, who over time modify and enrich the works meaning. An
approach that rethinks undogmatically the most permanent outcome of
both structuralistic thinking and reception theory will help to relativise
the opposition between event and work: without dissolving the work, it
will take away its museum character.
On the other hand, when we speak of system as opposed to the event
in the history of opera, we think mostly of production.32 In literary theory
the notion of system is basic at many other levels: literature is a system,
and the different national literatures, the production of groups, schools,
every single author, are subsystems; genres, formal codes and languages
form other systems. What is more, there are systems external to literature,
for example, those of other arts and those connected with the social and
political arena.33 All have their own orbit and, insofar as they exist, can
interact with each other. They are the fibres of Wittgensteins thread:
though it is not easy to extricate ourselves from them, it is essential to do
so if we want to grasp continuities and breaks, contemporaneity and
non-contemporaneity. Wagner, for example, belongs both to the system
Cesare Segre, Avviamento allanalisi del testo letterario (Turin, 1985), 44.
Segre, 45.
Bianconi, Perch la storia dellopera italiana (see n. 22), 38. This is true with the
exception of the three published volumes of thr Storia dellopera italiana, which examine
other kinds of system.
See for example Maria Corti, Principi della comunicazione letteraria (Milan, 1976), 1ff.

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera


of German musical tradition and to that of musical theatre; as such, he

can be compared with Beethoven, Brahms and Schoenberg on the one
hand, and with Rossini, Meyerbeer and Verdi on the other.
Yet the problem remains: how can we connect the history of structures
and the history of events, description and narration? Important hints can
again be gained from Kosellecks analysis of these concepts.34 The distinction between structure and event does not reflect an ontological reality,
but a gnosiological one: they are not things, but conceptual constructions
made by the historian, who assembles fragments from witnesses, documents and findings. The historian decides what is a structure and what an
event: cognitive concerns define the kind of question asked. There is no
hierarchy, and no correct way forward, because structure and event are
inevitably connected to each other. Duration itself is not the main criterion
for choice. Indeed, we can speak of diachronic structures that link
sequences of events; these make possible wholesale comparisons with
different sequences.35 The series of events that constitutes the history of
Italian opera from 1810 to 1890 can be viewed as a diachronic structure to
be compared with those in German music of the same period, or with
Italian opera from 1710 to 1790. On the other hand, duration can also
become an historical event. According to the change of perspective it is
possible that structures . . . can be inserted into the contexts, almost as a
single complex of events. . . . Once they are analysed and described, then
structures can be narrated, as a corrective factor to more general events.36
Thus the corpus of Beethovens symphonies, composed over a number of
years, can be conceived of as a linguistic structure, and as such an object of
analysis; but its appearance in the history of music can also be viewed as
an event, one that modified the progress of subsequent events, the system
of the ideas about music and the system of production.
For all that, a basic: difference remains between structure and event,
one that derives from their different temporal configurations. Koselleck
Koselleck, Vergangene Zukunft (see n. 29), in particular the chapter Darstellung,
Ereignis und Struktur (Representation, event, structure), 144-57. Dahlhaus deals with
these topics in very similar manner in Foundations of Music History (see n. 17), esp.
Koselleck, 146.
Koselleck, 150.

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera


The before and the after of an event maintain their own temporal quality,
one that cannot entirely be reduced to its long period conditions. Each event
produces something more (or less) of what is implied in its premises. From this
it derives its surprising novelty.37

We have touched here on the second point of our discussion: the applicability of the concepts of horizon of expectation and space of experience
to the history of opera. With regard to the first, Bianconi writes:
In the reality of opera, the horizon of expectations of consumers has a precise
name and a palpable presence: it is given by the programme of a given theatre,
of a given city: that is, by the sum of operatic spectacles offered in the course of
one or many generations to the totality of theatre audience . . . each new spectacle
will be measured on that horizon, which has the concreteness of a cultural and
collective patrimony. 38

As far as the space of experience is concemed, it should be the historicpolitical equivalent of the horizon of expectation:
For each man placed in the historic present the future is laid out in the features
that his space of experience accumulated from past dictates. . . . Thus in the
operatic environment the two complementary concepts of horizon of expectation and space of experience coincide in the concrete reality of the theatre
programme . . . the horizon of expectation that each creative artist . . . carries
within him will determine in large part his attitude in the moment of confronting
innovatively a new public, a new genre, a new drama.39

To put it briefly, horizon of expectation and space of experience are two

names for the same thing, viewed from the perspective of the audience and
of the artist respectively, with the impresario playing an intermediary role.40
However, according to Koselleck the two are different precisely because
they refer to complementary concepts that cannot be superimposed: experience prepares the ground for expectation, but does not fully coincide with
it.41 lf we examine closely the equations mentioned above, we see that the
cartellone (programme) should form the space of experience rather than
the horizon of expectation of the audience, and that both audience and
artist have their space of experience and horizon of expectation. An example: when Rossini went to Naples in 1815, he took with him a collection
of experiences from his student years and debuts in northern Italian theatres;

Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera

but he also knew that he now faced an audience with different experiences.
He had to examine those experiences, if he had not already done so: his
new horizon of expectation had already modified his space of experience.
As for the Neapolitan audience, they awaited Rossini with a mixture of
curiosity and suspicion, being aware of the successes he had already enjoyed,
but also of his otherness. This public prepared either to praise or to slate
him: its horizon of expectation had changed even before listening to
Rossinis music modified its space of experience.
The crucial point, however, that experience and expectation cannot be
superimposed, is neither fortuitous nor contingent; as long as they are
considered meta-historical categories, this is a necessary condition of
experiencing time as historical: It is the tension between experience and
expectation that produces new solutions in ever new ways, so that this
tension generates historical time.42 As for historical application, Kosellecks thesis is that, while the difference between experience and expectation
is a constant, its range tends to increase in the modern age: as modern
man perceives an ever more frequent rhythm of change, and therefore an
ever faster passing of time, he expects that in the future it will be even
The problem of change is clearly crucial for a history of operatic events,
and is certainly present in the model Bianconi proposes:
The active role of the collective . . . institutes a continual chain of theatrical
experiences that change and are enriched in turn, without ever freezing into an
historical teleology. Within the continuity of this connective tissue of socially
shared conventions, moments of fracture and innovation are singled out, although
this should not devalue the active and also propulsive role of convention, of the
survival and persistence of long-lasting structures. 44

It is not clear, however, why there are moments of fracture and innovation,
and how convention can play an active and propulsive role. Ones impression is that the new historiography of opera was so preoccupied with avoiding teleological historicism that analysis of permanency prevailed over
analysis of change.45
Koselleck, 359.
Koselleck, 363-4.
Bianconi, Perch la storia dellopera italiana (see n. 22), 45.
[T]here is no doubt that serial history offers a precise means to measure change, but
in what way does it also permit us to think about change?, wonders Franois Furet in
Le quantitif en histoire, Faire de lhistoire.- Nouveaux problems, ed. Jacques Le Goff and
Pierre Nora (Paris, 1974), 46.


Koselleck, 151.
Bianconi, Perch la storia dellopera italiana (see n. 22), 43.
Bianconi, 43-4.
Bianconi, 44.
Koselleck (see n. 29), 357ff.


Della Seta, Some difficulties in the historiography of Italian opera


Nevertheless, we can reflect on the fact that opera is a typically modern

artistic phenomenon, produced by and for generations of people
increasingly used to expecting the new. Application of the idea of a basic
difference between experience and expectation could thus be useful to a
historical understanding of change, putting change in relation with permanency and avoiding the dangers of organicism, teleology and heroic
historiography.46 To return to my earlier example, I would not regard as
Promethean the hypothesis that the greater part of Rossinis expectation
consisted of his desire to amaze his future audience with something new
and surprising; and that the audience expected to be amazed by him. That
the product of this greater part, namely Rossinis serious operas, had
crucial consequences for the future of Italian opera is a fact, but it is not a
teleological one; indeed, it was inscribed neither in Rossinis intentions,
nor in fate. In the same way, the nature of early opera at the beginning of
the seventeenth century did not dictate the entire history of opera, yet it
made it possible by restricting the number of future developments.47
Finally, as a characteristic of the modern age is the consciousness that
tomorrow should be not only different from today, but also better, it is
perhaps possible to reintroduce to musical historiography a concept of
progress that is not metaphysical, but rather historically grounded.48

An example in this direction, which concerns a repertory closely connected to the

idea of modernity, is Anselm Gerhard, Die Verstdterung der Oper. Paris und das Musiktheater des 19. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart and Weimar, 1992); trans. Mary Whyttall as The
Urbanisation of Opera. Music Theater in Paris in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago, forthcoming).
As biological metaphors are often argued about in historical discussion, it is worth
recalling that the rationale of modern (neo-Darwinian) evolutionarism excludes every
kind of finality in nature; yet it accepts that the sum total of casual mutations predisposes
the course of the following events. The appearance of the first hominidae does not aim
towards the necessary appearance of homo sapiens, yet it makes it much more probable.
The analogy, however, stops there; indeed, it is a distinctive feature of the human species
to have a sense of future, hence to foresee the possibility of change, and also, partly, to
direct it.
The birth and growth of the modern concept of progress, constantly at the centre of
Kosellecks analyses, are widely scrutinised in Koselleck and Christian Meier, Fortschritt,
in Geshichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in
Deutschland (Stuttgart, 1975). A similar semantic analysis of the concepts of progress,
evolution, novelty and so on in the musical Literature of the Modern Age would be
highly desirable.


Lopera a quattro mani: modifiche

in collaborazione nella Fanciulla del West

La fanciulla del West debutt al Metropolitan Opera di New York nel
dicembre 1910, con la direzione di Arturo Toscanini. La fanciulla fu una
partitura per molti aspetti ambiziosa, con effetti inediti sia di linguaggio
armonico che di sonorit strumentale: dal punto di vista dellorchestrazione, rappresenta il risultato pi impegnativo raggiunto dal Puccini sinfonista.
La partitura della Fanciulla, come quelle di molte altre opere pucciniane,
fu sottoposta a numerosi aggiustamenti prima di essere pubblicata in una
versione definitiva; vi sono parecchie differenze fra la versione eseguita
oggi e lautografo, conservato nellarchivio di Casa Ricordi a Milano. Nonostante alcune lettere di Puccini, successive alla prima americana, documentino le intenzioni di effettuare un taglio nel primo atto e qualche aggiunta di minore importanza nel terzo2 (e di nuovo, in seguito, ulteriori
tagli nel primo e nel terzo atto, e unaggiunta nel secondo),3 restano senza
Questa versione dellarticolo contiene qualche aggiornamento rispetto alla versione
pubblicata nel Journal of the American Musicological Society n. 3 del 1989. Rinnovo
i ringraziamenti a Philip Gosset, Roger Parker, Jesse Rosenberg e J. Rigbie Turner, ai
quali vorrei ora aggiungere quelli a Will Crutchfield e Harold Powers per i loro consigli
e a Linda Fairtile per le sue gentili e preziose segnalazioni di materiale (la cui catalogazione attualmente in corso) custodito nel fondo Toscanini della Public Library di New
Per la prima italiana (Teatro Costanzi, Roma, 12 giugno 1911).
Per la collocazione dei cambiamenti si veda Hopkinson, 33. Ma la sua descrizione dei
tagli pu risultare fuorviante. Il taglio dellatto I elimina sessanta battute, e fonde in una
sola le due iniziali del n. 53; nelle restanti quattordici battute prima del taglio le note
cantate da Nick e Trin sul testo soppresso Va via di qua, briccone! sono adattate al
nuovo testo La posta, la posta! (adesso cantato con laggiunta di tre personaggi), ma la
parte dellorchestra rimane tale quale. Allo stesso modo, le diciassette (non diciotto)
battute prima del n. 11 nellatto III non sono state completamente riscritte: semplicemente, viene aggiunta la parte di Joe che raddoppia quanto gi cantavano Harry e Bello
(mentre Harry ora raddoppia tutta la parte di Bello), con laggiunta dellesclamazione
Guardate! Urr! alla fine del coro. Le parti orchestrali e le melodie vocali rimangono
le stesse. Nel 1922 Puccini aggiunse sedici battute nel duetto fra Minnie e Johnson nellatto II (prima del n. 32 nella partitura corrente); cfr. Gara, 843 e 845.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


traccia documentaria molte varianti, di diversa consistenza, che investono non solo il fraseggio e la dinamica, ma anche lorchestrazione. La documentazione dei cambiamenti che affiorano nelle versioni pi tarde o
nelle ristampe delle partiture pucciniane si rivelata insufficiente, o quanto meno di difficile interpretazione, per vari motivi (inclusa lindifferenza del compositore a lasciare chiare testimonianze scritte); ci ha scoraggiato i tentativi di edizione critica delle sue opere concepiti in modo tradizionale. A complicare le cose, le fonti che registravano i processi di revisione, eventualmente rimaste negli uffici di produzione Ricordi di viale
Campania, si sarebbero perse nella distruzione delledificio durante i bombardamenti di Milano del 1943. Nel caso della Fanciulla, tuttavia, da poco
inaspettatamente riemerso dagli archivi Ricordi un documento eccezionale: la partitura, zeppa di annotazioni, che Toscanini utilizz per le prove e le rappresentazioni della prima al Metropolitan nel 1910.
La partitura di lavoro di Toscanini composta da fogli in bozza stampati a torchio direttamente dalle lastre incise e rilegati in tre volumi, uno
per atto. Datata 1910, essa reca, sulla prima pagina, la solita diffida dei
diritti dautore, ma anche una notifica, stampata in rosso vivo sul recto
della maggior parte delle pagine, nel margine esterno, la quale avverte che
si tratta di bozze inedite.4 Modifiche annotate a mano da Toscanini, riguardanti il fraseggio, la dinamica, i tempi, lorchestrazione, sono disseminate in tutta la partitura. sorprendente il numero di annotazioni, che
vanno dal leggero ritocco nellarticolazione al ripensamento globale,
ancorch sporadico, della sonorit orchestrale. Bench la maggior parte
degli interventi riguardi sottigliezze tecniche pertinenti allesecuzione e
allinterpretazione direttoriale, ve ne sono altri che implicano cambiamenti nellorchestrazione, che possono sembrare di mano pesante nel tessuto sonoro complessivo della partitura. Quasi tutte le annotazioni delle
bozze, anche quelle pi radicali, sono state trasferite sulle lastre della
partitura revisionata, emessa come Nuova edizione copyright 1911 setFormato in folio, numero di lastra 113491, 444 pagine. Le notifiche stampigliate con
un timbro sono frequenti nellatto I, diminuiscono nel II, scompaiono nel III. (Solo
latto III conserva la rilegatura originale, con le copertine blu scuro e letichetta; gli atti
I e II sono stati nuovamente rilegati probabilmente dopo esser stati smembrati e distribuiti ai diversi tipografi per le correzioni del 1911 con copertine color sabbia, e rifilati
in altezza e larghezza. La rifilatura ha intaccato qualche annotazione scritta ai margini.)
Hopkinson cita altre due copie di tale partitura, tirate per depositi legali e di copyright,
che si trovano ora alla Biblioteca del Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia a Roma e alla Library
of Congress.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


te mesi dopo la prima esecuzione. Dalla partitura in bozze risulta che

molti cambiamenti apparsi nella partitura di uso corrente di fatto furono
realizzati durante le prove per la prima rappresentazione. Questo documento, per, d tante risposte quanti sono gli interrogativi che solleva.
Da un lato esso fornisce uno stadio di modifiche finora mancante fra lautografo e la partitura della Nuova edizione 1911,5 dallaltro testimonia
inequivocabilmente una collaborazione fra Toscanini e Puccini al momento del lavoro di rifinitura della composizione.
Le consultazioni tra Puccini e Toscanini su questioni di revisione non
erano certo una novit. La loro amicizia non era stata costante nel corso
degli anni e entrambi erano uomini propensi a estremi cambiamenti di
umore,6 eppure nel sodalizio di lavoro Puccini continu sempre a fidarsi
ciecamente del giudizio del collega. Toscanini talvolta si mostrava meno
generoso nella valutazione professionale di Puccini. Il loro primo incontro importante avvenne con La bohme, di cui Toscanini diresse la prima
nel 1896. Nei trentanni successivi il direttore dorchestra lavor in stretto contatto con Puccini in parecchie produzioni importanti, fino alle ultime fasi della composizione di Turandot; egli, coinvolto in prima persona
nel completamento di questopera, mantenne una funzione consultiva,
questa volta con Casa Ricordi, anche dopo la morte del compositore.7
Lapporto di Toscanini nelle modifiche a Manon Lescaut ben documentato. Nel giugno del 1910, quando stava ultimando la Fanciulla, Puccini
Carissimo Arturo, la Casa Ricordi s decisa finalmente di incidere la partitura
di Manon.8 Ti sar spedita una copia che tu vorrai rivedere. Credi che favore pi
La partitura in folio oggi noleggiata dalla Ricordi (che conserva il numero di lastra 113491,
come quella del 1910 e come la prima nuova edizione dell11 luglio 1911) composta
da 440 pagine; riproduce le ultime modifiche documentate da Hopkinson e da William
Ashbrook, The Operas of Puccini, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1985 2, pp. 150-151, e
nellimpaginazione corrisponde alledizione in quarto del 1925, numero di lastra 119711.
Anni dopo La fanciulla, uno screzio causato dal giudizio non proprio lusinghiero che
Toscanini espresse a proposito del Trittico, segn linizio di ampie oscillazioni nel loro
rapporto. Le lettere di Puccini negli anni seguenti testimoniano atteggiamenti fluttuanti
tra la semi-paranoia e ladulazione pi sfrenata. Cfr. Guglielmo Barblan, Toscanini e la
Scala, Milano, 1972, pp. 203-209; Carner, 217; Gara, pp. 510 e 512; e Harvey Sachs,
Toscanini, Torino, EDT, 1981, pp. 144 e 157-158.
Adami, 233. Cfr. anche Ashbrook, op. cit., p. 209 e Jrgen Maehder, La principessa
Turandot quale marionetta e diva dopera. Considerazioni sulla metamorfosi del personaggio, in Turandot: Torre del lago Puccini, 1983, Pisa, 1983.
La nota di Gara, a questo proposito, recita: Intende parlare, naturalmente, della nuova edizione dellopera, con i ritocchi suggeriti da Toscanini. Nellelenco di Hopkinson
questa partitura risulta pubblicata nel 1915.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


grande non potrai farmi. Cos, dietro le tue correzioni di coloriti e legature
efficaci agli archi etc. etc. potr avere finalmente una definitiva Manon [...] (Gara,

Un riconoscimento espresso con tanta effusione si riferisce certo a dettagli ben pi numerosi e significativi di qualche legatura aggiunta per chiarire il fraseggio. In effetti Toscanini sfolt lorchestrazione e allegger la
dinamica in alcuni punti della Manon, al fine di rendere pi equilibrato il
rapporto voci-orchestra, mettendo le parti vocali in maggior rilievo. 9
Puccini approv le modifiche, e in seguito, quella stessa estate, chiese al
direttore di mandargliene una copia per lallestimento dellopera a Lucca
(Gara, 566).10
La fiducia che Puccini accordava al giudizio di Toscanini documentata anche per la storia della Fanciulla, come dimostra questa lettera del 1
giugno 1911 (siamo nel momento in cui Ricordi stava preparando la
partitura rivista per la prima rappresentazione italiana):
Carissimo Arturo, [...] Mi si dice di errori nelle parti e partitura [della Fanciulla].
Per quanto io mi sia raccomandato, non si riusciti ad ottenere che le correzioni
fossero fatte a dovere. Ci vorr della pazienza da parte tua! Senti: ho fatto un
taglio allultimo atto che va bene [...] E pure penso di farne uno o due al primo
atto [...] ma di questo te ne dir dopo essermi consigliato con te (Gara, 582).

Quasi tutte le annotazioni sulle bozze del 1910 sono di pugno toscaniniano.11 Toscanini diresse la maggior parte delle prove per lallestimento
del Metropolitan in assenza del compositore, e alla fine del mese di ottobre del 1910 sped un telegramma al maestro annunciando che la prima
lettura integrale era andata bene (Gara, 569). Le prove erano iniziate da
quasi quattro settimane quando Puccini arriv a New York il 17 novembre, ventiquattro giorni prima del debutto. Non azzardato supporre che
alcune modifiche importanti erano gi state introdotte nel corso della prima
fase delle prove: se i cambiamenti fossero stati concepiti da Puccini, egli
avrebbe avuto modo di scriverli personalmente (nel periodo tra il suo
Barblan, op. cit., p. 335, nota 2; Ashbrook, op. cit., p. 37.
Nel 1921 Puccini approfitt dellultima occasione per apportare qualche ritocco alla
Manon durante il lavoro preparatorio alla ripresa dellopera nel trentennale della prima,
sottoponendo le sue modifiche allapprovazione di Toscanini (Gara, 813). In una lettera
del 1923 al direttore del Corriere della sera (citata in Barblan, op. cit., pp. 345-346)
Puccini sembra dichiarare che nel lavoro di revisione il ruolo di Toscanini fu importante, come sottolinea Ashbrook (op. cit., p. 37).
Esempi della grafia e della scrittura musicale spigolosa di Toscanini si trovano in Barblan.
op. cit., tav. fuori testo dopo p. 360 e in Sachs, figg. 26 e 27.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


arrivo e la prima). Inoltre, la partitura del direttore non sarebbe stata

rispedita alle stampe come modello per le correzioni, qualora Puccini avesse
segnato i cambiamenti su una sua copia durante le prove. Confortano
questa tesi la presenza di alcune piccole modifiche di mano pucciniana
nella partitura in bozza (cambiamento dellentrata delle trombe nellatto
I, al n. 114 [lattuale n. 111]; indicazione muovendo, cinque battute dopo;
potenziamento di qualche dinamica)12 e la presenza di un ampio ritocco
che coinvolge quattordici battute nel terzo atto (che inizia sei battute dopo
il n. 10; una parte del passo modificato riprodotta nella figura 3, e descritta pi avanti). significativo che questa modifica pi estesa di Puccini,
verso la conclusione dellopera, non contraddica la natura delle varianti
gi introdotte nella partitura per mano di Toscanini (potenziamento delle
dinamiche, aggiunta di fiati, inserimento di una parte per il contrabbasso
per dare pi enfasi) e sembri essere unestensione della tendenza generale
al potenziamento della sonorit, visibile in un numero significativo di
modifiche di Toscanini. Tutto ci fa pensare che la maggior parte delle
modifiche scritte da Toscanini sulla partitura usata per le prove sia stata
inserita prima dellarrivo di Puccini, e sembra verosimile che molte di
esse forse la maggioranza siano state ideate da Toscanini.
Nella partitura in bozze possiamo individuare quattro livelli di ritocchi e aggiunte, secondo un ordine crescente di complessit. Il primo comprende fraseggio, dinamiche ed articolazione. Sono le annotazioni
toscaniniane di gran lunga pi numerose: segni di tenuto applicati a
tutte le note delle parti in movimento in un passo piuttosto esteso; staccati sostituiti da accenti; un passo in pizzicato cambiato in arcate in gi
accentate; legature aggiunte o allungate. Spesso potenziata la dinamica:
si rafforza unindicazione di intensit rispetto alloriginale; si aggiunge un
crescendo in una frase che porta ad un tutti orchestrale; oppure si inserisce unindicazione del tipo marcato, accentato o anche ruvido,
per suscitare maggiore enfasi nellesecuzione. Frequenti sono pure le in-


Tuttavia unaltra aggiunta autografa pucciniana alla partitura autografa del 1910, non
ricompare nella partitura del 1911: si tratta di quattro battute di accordi in semiminime
puntate, per tre corni con sordina, che iniziano tre battute dopo il n. 54, nellatto II.
Nella partitura del 1911 troviamo invece i corni I e III allunisono con le viole, una
modifica fatta probabilmente prima della ripresa romana (della quale, come al solito,
non sono stati trovati documenti musicali). Le annotazioni scritte da Toscanini su questa stessa pagina della partitura in bozze (aggiunta di accordi per contrabbassi divisi)
appaiono invece nella partitura del 1911.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


dicazioni di ritenuto e accelerando per rendere pi flessibile landamento.

Di per s questi cambiamenti non sarebbero degni di nota, poich sono le
tipiche aggiunte che ogni direttore si permette nellottica della sua interpretazione di un pezzo. Diventano tuttavia importanti nel nostro caso, in
quanto essi riappariranno puntualmente nella versione definitiva della
partitura a stampa.
Il secondo e il terzo livello sono pi interessanti ai fini di questo studio.
Il secondo riguarda laggiunta di parti orchestrali entro una struttura timbrica preesistente: ottoni o fiati supplementari vengono destinati a rendere pi denso un impasto timbrico; le parti delle percussioni sono rinforzate per rendere pi potente un forte accentato; oppure alcuni strumenti
vengono trasportati ad un registro pi acuto per aggiungere brillantezza.
Nella figura 1 si nota laggiunta di tre flauti e trombe con sordina; a met
pagina la parte scritta in origine per tromba trasferita al primo e secondo
corno. Nella figura 2 sono aggiunti arpe, clarinetti e fagotti, e viene invertita la direzione delle forcelle (e quindi anche il loro punto culminante,
alzato da forte a fortissimo). La modifica autografa pucciniana citata sopra
rientra nella stessa categoria. Sei battute dopo il n. 10 dellatto III, Puccini
aggiunge i contrabbassi, rimpolpa i fiati con oboi e clarinetti, modifica il
flauto solo in un a 3 allunisono e innalza il pianissimo iniziale al piano. Quattro battute pi avanti (vedi la figura 3) aggiunge due corni allunico previsto, e rinforza i legni come prima. A partire da questo punto
interviene anche Toscanini, il quale rafforza la dinamica delle scale discendenti (i ff sono di suo pugno, cos come le parti dei corni nella terza
battuta della figura 3) e tre battute pi avanti aggiunge dapprima due trombe
e quindi due tromboni fino al termine dellepisodio.
Il terzo livello comprende le aggiunte o i cambiamenti nelle parti che
non solo rimpolpano il tessuto orchestrale di partenza, ma anche ne alterano sensibilmente i contorni. La figura 4 illustra linizio di un passo in
cui vengono create parti in alternanza negli strumenti ad ancia e aggiunti
fagotti e ottoni con funzione di sostegno (cambiamenti che si estendono
per altre sette battute oltre quelle illustrate). Il tipo di modifica pi radicale e pi rara del terzo livello comprende la creazione ad hoc di parti in
movimento (come le cascate di arpeggi in tremolo ai violini illustrate nella figura 5) o la soppressione di una voce indipendente (in un esempio
atto III, battute 15-23 dopo il n. 22 si d istruzione ai violini primi di
raddoppiare i secondi: la trasformazione cancella il disegno ritmico contrastante in sestine delloriginale, e fa convergere la loro parte nel movimento melodico dominante; quattro battute pi avanti i corni passano
dai blocchi accordali al raddoppio della melodia; modifiche che coinvolgono un passo di nove battute).

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Nella partitura in bozze, alcuni emendamenti di secondo e terzo livello sono per certi versi sospetti, se confrontati con la testimonianza della
partitura autografa pucciniana, poich apparentemente contraddicono una
tendenza compositiva ben visibile negli ultimi stadi di realizzazione dellautografo. Quando si ha a che fare con la partitura della Fanciulla, progettata consapevolmente da Puccini per essere innovativa nellorchestrazione e nella condotta armonica rispetto alla sua prassi precedente, difficile individuare deviazioni vistose dalla tavolozza orchestrale intesa dal
compositore; nondimeno, un esame per strati degli stadi di cambiamento
nellautografo uno dei soliti campi di battaglia, in quanto a grafia rivela che nella fase di rifinitura degli effetti orchestrali spesso egli rimaneggi
molti passaggi con lo scopo di alleggerire lorchestrazione, eliminando
raddoppi e sfoltendo le sonorit pi dense ovunque possibile. Numerose
varianti della partitura in bozze di Toscanini contrastano invece con questa tendenza.
Bench quella della Fanciulla fosse una partitura innovativa, Puccini
era un orchestratore abilissimo (lo dimostra lopera precedente, Madama
Butterfly), e allepoca era un compositore nel pieno della maturit. Eppure le modifiche contenute nella partitura usata per le prove in certi punti
sono tanto corpose da alterare lequilibrio timbrico originale, anche se
non cos numerose da compromettere la tinta generale dellorchestrazione
pucciniana. Perci, la prima domanda che sorge di fronte a tali modifiche
: quale poteva essere la loro motivazione? Azzardiamo unipotesi, almeno per un tipo di cambiamenti. Sebbene alcuni ritocchi allorchestrazione
possono a prima vista sembrare gratuiti, a un esame pi approfondito
emerge un comune denominatore per la maggior parte delle varianti. Come
si detto detto in precedenza, in molti casi una scrittura orchestrale di
tessitura mediana resa pi brillante con laggiunta di parti o la loro
trasposizione in un registro pi acuto; oppure si voluto dare pi peso a
una sonorit altrimenti troppo tenue, di solito nelle parti gravi degli archi
e negli ottoni. In qualche punto, per dare rilievo ad una voce strumentale
importante sono stati aggiunti uno o due raddoppi. Le dinamiche, nei casi
in cui sono mutate, vengono quasi sempre rafforzate; per lo pi i ritocchi
tendono a intensificare la sonorit. Perch?
Unipotesi suggerita dallesame della sala in cui La fanciulla fu eseguita la prima volta, il vecchio Metropolitan Opera House a New York City.
Per fare un confronto, La Scala, che era uno dei teatri dopera italiani pi
capienti, contava meno di 2300 posti a sedere. Invece il vecchio Met aveva
una capienza di oltre 3600 posti. Lo spazio interno era di estensione quasi
doppia rispetto a quello della Scala o anche dellOpra di Parigi, del

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Bayreuth Festspielhaus o della Staatsoper di Vienna.13 Sebbene la distribuzione del suono nel vecchio Met fosse abbastanza uniforme, la sala pativa
di due pecche acustiche che ci interessano direttamente, entrambe legate
alla vastit delle sue dimensioni: la grande distanza fra il palco e le superfici riflettenti faceva s che il suono perdesse brillantezza e intensit; e lo
scarso tempo di riverbero lo rendeva pi piatto. Per dirla con Beranek,
la sala suonava smorta. Quando il Met fu inaugurato, nel 1883, il
New York Times del 23 ottobre scrisse:
Il relativo fallimento dellacustica della sala caus parecchio disappunto. Quasi
tutta la brillantezza dei suoni prodotti dallorchestra veniva attutita, perfino per
gli spettatori situati nei posti migliori della platea; nelle ultime file dei palchi e in
balconata si riuscivano a sentire distintamente solo le parti acute.

Puccini and al Met nel 1907, per seguire le rappresentazioni di Bohme,

Tosca, Manon e Butterfly, ma in veste di spettatore, o poco pi: arriv a
New York solo due ore prima che si alzasse il sipario per la prima della
Manon.14 Invece Toscanini aveva lavorato stabilmente in quel teatro fin
dal 1908, e conosceva molto bene le idiosincrasie della sua acustica. A
questo proposito pertinente un altro passo dellarticolo del Times del
1883 citato prima:
Lacustica imperfetta del teatro ha privato il suono di un po della sua brillantezza,
ma a ci potr porre rimedio il direttore dorchestra, quando conoscer pi a
fondo le caratteristiche dellauditorium che deve riempire di suono.

ragionevole ipotizzare che nella Fanciulla un buon numero di cambiamenti senza dubbio quelli tesi a rafforzare le sonorit fossero mirati a
controbilanciare le carenze della sala, nei casi in cui il contesto musicale lo
permetteva. Ma se cos avvenne, vuol dire che le modifiche pensate per un
allestimento specifico (e per una sala specifica) furono poi adottate nel
testo definitivo della composizione. Ad ogni modo, anche se questa tesi
offre una chiave di lettura per numerose modifiche toscaniniane, la questione resa pi intricata dalla presenza occasionale di cambiamenti non
motivati dallesigenza di aumentare la brillantezza o il volume del suono.
Sembrerebbe che Puccini, ben consapevole che molti effetti sperimentali
Leo L. Beranek, Music, Acoustic and Architecture, New York, 1962, pp. 159-162. Per i
dati particolareggiati dellimpianto del teatro cfr. Judith S. Clancy, A Last Look at the
Old Met, San Francisco, 1969. Le recensioni depoca riguardanti la sala sono citate per
esteso in Paul E. Eisler, The Metropolitan Opera: The First Twenty-Five Years, 1883 -1908,
New York, 1984.
Carner, 230; sul primo viaggio di Puccini a New York vedi anche Ashbrook, op. cit.,
pp. 132-134.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


dellorchestrazione avrebbero dovuto superare una prova pratica, fidandosi del giudizio del collega, lo avesse lasciato libero di apportare modifiche in qualsiasi punto ritenesse possibile rendere pi chiaro o rinforzare
leffetto uditivo. E sembrerebbe che, dopo il trionfo iniziale dellopera, il
compositore fosse disposto a conservare tali modifiche, visto che il tutto
funzionava. Tuttavia entrambe le spiegazioni insinuano un dubbio imbarazzante su unidea di stampo romantico: quella che possa esistere la versione ideale di unopera, indipendente da limitazioni fisiche (nel nostro
caso acustiche) di natura contingente.15
Con le modifiche del quarto livello passiamo ad interventi pi significativi: qui finalmente possiamo essere certi di osservare il compositore
allopera, durante il processo di lima e rifinitura, nellatto di modificare le
microstrutture e il disegno delle frasi per stringere lazione. In uno di
questi interventi si scorge linizio di quel processo di tagli che Puccini
avrebbe realizzato pi tardi: si tratta di una versione primitiva di raccordo, effettuata nella partitura in bozza del 1910 con una semplice pezza,
incollata sopra una pagina intera, per sopprimere undici battute nei pressi
del finale primo; in seguito egli avrebbe rielaborato completamente il passo, adattandovi di conseguenza anche le parti vocali. 16
Allinterno del quarto livello possiamo anche trovare casi di modifiche
adottate nella prima serie di rappresentazioni e successivamente scartate.
Un confronto fra due piccole varianti ci offre un esempio chiave per la
nostra indagine. Mentre attendeva alla revisione della partitura in vista
della prima italiana, Puccini sped una lettera a Toscanini, in data 1 febbraio 1911:
P.S. Aspetto laccomodo allaria Tenore atto 2, come ti ho telegrafato,17 perch
urge fare ledizione. Anchio lho fatta laggiunta nella mia copia, ma non so se
A questo proposito si pu fare unaltra osservazione. Nella Fanciulla Puccini ha adoperato la sua orchestra pi ampia: legni quadrupli, corni e tromboni, tre trombe, due
arpe e unampia schiera di percussioni. Lopera quindi si adattava benissimo ai grandi
teatri. Perci egli autorizz subito una versione con organico ridotto per i teatri pi
piccoli, affidata a Ettore Panizza (dai registri di Casa Ricordi risulta che la versione
orchestrale ridotta fu consegnata nel maggio 1911).
Nella partitura corrente la sequenza precede il n. 109, prima delle parole di Minnie
povera gente, e corrisponde al n. 112 della partitura del 1910. La pezza incollata sulla
p. 182 della partitura in bozza del 1910, e fu evidentemente il risultato di una decisione
presa in una fase avanzata dei preparativi per la rappresentazione; Toscanini, infatti,
aveva gi provato il passaggio, disponendo nelle ultime cinque battute un crescendo di
tre battute fino al fortissimo (in origine solo forte) e aggiungendo i contrabbassi pizzicati
sul battere, seguito da un diminuendo di due battute. Prima della preparazione della
partitura del 1911, Puccini tagli altre ventidue battute di questo episodio (dalloriginale
n. 109 al n. 112).
Ma non vi avrei rubato.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


sar uguale alla tua; la tua ha gi la prova del fuoco (Gara, 577).18

La figura 6 (che riproduce la riduzione per canto e piano di uso corrente)

mostra la cadenza di Toscanini, poi inserita nella versione definitiva della
partitura. La figura 7 mostra la versione originale della melodia, cos comera stampata nella prima edizione della riduzione Ricordi (1910).
Per contro, si pu notare in un altro passo un aggiustamento abbastanza tipico nella concertazione di uno spettacolo. Si trova nellatto II al
punto dellampia chiusa dellaria Oh se sapeste in cui Minnie descrive le
gioie delle galoppate nella Sierra. Secondo la stesura originale di Puccini
lentrata fragorosa dellorchestra al n. 21 copre lultima sillaba, creando
un abile incastro di strutture, concepito per anticipare lintervento di
Johnson (e quando infurian le tormente?), che interrompe il fantasticare della ragazza. Il tempismo drammatico serrato ed efficace, ma dal
punto di vista del soprano dopo tanta fatica spesa per raggiungere il si
acuto conclusivo sembra unimposizione spietata. E infatti Toscanini
inser un accomodo: una battuta in pi, in 2/4, aggiunta prima dellaccordo sul forte orchestrale, permetteva a Minnie di tenere lacuto sullultima sillaba della parola entrar per una durata abbastanza soddisfacente,
prima che arrivino lorchestra e Johnson a riscuoterla dal sogno ad occhi
aperti. Seguendo lindicazione col canto della battuta precedente, il soprano poteva sfruttare la frase fino in fondo. Si trattava di un ritocco
apparentemente insignificante, nel contesto pi esteso delle modifiche che
abbiamo verificato, ma quando si tratt di stendere la copia definitiva
Puccini non ne volle sapere. La modifica non compare nella nuova versione del 1911, che per accoglie i primi quattro accordi della parte delle
trombe nellemendamento toscaniniano: ora esse intervengono nel registro pi brillante e raddoppiano il disegno melodico discendente invece
che il disegno sincopato.
Perch accettare la cadenza del tenore, e non questo piccolo ritocco?
La risposta si rivela particolarmente importante per la nostra interpretazione di questi documenti: lelaborata cadenza di Toscanini si basa su
materiale preesistente, e funziona allinterno della struttura preesistente;
il ritocco alla parte di Minnie, pur coinvolgendo una quantit minore di
materiale, altera la struttura e vanifica leffetto dellentrata orchestrale ad
incastro al n. 21. A quanto pare Puccini ritenne che la modifica alla parte
Allinizio della medesima lettera si trova una frase rivelatrice, che rispecchia le osservazioni fatte fino a questo punto a proposito del sodalizio artistico tra i due: nella quiete
di questo paese penso e ripenso ai giorni passati vicino a te mentre insieme si maturava
la Fanciulla. Il documento recante la modifica di pugno di Toscanini riapparso di
recente: le bozze della riduzione per canto e pianoforte. Vedi n. 19.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


del soprano alterasse il disegno da lui pensato, mentre ci non accadeva

per laggiunta nella parte del tenore.
Pertanto, questa partitura rivela varianti di diverso livello: alcune concepite dal compositore, altre da chi la diresse per primo, e altre ancora
probabilmente frutto dello scambio di idee e della collaborazione fra i
due.19 Quando la partitura in bozze ritorn a Casa Ricordi fu considerata
il modello autorizzato cui riferirsi per la revisione delle lastre, senza valutare la responsabilit delle singole varianti;20 affascinante constatare con
quanta precisione (e nel contempo, in qualche punto, con poco senso critico) gli incisori abbiano trascritto per i posteri quasi tutte le annotazioni
Ci sono inoltre alcune differenze fra lautografo e la partitura in bozze del 1910,
dovute probabilmente a correzioni introdotte in corso di stampa. Esse riguardano quasi
sempre questioni pratiche (tranne una decina di interventi alle parti vocali, che si trovano nella riduzione in bozza menzionata pi avanti) e spesso corrispondono a quesiti
circa alcuni passi di dubbia interpretazione, segnati a matita dal personale in redazione
alla Ricordi (alterazioni dimenticate, omissione della dicitura arco dopo un passo in
pizzicato, risoluzioni apparentemente sbagliate dopo la voltata di pagina o dopo una
correzione graficamente confusa). Dato che alcune di queste divergenze sono state poi
adottate, altre tralasciate, altre modificate, sembra vi sia stata una consultazione col
compositore. (Come al solito, non si hanno documenti probanti al riguardo. Puccini si
trovava a Milano a met maggio, alla fine di giugno, e di nuovo alla fine del settembre
1910, mentre la stampa era in corso: cfr. Gara; e Giuseppe Pintorno, Puccini: 276 lettere
inedite, Milano, 1974. Ma anche questi ritocchi in qualche misura possono essere spia di
una collaborazione: Toscanini fece visita a Puccini a Torre del Lago allinizio di agosto,
con lo scopo preciso di parlare della Fanciulla [cfr. Arnaldo Marchetti, Puccini comera,
Milano, 1973, p. 383]. Testimonianza di questa visita una copia della riduzione per
canto e pianoforte recentemente venuta alla luce, numero di lastra 113300, anchessa
recante la timbratura. Questa riduzione in bozza, rimase in possesso di Toscanini ed
oggi depositata presso la Public Library di New York. Reca un numero contenuto di
modifiche (soprattutto alle parti vocali), quasi tutte di mano di Toscanini (ma con qualche segno anche di Puccini). La maggior parte delle modifiche furono trasferite sulle
lastre della partitura, prima di tirare la copia delle bozze che Toscanini utilizz per
dirigere lopera. Altri segni, invece, datano allepoca delle prove a New York ad esempio, su questa bozza che Toscanini scrisse la sua cadenza per Johnson). Inoltre, alcune
parti vocali hanno legature leggermente diverse rispetto allautografo in qualche punto
delle pagine che ho esaminato in dettaglio. Nellinsieme, le bozze del 1910 sembrano
essere state stampate con una certa cura (cosa tanto pi notevole, se si pensa alla fretta
con cui si lavor: secondo le date scritte sullautografo, Puccini termin latto I il 21
gennaio 1910 e latto II il 7 aprile; secondo quanto scritto nei registri della Ricordi, la
stampa della partitura inizi il 6 maggio. Latto III venne terminato il 6 agosto; bozze
furono inviate a Puccini tra fine luglio e il 1 settembre, e il 20 ottobre le bozze complete furono presentate a Milano per il deposito dei diritti).
Oltre al trasferimento meticoloso della maggior parte delle annotazioni toscaniniane
sulle lastre corrette, un foglio allegato recante materiale che Puccini aggiunse dopo le
recite di New York, costituisce una prova ulteriore del fatto che la partitura usata alle
prove divenne la nuova copia guida per le correzioni tipografiche. Si tratta di un cambiamento nellatto III, fatto in vista della rappresentazione romana, che Puccini menziona

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


aggiunte nel testo da Toscanini.21 Uno zelo che port ad immortalare

anche piccole annotazioni talvolta contraddittorie e segni che il direttore
aveva inteso certamente solo come promemoria visivo, utile nel corso
delle prove. In questo senso, per esempio, alcune ampie legature di frase
che servivano unicamente per stimolare un fraseggio complessivamente
scorrevole in esecuzione, sono diventate ora parte integrante della partitura
stampata. Sono state stampate anche le indicazioni sporadiche dei colpi
darco scritte da Toscanini sulle bozze, talvolta in sostituzione, talaltra
semplicemente in aggiunta alle legature originarie, creando un fraseggio
su due livelli.
Alcune indicazioni scritte in inglese da Toscanini per lorchestra del Met
(with grace [con grazia], strong and sustained [energico e sostenuto])
sono state premurosamente tradotte nella versione definitiva, in qualche
caso solo in modo approssimativo (in un passaggio dellatto I, prima del
n. 2, le sue prescrizioni stratificate rough [ruvido], violent, constantly increasing in loudness [aumentando costantemente la violenza del suono] sono sintetizzate, nel testo definitivo, con violento sempre). Venne inserita anche unindicazione utile per le prove, quick the semiquaver
(veloci le semicrome), riferita alla successione di terzine di un passo in prossimit della fine dellatto III (sei battute prima del n. 29): esempio lampante di trascrizione indiscriminata dellincisore, poich evidentemente si tratta
di uninterpretazione direttoriale del passo; dopo tutto, se Puccini avesse
voluto velocizzare le semicrome di ogni figura, avrebbe trovato una notazione ritmica conseguente.
La natura singolare delle modifiche in collaborazione, portata alla luce
dalla partitura in bozze della Fanciulla, peculiare al rapporto artistico
fra i due musicisti. Ma i risultati di indagini di questo tipo possono avere
implicazioni pi ampie. Studiando la partitura del 1910 vengono in mente altri esempi di varianti accettate da un compositore, o generate dalla
in unaltra parte di una lettera citata prima (Ho riempito la scena finale con cori [].
Credo che cos andr meglio, Gara, 577). Laggiunta concerne tredici battute, dal n. 43
alla cadenza al n. 44 (nella versione 1910, il passo cantato soltanto dai solisti). Un
foglio di carta pentagrammata, formato in quarto, contenente le tredici battute aggiunte
per il coro trascritte da un copista, incollato nella piega tra le pp. 436 e 437. A partire
dal n. 43 (p. 436) unaltra mano (probabilmente un redattore della Ricordi, a mo di
guida per i tipografi) ha inserito a penna le prime tre battute della musica aggiunta.
Unaggiunta fatta in questo modo non serviva al direttore dorchestra, e chiaramente era
destinata al lavoro di produzione interno alla casa editrice.
Fra le annotazioni tralasciate, a parte qualche probabile svista, alcune riguardano prescrizioni che decisamente non hanno nulla a che fare con una partitura a stampa: per
esempio, il promemoria del direttore continuare il movimento di semicrome con la
bacchetta, scritto in corrispondenza di due fermate.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


collaborazione fra un compositore e un esecutore. La maggior parte dei

casi (come, ad esempio, i ritocchi di natura puramente pratica nella musica strumentale destinata ad un virtuoso) riguarda alterazioni relativamente di poco conto. Forse il paragone pi calzante quello con le Sinfonie di
Bruckner (pubblicate in molteplici versioni),22 oppure quello con la Sonata op. 22 di Schumann, il cui quarto movimento probabile sia stato
riscritto in seguito alle lamentele di Clara per lestrema difficolt delloriginale.23 Questi paragoni, per, non reggono. Lesempio di Bruckner
molto pi radicale e la sua estrema docilit nei confronti di qualsiasi critica, al pari dei suoi ripensamenti, testimoniano un caso pi unico che raro
di insicurezza artistica. Puccini, pur essendo un perfezionista incontentabile e recettivo dei consigli altrui, non arriv mai agli estremi bruckneriani.
Nel brano di Schumann non vi furono vere e proprie modifiche: esso
venne semplicemente sostituito, anzich rimaneggiato.
In definitiva, queste indagini sono affascinanti, ma nello stesso tempo
creano disagio allesplorazione critica. Da un lato esse ci forniscono indicazioni preziose sugli ultimi stadi di modellatura di una costruzione
teatrale e musicale tanto complessa quanto unopera lirica. Daltra parte
possono intaccare le convinzioni correnti riguardo al ruolo esclusivo giocato dal creatore/compositore in tutte le fasi del processo decisionale e
produttivo, sia cosa che interessa di pi allindagine critica possono
spingerci a rivedere la nostra concezione della scala di priorit di un
compositore circa i vari elementi che compongono quel mosaico che il
processo compositivo. Certamente si pu e si deve conferire minore importanza alle modifiche dei dettagli anche sostanziali che in effetti
formano soltanto laspetto esteriore della struttura musicale. Tuttavia,
proprio quando abbiamo a che fare con varianti che noi giudichiamo strettamente collegate alla struttura, al peso, al colore timbrico della costruzione
musicale in s, che vengono smascherate le superficialit insite nel nostro
atteggiamento nei confronti della gerarchia delle priorit compositive di
un determinato autore. Ci che scopriamo in ricerche di questo tipo, non
mette necessariamente in crisi la comprensione dellopera finale nel suo
insieme: esse, per, forse possono risultare utili alla nostra indagine e
alle nostre opinioni riguardo sia alle fasi generative, sia a quelle postoperative del processo compositivo.
Cfr. Deryck Cooke, The Bruckner Problem semplified, suppl. a The Musical
Newsletter, New York, 1975.
Cfr. lintroduzione di Robert Boetticher in Robert Schumann, Klaviersonate opus 22,
Mnchen, 1981.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Figura 1. Giacomo Puccini, La fanciulla del West, partitura in bozza del 1910. Copyright
G.Ricordi & C. S.p.A. Per gentile concessione dellArchivio Storico Ricordi.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Figura 2. Giacomo Puccini, La fanciulla del West, partitura in bozza del 1910. Copyright
G.Ricordi & C. S.p.A.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Figura 3. Giacomo Puccini, La fanciulla del West, partitura in bozza del 1910. Copyright
G.Ricordi & C. S.p.A.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Figura 4. Giacomo Puccini, La fanciulla del West, partitura in bozza del 1910. Copyright
G.Ricordi & C. S.p.A.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani

Figura 4 (segue)


Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Figura 5. Giacomo Puccini, La fanciulla del West, partitura in bozza del 1910. Copyright
G.Ricordi & C. S.p.A.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Figura 6. Giacomo Puccini, La fanciulla del West, riduzione per canto e pianoforte (nuova
edizione), Copyright 1911 by G.Ricordi & C. S.p.A., Milano.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Figura 7. Giacomo Puccini, La fanciulla del West, Copyright 1910 by G.Ricordi & C.
S.p.A., Milano.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani


Figura 8. Giacomo Puccini, La fanciulla del West, partitura in bozza del 1910. Copyright
G.Ricordi & C. S.p.A.

Dotto, Lopera a quattro mani

Figura 8 (segue)



Edizione critica delle opere di Donizetti, Prefazione*

LEdizione critica delle opere di Gaetano Donizetti ha come scopo quello
di fornire una scelta delle maggiori opere teatrali del compositore
bergamasco in partiture che siano allo stesso tempo fedeli ai testi originali
e pronte per lesecuzione. Il programma editoriale prevede linclusione di
alcune tra le opere ancora oggi in repertorio, ma anche una scelta di titoli
che sono, per ragioni storiche e musicali, particolarmente significativi per
la nostra conoscenza di Donizetti e della sua epoca.
Le edizioni si basano per quanto possibile sulle fonti originali, e nella
maggior parte dei casi avranno a fonte principale il manoscritto autografo
del compositore. Tuttavia le partiture autografe donizettiane furono sovente scritte in gran fretta. Inoltre, il metodo lavorativo abituale del compositore era quello di stendere a pi strati la partitura (dapprima in una
stesura scheletro comprendente le parti vocali, il basso strumentale e le
linee orchestrali pi importanti; in seguito con il completamento della
strumentazione) e di tornarvi periodicamente per effettuare aggiunte e
modifiche. Tutto ci contribu a creare dei documenti musicali con indicazioni desecuzione spesso incomplete, e con numerose piccole incoerenze. Segnalare tipograficamente e nellapparato critico ognuna di queste discrepanze e omissioni sarebbe una pedanteria, e distoglierebbe inoltre lattenzione da quei punti in cui invece il revisore ha dovuto effettuare
delle modifiche o delle integrazioni importanti. Nelledizione la lezione
della fonte principale potr dunque subire i seguenti tipi di alterazione:
a) Indicazioni desecuzione presenti in una o pi parti strumentali della
fonte principale che siano palesemente valide anche per altre parti strumentali ritmicamente o melodicamente identiche vengono estese a queste
ultime senza differenziazione tipografica o Nota critica. Vengono invece
segnalati nelle Note quei casi in cui gli esemplari del modello esteso siano
particolarmente sporadici. In genere le indicazioni desecuzione non vengono estese dalle parti vocali a quelle strumentali (o viceversa). Il fraseggio
* tratta dalledizione critica della Favorite, a cura di Rebecca Harris-Warrick (Ricordi,
Milano, 1997)

Dotto-Parker, Prefazione alledizione critica delle opere di Donizetti


delle parti vocali solistiche viene lasciato, quando possibile, come lo scrisse Donizetti; uneccezione a questa norma pu trovarsi nei passi concertati, dove unindicazione nelle parti solistiche e/o nelle parti del coro potr
essere estesa ad altre parti vocali omoritmiche.
b) Indicazioni desecuzione derivate da una fonte secondaria vengono poste
tra parentesi tonde; quelle suggerite dal curatore, tra parentesi quadre.
Ove la situazione complessa, o ammette pi soluzioni, una Nota critica
d conto dellorigine dellindicazione oppure la ragione della decisione
c) Un errore palese per il quale c ununica soluzione viene corretto in
partitura senza segnalazione tipografica. Se invece lerrore ammette pi
soluzioni, la scelta del redattore viene differenziata tipograficamente, con
un corpo minore (per le note e pause) o in corsivo (per le parole). Una
Nota critica spiega la decisione redazionale.
d) Quando la fonte principale presenta illogiche divergenze di valore ritmico tra parti strumentali simultanee, i valori vengono conformati al
modello prevalente. Nei casi in cui la scelta del modello da favorire potrebbe essere dibattuta, il ragionamento dei curatore viene spiegato in una
Nota critica.
e) Note in calce vengono impiegate nella partitura per segnalare materiale
addizionale oppure alternativo di immediato interesse per lesecutore. Alla
maggior parte delle note in calce viene aggiunta anche una Nota critica.
La grafia della partitura stata modernizzata per quanto riguarda: la disposizione delle parti sulla pagina; i nomi degli strumenti e la grafia delle
indicazioni di andamento e di dinamica; lutilizzo di chiavi moderne per
le parti vocali e la prassi duso delle alterazioni allinterno di una battuta.
a) Lindicazione donizettiana di solo viene resa come I, a meno che la
parte indicata non abbia una vera funzione solistica da porre in rilievo. A
eccezione di passi brevissimi, le parti allunisono scritte da Donizetti cori
doppi gambi vengono trascritte come a 2.
b) Quando pi parti procedono omoritimicamente e condividono gli stessi
gambi, una sola legatura di espressione vale per tutte le parti.
c) Quando appaiono simultaneamente indicazioni desecuzione equivalenti (ad esempio la parola cresc. assieme a una forcella di crescendo), si
sceglie una delle indicazioni sostituendola alle altre.

Dotto-Parker, Prefazione alledizione critica delle opere di Donizetti


d) Com tipico degli operisti dellOttocento, Donizetti ricorse il pi possibile ad abbreviazioni e altri accorgimenti atti a risparmiargli lavoro di
mera copiatura nello stendere lautografo. Naturalmente, nella presente
edizione, nei casi in cui la fonte principale indica che una parte devessere
copiata da unaltra, oppure indica la ripetizione esatta di una o pi battute, la musica viene trascritta per esteso.
La partitura mantiene invece alcune caratteristiche della notazione donizettiana per quanto riguarda: gli strumenti traspositori, che seguono la
lezione della fonte principale (le parti di corni e trombe vengono scritte
senza armatura di chiave); le suddivisioni ritmiche e i raggruppamenti
con tratti dunione, che vengono rispettati quando essi sembrano avere
un significato musicale; la grafia degli strumenti a percussione, che segue
in genere la lezione della fonte principale (naturalmente uniformando,
come per ogni parte strumentale, le eventuali incoerenze); le abbreviazioni per indicare le note ribattute, che vengono sciolte solo quando ciascuna
nota porta un segno darticolazione.
A volte il testo poetico e le indicazioni relative hanno richiesto interventi particolari. Le didascalie e le indicazioni sceniche, spesso incomplete oppure assenti nelle partiture donizettiane, vengono tratte dal libretto
stampato per la prima rappresentazione (oppure, quand disponibile, da
un precedente libretto manoscritto), inserendole in partitura tra parentesi
tonde. Quando esistono differenze tra il testo del libretto e quello della
fonte principale, viene favorito questultimo, a meno che non sia errato o
incoerente; divergenze significative tra le due fonti vengono segnalate in
Nota. Viene modernizzata lortografia, tranne i casi in cui tale intervento
comporti modifiche alla fonetica. I segni dinterpunzione, quasi sempre
mancanti dalle partiture autografe donizettiane, vengono forniti senza
differenziazione tipografica seguendo il libretto originale.
Come sopra accennato, le partiture autografe donizettiane sono dei
diari di lavoro che in molti punti rivelano strati compositivi precedenti
(battute cancellate, parti vocali modificate, ritocchi alle parti strumentali
ecc.). Naturalmente tale materiale di grande interesse per coloro che
vogliono studiare la metodologia compositiva donizettiana; ma, non essendo strettamente pertinente agli scopi della presente edizione, verr segnalato e trattato nelle Note solo quando la presenza di tali strati
compositivi pu creare problemi per lidentificazione del testo definitivo.

Dotto-Parker, Prefazione alledizione critica delle opere di Donizetti


Prassi esecutiva e problemi di notazione

l. Per Donizetti il modo pi comune per indicare che un passaggio doveva
essere eseguito, legato era di aggiungere in ciascuna parte una serie di
brevi legature despressione. Casi di legature che comprendono pi di tre
note sono insoliti: quando sono poste su una successione di note dintero,
le legature si limitano, caratteristicamente, a collegare una nota alla successiva, a catena. Mentre ledizione critica cerca per lo pi di trovare un
modello prevalente per le parti con legature che muovono omoritmicamente, non fa alcun tentativo di modernizzare luso del compositore
di impiegare una serie di brevi legature. Un simile modo di utilizzare le
legature aveva certamente un senso alcuni decenni prima dellepoca di
Donizetti e, se pure molte ricerche sono ancora da fare su questaspetto
della prassi esecutiva dellOttocento, sarebbe incauto, oggi, non tener conto
di un aspetto cos tipico della notazione donizettiana.
2. estremamente difficile (a volte impossibile) distinguere tra i segni
usati da Donizetti per fp e fz. Nei casi dubbi, ledizione critica opta o per
luno o per laltro segno, di solito sulla base del contesto dinamico prevalente.
3. Su alcune caratteristiche figure giambiche isolate (spesso in contesto
dinamico f e spesso assegnate a ogni strumento in un tutti orchestrale)
Donizetti scrisse a volte un accento tra le due note piuttosto che sulla nota
darrivo; non insolito che entrambi i modelli (tra le note o sulla nota
darrivo) appaiano contemporaneamente in strumenti diversi. Nemmeno
molto raro lesempio di accento sul levare, sebbene quasi sempre in
una situazione di eterogeneo misto di posizionamento degli accenti nelle
varie parti. Ledizione critica privilegia la collocazione dellaccento sulla
nota pi lunga.
4. Certi strumenti dellepoca (in modo particolare corni e trombe) avevano limiti tecnici che costrinsero Donizetti a omettere note altrimenti necessarie alla logica del discorso musicale. In tali casi ledizione critica rispetta la lezione della fonte principale.
5. Timpani.
Per lo pi Donizetti scriveva per due timpani, accordati sulla tonica e
la dominante della tonalit prevalente. Tuttavia la grafia che adotta non
sempre coerente: a volte segue lantica prassi di scrivere per timpani come
se fossero strumenti traspositori, fornendo le note do e sol; a volte precisa

Dotto-Parker, Prefazione alledizione critica delle opere di Donizetti


le note deffetto. Ledizione critica rispetta questo uso particolare. Una

complicazione ulteriore per lesecutore moderno riguarda le non rare note
dissonanti che risultano nei passaggi cromatici, per limpossibilit di cambiare rapidamente laccordatura sugli strumenti dellepoca. Anche qui,
comunque, ledizione critica rispetta la grafia originale, lasciando allinterprete la scelta dei cambiamenti da effettuare.
6. Grosse Caisse, Cymbales.
Nellautografo de La Favorite Donizetti chiama sempre la parte di percussione sottostante quella del timpano semplicemente grosse caisse e
ledizione critica mantiene sempre tale designazione. Tuttavia allepoca,
per un compositore italiano, con lindicazione cassa o gran cassa era
sottintesa anche la presenza di piatti: infatti Donizetti ne fa specifica menzione ad esempio nel N. 14 (Caisse seule sans systre) e, per esclusione
(specificando caisse seule in punti come il Preludio batt. 117, N. 9 batt.
114 e N. 13 batt. 97. La presenza di una parte di cymbales (pCymb) tra il
materiale desecuzione dellOpra d preziosa testimonianza della prassi
esecutiva coeva in quel teatro: laddove vengono impiegati i piatti, essi
suonano tutte le note assieme alla cassa. Decisioni del genere (come quelle, per esempio, dellassegnazione delle parti nei bicordi per i tromboni, o
lesecuzione a 2 o meno per i fiati laddove lautografo non si pronuncia)
venivano demandate di norma agli esecutori o ai copisti del teatro, sebbene con la tacita approvazione del compositore. In qualche punto pCymb
rivela tuttavia la possibile influenza diretta di Donizetti, per esempio nel
N. 5 dove tutta la parte dei cymbales venne dapprima copiata, poi
depennata (vedi Nota a N. 5, batt. 1 nel Commento critico), oppure listruzione tacet nella parte, per tutto latto quarto.
Ledizione critica si attiene, naturalmente, alle specifiche indicazioni
del compositore in merito, segnalando nel Commento le lezioni delle fonti
secondarie. Nei punti successivi allindicazione autografa caisse seule si
deriva da pCymb leventuale istruzione (avec Cymb.). Per il resto, invece, si lascia allesecutore la scelta dellutilizzo, secondo la propria sensibilit, dei piatti.
Osservazioni particolari per ledizione critica de La Favorite
Come viene specificato nella descrizione delle fonti e nelle Osservazioni
generali relative a ciascun numero, La Favorite presenta una rete parti-

Dotto-Parker, Prefazione alledizione critica delle opere di Donizetti


colarmente complessa di fonti, a volte cronologicamente intersecate, che

non possono sempre essere classificate con precisione in livelli primari
o secondari di importanza. Inoltre, lo stato complesso e ibrido dellautografo rende, in rari casi, le sue lezioni meno utili di quelle delle fonti
non autografe nel determinare la soluzione migliore a un particolare problema musicale o testuale. Di conseguenza, nel prendere le decisioni, in
ogni parte di questedizione si fatto ricorso in modo consistente alle
numerose fonti.
La presente edizione d anche conto di quegli strati compositivi dellautografo che hanno significativamente influenzato le decisioni editoriali. Per esempio, modifiche o tagli apportati allautografo dopo la copiatura
delle parti vocali e strumentali sono segnalati nel Commento critico. Le
Osservazioni generali delineano anche, per quanto possibile, la storia di
ciascun numero o di sezioni al suo interno.
Data la complessa situazione delle fonti del testo poetico e delle didascalie,
nessuna delle fonti letterarie servita da fonte principale in tutti i casi in
cui si sono rese necessarie correzioni o aggiunte alla partitura di Donizetti,
sia nel testo sia nella punteggiatura. Nella descrizione delle fonti e nel
Commento critico si possono trovare particolari al riguardo.
Testo poetico
Sebbene in generale Donizetti abbia messo in musica il testo francese con
perizia, vi sono a volte errori. Tali casi sono discussi nelle Note e, quando
ve ne siano, vengono adottate le soluzioni proposte dalle fonti secondarie
(queste correzioni, per, non sono evidenziate tipograficamente nella
Problemi di strumentazione
Come gi a volte accade con il cimbasso nelle sue opere italiane, nellautografo de La Favorite Donizetti non specific sempre una parte distinta per
lophiclide. A volte gli affida un pentagramma a parte, altre volte scrive
un accordo di quattro note sul pentagramma dei tromboni oppure indica
che debba raddoppiare il terzo trombone, ma altre volte ancora non lo
menziona affatto, anche laddove il contesto lo richiederebbe. In questo
caso le fonti secondarie sono state di valido aiuto; casi dubbi vengono
segnalati nelle Note.
Prassi esecutiva
Le trombe cromatiche a macchina, sebbene gi disponibili allepoca in

Dotto-Parker, Prefazione alledizione critica delle opere di Donizetti



Italia (vedi la nostra Prefazione alledizione critica di Maria Stuarda, Prassi

esecutiva, punto 4), erano entrate gi in modo fisso nellorchestra dellOpra nei primi anni Trenta dellOttocento (questo strumento era infatti apparso per la prima volta proprio a Parigi, alla fine degli anni Venti).
Donizetti indic le Trompettes a Pistons semplicemente col termine
Trompettes, scrivendo la parte nellautografo nella posizione abituale
tra gli ottoni. Pose invece la parte delle Trompettes ordinaires sotto alla
percussione, quasi come addenda. Nelle parti staccate desecuzione la coppia degli strumenti cromatici indicata Cornets Piston Trompettes N
2 (la coppia di trombe naturali identificata come Trompettes N 1) e
la distinzione di terminologia significativa. Infatti, sebbene la presente
edizione mantenga lindicazione donizettiana in partitura, gli strumenti
utilizzati allOpra erano senzaltro non trombe a pistoni bens cornette a
pistoni, il ben noto strumento dottone solistico per eccellenza durante
tutto lOttocento (e, in Francia, fino ai primi decenni dei secolo attuale)
dal timbro pi rotondo e vellutato di quello della tromba utilizzata oggigiorno nelle orchestre; ne terr conto il moderno concertatore.

Prefazione allEdizione critica delle

opere di Giuseppe Verdi
The Works of Giuseppe Verdi (WGV), coedizione della University of Chicago Press e di Casa Ricordi, una pubblicazione della musica di Verdi rigorosamente fedele alle fonti autentiche e utilizzabile per lesecuzione. Ledizione si divide in sei sezioni:
I. Opere teatrali
II. Musica vocale da camera
III. Musica sacra
IV. Cantate e inni
V. Musica strumentale da camera
VI. Opere giovanili
Ciascun volume si apre con unintroduzione che consta di tre parti: un
panorama storico del lavoro o dei lavori, una rassegna delle fonti e una
disamina dei problemi editoriali e di esecuzione. Un Commento critico,
pubblicato generalmente in un volume separato, presenta unanalisi dettagliata delle fonti, oltre alle note critiche, che offrono altre lezioni e spiegano le decisioni editoriali adottate. Sono disponibili anche le riduzioni
per canto e pianoforte e le parti orchestrali e corali.
Quando i lavori esistono in due versioni distinte (I Lombardi /Jrusalem,
Simon Boccanegra ecc.), entrambe vengono pubblicate separatamente. Le
versioni alternative di minor estensione sono sistemate in appendice. Il
testo principale riflette lassetto definitivo di un lavoro, ma non necessariamente quello finale. Se si potr disporre dellinsieme degli abbozzi
musicali di Verdi, questi saranno pubblicati separatamente.
La musica derivata da una fonte principale, quasi sempre il manoscritto autografo del compositore. Le aggiunte da altre fonti di mano di
Verdi sono collocate entro parentesi cuspidate < > Le altre aggiunte sono differenziate tipograficamente come segue:
1. In corsivo: dinamica (f, p, cresc., dim.); trilli (tr); parole o sillabe mancanti
nelle parti vocali; indicazioni di movimento (Andante); numero dei legni o
degli ottoni che suonano (Solo, I, a 2); indicazioni metronomiche ( = 88), ecc.

Gossett, Prefazione alledizione critica delle opere di Verdi


2. Tratteggiate: legature complete o parziali; forcelle di crescendo o diminuendo complete o parziali.

3. In corpo minore: note; punti di staccato; accenti; corone. (I segni che
ne sostituiscono altri, ad es. > per o
, sono stampati in
dimensioni normali. Il segno sostituito viene riportato in nota a pi di
Le aggiunte che estendono i segni gi presenti nella fonte principale
non sono messe fra parentesi. Quelle derivanti da fonti secondarie attendibili (una copia manoscritta, la prima edizione dello spartito per canto e
pianoforte, materiali di esecuzione) sono messe fra parentesi tonde ( ). La
loro fonte viene specificata nel Commento. Quando un intero gruppo di
aggiunte (ad es. indicazioni metronomiche o di I o a 2) viene estratto da
una fonte secondaria specifica, questa viene indicata nellintroduzione alla
partitura e non ripetuta ogni volta nel Commento. Infine, le aggiunte che
sono ritenute essenziali dal curatore, ma non presenti nelle fonti, sono
poste tra parentesi quadre [ ]. In via eccezionale, le didascalie tratte dalla
fonte principale per il libretto (in genere la prima edizione stampata) sono
messe in tondo tra parentesi.
Laspetto della partitura modernizzato in diversi modi:
1. Sono state seguite in genere le convenzioni correnti per lordine degli
strumenti e delle voci. La situazione reale dellautografo viene indicata
nella sezione relativa delle note critiche.
2. Le parti vocali usano solo chiavi di violino, di violino tenorizzata e di
basso. Le chiavi originali, insieme alla reale estensione di ogni parte, sono
specificate nellelenco dei personaggi.
3. Luso delle alterazioni di Verdi adattato alla pratica moderna. Solo
quando esistono dei dubbi sulle intenzioni di Verdi sono stati introdotte
alterazioni tra parentesi quadre.
4. Le abbreviazioni e i segni di ripetizione verdiani sono realizzati secondo le convenzioni moderne, come pure le prescrizioni autografe su
una parte strumentale che rimandano a unaltra parte scritta per esteso.
Solo quando sono interessate sezioni musicali intere (ad es. DallA al B)
o dove la scrittura equivoca (ad es. quando si prescrive alle viole di suonare col Basso queste abbreviazioni sono state indicate nel Commento.
5. Quando due o tre ottoni o legni sono scritti su un unico pentagramma,
Verdi scrive Solo per prescrivere lesecuzione esclusivamente al primo
(Ob. I., Tr. I). WGV mantiene questo sistema. Quando la parte prosegue

Gossett, Prefazione alledizione critica delle opere di Verdi


in una successiva accollatura, WGV aggiunge un I. Verdi usa gambi doppi per indicare a due strumenti di suonare la stessa parte. WGV elimina il
secondo gambo e aggiunge in tondo a 2.
6. Spesso tre tromboni sono collocati su un unico pentagramma. Non
sempre Verdi chiarisce quanti strumenti debbano suonare quando ci sono
solo una o due note. WGV cerca di documentarsi su materiali desecuzione dellepoca, indicando ai Tromboni (I), (II, III), ecc.
7. Quando due parti scritte su un unico pentagramma procedono
omoritmicamente, WGV usa ununica articolazione per entrambi, anche
se Verdi ne introduce due (ad es.
8. Le abbreviazioni sono sciolte senza renderne conto in nota (All.
= Allegro).
9. I particolari secondari sono normalizzati senza specificazione in nota:
sono aggiunte pause di intero, standardizzati i segni di terzina o sestina
(3, 6), inserite le legature tra le acciaccature e le note principali. Un
solo punto di staccato mancante nellambito di un gruppo viene aggiunto
senza differenziazione tipografica ecc.
Ci sono invece taluni aspetti della scrittura di Verdi che non sono stati
1. La scrittura degli strumenti traspositori segue la fonte principale.
2. La scrittura degli strumenti a percussione lasciata inalterata, cos
come i termini che Verdi usa per designarli. I problemi particolari riguardanti le parti dei timpani e della cassa/gran cassa sono discussi nellintroduzione alla partitura.
3. WGV segue lorganico originale di Verdi. Quando sono presenti degli strumenti insoliti o caduti in disuso (ad es. il cimbasso), nellintroduzione vengono dati i suggerimenti per le esecuzioni moderne.
4. 1 tratti dunione usati da Verdi per il collegamento di pi note vengono mantenuti laddove possano essere giustificati musicalmente.
5. WGV segue la scrittura di Verdi, conservando per la Banda sul palco
la stesura ridotta. Una realizzazione possibile contenuta nel materiale
La fonte musicale principale considerata anche la fonte principale per
il testo letterario di ogni opera. Questo testo stato collazionato con le
fonti principali del libretto. Si preferisce di consueto la lezione di Verdi a
quella del libretto. La punteggiatura incompleta di Verdi integrata con

Gossett, Prefazione alledizione critica delle opere di Verdi



quella delle fonti del libretto. Gli interventi sulla punteggiatura sono descritti nel Commento solo quando abbiano una reale importanza. Di norma, lortografia di Verdi conservata quando riflette unalternativa storicamente corretta al libretto o alluso moderno. Tuttavia la divisione di
parole in sillabe stata, ove necessario, modernizzata. La punteggiatura
omessa alla fine delle didascalie.
Molti elementi dellautografo di Verdi possono essere ambigui:
1. Gli accenti (>) e i diminuendi (
) non sono sempre ben
differenziati. WGV mira a trovare uninterpretazione musicalmente convincente della fonte principale, e i passi dubbi sono menzionati nel Commento.
2. Ci sono occasioni in cui le legature di espressione verdiane sono ambigue al limite dellincomprensibilit, specialmente quando sottinteso
un legato generale. Uninterpretazione plausibile viene suggerita da WGV;
dalla partitura, le note in calce e il Commento, comunque possibile
ricostruire la notazione originale.
3. Alcuni segni interpretativi (crescendi, dinamica ecc.) non possono
essere attribuiti con precisione a un pentagramma o a un altro nel contesto di un tutti orchestrale. Tuttavia WGV li stampa attribuendoli a una
singola parte.
In genere le parti dei solisti vocali seguono esattamente la fonte principale. I cantanti troveranno nelledizione critica tutte le indicazioni di
cui hanno bisogno per dare uninterpretazione personale di ogni ruolo.
Daltro canto non sono state conservate le disuguaglianze gravi nelle parti
orchestrali e corali, o nei concertati. WGV punta a uninterpretazione
accettabile musicalmente, la pi fedele possibile alla fonte principale. Tutte le differenze da questa sono state registrate: le significative nelle note in
calce, le altre solo nel Commento.
Lintero complesso delle norme editoriali disponibile presso
University of Chicago Press. Le deviazioni da queste norme, rese necessarie da situazioni insolite nelle fonti o dal contesto musicale, saranno prese
in esame nel Commento.

Overriding the autograph score: the problem

of textual authority in Verdis Falstaff
1. Prologue: the problem in nuce.
Many of those involved with the new Verdi edition1 have long
suspected that the principles drafted to underpin the editing of the earlier
works would have to be modified, or even completely rethought, when
confronting the last operas. This is clear, for example, from a privately
distributed set of editorial guidelines, which laid out a carefully nuanced
policy regarding its evaluation of the available sources. For the most part,
because of the belief that it was normally Verdis habit through most of
his career to leave his autograph manuscripts in a form he considered
definitive [...] the principal source for an edition will practically always
be the composers full autograph score. The obvious hedgings here
(normally and practically always) were amplified a few pages later
with the acknowledgment that in some cases the authority of the relevant
autograph scores might be more generally questioned: Among the operas,
only in the cases of Otello, Falstaff, and perhaps La traviata, will it be
necessary to face the problem of a full orchestral score printed under Verdis
purported supervision.2
If only to streamline the present discussion, we shall set aside here
what may be the two most obvious issues surrounding these remarks:
first, the questionable nature of the claims in the first quotation, whose
connotations, swirling around the problematic concept, definitive, are
The term new Verdi edition refers, of course, to The works of Giuseppe Verdi, a multidecade project currently being undertaken jointly by the University of Chicago Press
(Chicago) and Casa Ricordi (Milan). In Philip Gossetts Preface, reprinted at the
beginning of each of the volumes that have appeared so far, one reads that each score is
both rigorously faithful to authentic sources and suitable for performance: The main
text reflects the definitive state of a work, not necessarily its final state; The music is
derived from a principal source, almost always the composers autograph manuscript.
Statement of editorial principles for the Verdi edition, typescript, n.d., pp. 6, 8.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


likely to strike those familiar with the literary-critical and textual-critical

perspectives of the 1990s as, at best, vastly oversimplified;3 and, second,
the implication (or hope?) that the circumstances working to challenge
the fundamental authority of the manuscript scores as a principal source
of only certain operas may legitimately be separated from those of the
other works by a firm, delimiting line, a conceptual cordon sanitaire (as
though Verdi had bestowed a different, presumably looser, personal
standard of manuscript definitiveness in those operas that were likely
to lead to a printed score). Steering clear of this argumentational morass
doubtless a worthy topic for a separate essay we may proceed directly
into a different observation, namely that in 1986 David Lawton extended
the list of potentially problematic autograph scores to Aida, an opera that,
arguably, may be regarded as Verdis first work for a new age that was
beginning to define itself as more emphatically modern, industrial,
technological, and collaborative. For our purposes, we need only recall
Lawtons conclusion:
To sum up: because of Verdis deep involvement in the publication and
performance history of Aida, the autograph cannot always be regarded as the
ultimate authority for the definitive text of the opera. Variant readings in an
imposing number of other sources must be carefully researched and documented
as to their origin. The preparation of the critical edition will require preliminary
research far in excess of what has been done for the operas published to date.4

The opera with which we are concerned in the present essay, Falstaff
(1893), presents even more complications along these lines than does Aida.
It was prepared some two decades later in a far more technological and
international world of instantly printed Italian partiture (of which the
1887 Otello had been one of the first, and proudest examples, stampato
As is widely known, the past two decades have been conditioned by a set of sharp and
often convincing challenges to the notions of a definitive and stable text, personal
creative authority and intention, and so on. In short, to adapt a deft summary of the
situation provided by The chronicle of higher education, 31 March 1993, p. 10: For
[current] editorial theorists, there is no such thing as the definitive version of a text,
only versions of a text, or, more generally, a particular construction of a text. The
literature on the ramifications of this for the editing of texts is extensive, but we should
particular cite one of the most widely read discussions, J. J. M C GANN , A critique of
modern textual criticism (Chicago, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1983), along with such recent
collections as N. S PADACCINI and J. TALENS, eds., The politics of editing (Minneapolis,
Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1992), and G. BORNSTEIN and R. G. W ILLIAMS, Palimpsest:
editorial theory in the humanities (Ann Arbor, Univ. of Michigan Press, 1993).
D. LAWTON, The autograph of Aida and the new Verdi edition, in Verdi newsletter,
14 (1986), pp. 4-14. The quoted passage is found on p. 11.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


in luogo di manoscritto, a score given an enthusiastic blessing by the

composer himself).5 The Falstaff orchestral score was the product of a
thoroughly industrialized editorship under the guidance of Giulio Ricordi at the height of his powers, and its printing history intersects for the
first time among Verdis works with such complications as the new
American copyright law. From the beginning, the Falstaff project celebrated the modern principle of the marriage of art to the economic and
legal powers of big business; from the beginning, it was conceived both as
something to be received and treated as a masterpiece and as something
to be marketed aggressively within the norms expected by the modern
institution of art music. This commodity called Falstaff was something
that, once brought to its eventual state of release into the marketplace,
would be a complex enterprise. To try to reduce this to a concern with
Verdis intentions alone with the implication that these intentions may
be investigated apart from the collaborative and commercial process with
which they were inescapably intertwined is grossly to misunderstand
the multilayered reality of this opera. Falstaff was very much a socially
produced work.6
Merely to lay out (perhaps as a documentary history) the basic story
of the creation and production of the Falstaff score would be an enormous
task. There are hundreds probably thousands of relevant documents,
each of which adds an essential nuance or part to the picture. The principal
documents include: a substantial set of sketches and drafts, owned by
Verdis heirs at SantAgata; Boitos much-revised original manuscript libretto (also owned by the heirs); the autograph score itself (housed in the
Archivio storico Ricordi, Milan); a set of vocal-score proofs, with Verdis
J. HEPOKOSKI, Giuseppe Verdi: Otello (Cambridge, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987), p.
76; cf. J. HEPOKOSKI and M. VIALE FERRERO, Otello di Giuseppe Verdi, Musica e Spettacolo: Collana di Disposizioni sceniche diretta da Francesco Degrada e Mercedes Viale
Ferrero (Milano, Ricordi, 1990), especially Chapter 12: La disposizione scenica e il
manoscritto autografo di Otello, pp. 64-68. See also Section 3 below.
I should add that my current mode of thinking about the Falstaff score has been
conditioned by my examination in the mid-1980s of the compositional and publication
documents surrounding Otello, which, it is clear, served as a model for the activity
surrounding the Falstaff project. I am now convinced that unless the available documents
for both Otello and Falstaff have been studied and assessed as an entire corpus, no
pronouncements should be made on the presumed authority or lack of it of any
edition of either work. More convincing than the evidence in any single document is a
grasp of the personal, intellectual, emotional, artistic, social, and commercial dynamics
underpinning both projects.
The quoted phrase is taken from J. J. MCG ANN, A critique of modern textual criticism
cit., p. 75.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


corrections, dating mostly from November and December 1892 (the bozza di stampa, located in the library of the Milan Conservatory); hundreds
of letters between Verdi and Boito and Verdi and Ricordi, many of the
latter still unpublished; dozens of relevant but hitherto little explored
copies of business letters and telegrams sent from Casa Ricordi to various
persons in the 1892-94 period, still preserved as individual pages of an
enormous, multi-volume set of Copialettere at the Ricordi Archivio storico; numerous official business registers also still preserved there, including
an often-cited book of work schedules and assignments (the so-called libroni), copyright registers, and the like; and, of course, the numerous
versions of the printed editions produced and distributed in various formats
by Ricordi.
I have dealt at length with certain aspects of this intricate Falstaff
publication-story elsewhere.7 Consequently, I need not reconstruct all of
its outlines here, although some of its details will be called upon as this
essay proceeds. But there are certain previously unknown though central
features of that story that have only recently come to light. It is on
these new things that I would initially like to focus here. As will emerge,
the most important new evidence illuminates a significant part of the
editorial activity on the instrumental parts (and hence on the final orchestral score) that occurred at Casa Ricordi in the months immediately preceding the operas premiere (9 February 1893). From all indications, this
editorial standardization was not only carried out with Verdis knowledge
and approval, but it was also checked (and revised?) by him during the
rehearsals themselves.
Ultimately, the main point of this essay is to argue that the preferred
principal source for any future edition at least one that claims to be an
improvement on what is readily available today should not be the
autograph score.8 The existing evidence clearly shows that the autograph
score was not produced to serve as the final court of appeal in editorial
questions; rather, it was an initiator-text whose task, in accordance with
E.g., in The compositional history of Verdis Falstaff: a study of the autograph score and
early editions (Ph.D. Diss., Harvard Univ., 1979); Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff (Cambridge,
Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983); and Under the eye of the Verdian bear: notes on the rehearsals
and premire of Falstaff, The musical quarterly, 71 (1985), pp. 135-156.
This reverses the position that I took in 1979 in The compositional history of Verdis
Falstaff, Ch. 6, Prolegomena to a modern critical edition, pp. 208-243, in which,
following the orthodoxy of the fledgling Verdi edition, I favored the autograph score.
The presentation of basic data within that chapter still remains valid, in my view, but its
interpretive conclusions buttressed by illustrative editorial problems and the like
now seem to me to be misguided.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


the conventions of operatic publication in the 1880s and 1890s, was to set
into motion a larger, collaborative process of grooming the work for its
public appearance. For this reason, as I shall elaborate below, my view is
this: Discounting for the moment the impact of the handful of later Parisian
revisions (mostly from early 1894), any new edition of Falstaff worth
serious consideration should be based primarily on the first printed orchestral score, a three-volume partitura produced in mid-1893 by Casa Ricordi for rental only (plate number 96180),9 which also incorporated the
post-premiere Roman revisions made in March and early April 1893.10
Thus Falstaff presents a virtually paradigmatic case of the common
editorial situation recently described by Jerome J. McGann:
Final authority [...] rests neither with the author nor with his affiliated
institution; it resides in the actual structure of the agreements which these two
cooperating authorities reach in specific cases.

Or, yet again:

[In certain instances] the concept of authorial intention only comes into force
for criticism when (paradoxically) the artists work begins to engage with
social structures and functions. The fully authoritative text is therefore always
one which has been socially produced; as a result, the critical standard for
what constitutes authoritativeness cannot rest with the author and his intentions
As is widely known, the readings of the first printed orchestral score deviate significantly
from those found in the autograph manuscript. These deviations involve not only matters
of phrasing, dynamics, and articulation, but also, here and there, those of pitch, rhythm,
stage directions, and text. It is also worth noting if only to underscore the irony of
the situation that it was Denis Vaughans late-1950s outrage at the estimated 27,000
differences between the autograph and printed score of Falstaff that precipitated the
whole question of the authenticity of available Verdi scores, a question that, when
developed by more measured scholars, ultimately led in the early 1970s to the establishing
of the need for the new edition. See D. V AUGHAN, Discordanze tra gli autografi verdiani
e la loro stampa, in La Scala (July 1958), pp. 11-15. Vaughan followed up these arguments
about Falstaff and other Verdian operas in a number of subsequent articles, the most
extensive of which is The inner language of Verdis manuscripts, in Musicology, 5 (1979),
pp. 67-153.
Cf. note 8 above, which also applies here. For an overview of the Parisian and Roman
revisions see my Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff cit., pp. 54-84 (Milan, Rome, and Paris: three
versions of Falstaff), which also includes a discussion of how certain features of each of
the Roman and Parisian versions were (unintentionally?) intermixed to produce the
hybrid and sometimes contradictory scores of the work most common today.
More information may be found in The compositional history of Verdis Falstaff cit. The
issue of the three versions is a separate matter from the principal topic of this essay,
which is the selection of a document to serve as the principal source (or copy-text) for
the opera. See also Section 5, No. 4 below.
J. J. MC GANN, A critique of modern textual criticism, cit., pp. 54, 75.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


With Falstaff we are obliged to engage the issue of a socially authoritative non-autograph source, and we need to formulate hypotheses about
why direct manuscript sources for that first printed orchestral score are
lacking. This entails nothing less than a reconstruction of all phases of the
production of the printed orchestral score (and parts). In this reconstruction
there are two central problems. The first is that we are obliged to posit
the necessary existence of a now-missing Stichvorlage, the crucial intermediate score situated chronologically between the autograph and 96180 (the
first printed partitura). Once 96180 had been produced, this mediating
text might have been discarded; it might have been given to someone (one
might hope), thus still remaining to be found; or, more likely, it might
have been destroyed, along with many other important documents, in
the catastrophic fire at G. Ricordi & C. during the Allied bombing of
Milan in 1943. The second problem is that all written correspondence
ceased during the period of the Verdi-supervised rehearsals and early
performances of Falstaff (when certain aspects of the orchestral score could
have been changing daily), from 2 January to 2 March, the dates of the
composers actual presence in Milan.12 This was a period in which Verdi
discussed, altered, and corrected things in person. Thus at the most
significant editorial moment for the orchestral score, present-day scholars
encounter a near-blackout of information.
Even though we lack certain documents and items of information
central to the preparation of the first printed orchestral score, the overall
picture of what must have occurred seems sufficiently clear. What follows,
then, is a presentation of the new information (Section 2), situated in the
context of a summary-overview of the editorial situation regarding the
partitura of Falstaff. I shall continue with a few observations of what we
know must have occurred during the informational blackout (Section 3)
The 2 January date of his arrival in Milan is established by a telegram sent on 1 January
1893 by Giulio Ricordi to Verdi: Auguri Auguri Auguri con tutto il cuore a nome tutti
noi. Nostro pi caro augurio nel dire a rivederli domani (Cop 1892-93, XI, p. 379,
unpublished; the date is also confirmed in a telegram from the next day, reprinted in
Under the eye of the Verdian bear... cit., p. 139, note 20). (For the Cop abbreviation, see
note 15 below). The date of departure was announced in the 5 March 1893 issue of
Ricordis Gazzetta musicale di Milano, p. 162: Giuseppe Verdi e la di lui signora,
dopo due mesi di soggiorno nella nostra citt, partirono gioved scorso [2 March] per
Genova. Verdi stayed in Milan through the ninth performance. For a more comprehensive summary of all of the available information regarding Verdi at the rehearsals and
early performances, see Under the eye of the Verdian bear... cit. and The compositional
history of Verdis Falstaff cit. I provide a roster of early performances in Giuseppe Verdi:
Falstaff cit., p. 56, summarized in Section 3 below.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


and proceed to formulate a general hypothesis concerning the preparation

of the orchestral score, 96180, and its missing Stichvorlage (Section 4). I
shall conclude with some recommendations that concern the preparation
of a modestly authoritative Falstaff edition more generally. As will be
evident, these recommendations also bring up matters not dwelt upon in
the first four sections.
2. Early editorial interventions: De Angelis, Magrini, and? . . .
The clearest point of entry is somewhere near the middle of the
publication story, with two Casa Ricordi documents from 28 December
1892. The date is significant. This was a mere seven days before Verdi would
leave his residence in Genoa to arrive in Milan (2 January) to supervise
procedures leading to the Falstaff premiere (9 February); it was nine days
before the first Milanese piano rehearsals at La Scala itself (starting 4
January); and it was a little less than a month before the onset of the first
orchestral rehearsals (which may have begun as early as 21 January).13
Moreover, by 28 December the first edition of the vocal score had not only
been competely engraved, but two sets of its proofs had been printed and
laboriously corrected by, among others, the composer himself. Only a few
days before, on 23 December, Verdi had returned the last batch of spartito
proofs to Ricordi (the second act, as it turned out): Cos avrete fatto lopera,
senza speranza sia completamente corretta!14 (Verdi was indicating that
there were still some small errors to correct and mentioned that he had
found two more [unspecified] in the first act; the implication was that
because of the press of time any further corrections would have to be done
at the rehearsals and incorporated into the second printing of the score.
But in fact, the composer sent off yet another final correction to the vocalscore proofs on 27 December). By 4 January the first copies of the vocal
The dates are established in Under the eye of the Verdian bear... cit., pp. 139-141. Verdi
himself later recalled that the piano rehearsals had started on 3 January: see his (mis-)dated
letter of 3 March 1893 in ABBIATI, IV, p. 478: the actual date of the letter, established by
postmark, is 5 March.
Verdi to Ricordi, 23 December 1892 (unpublished), located in the Archivio storico
Ricordi, Milano (I-Mr), where it is assigned the number 1084. See also The compositional
history of Verdis Falstaff cit., p. 85. Much of the 27 December 1892 letter is included in
ABBIATI, IV, pp. 470-471. Abbiati includes (but without the musical notation) the passage
with Fords question in II.2, Chi c dentro quel cesto?.
I should like to thank G. Ricordi & C., Milan, for their generous permission to quote
throughout this essay from the correspondence and work-registers in their extensive

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


score were bound: on that date Ricordi sent three copies of it to the attorney
Jean Lobel, Ricordis Parisian facilitator in Paris, who would set into motion the procedures that were to lead to an American copyright on the
spartito.15 As for the full autograph score, Ricordi had been in possession
of it since around 4 October. From this moment onward, of course, it had
been the task of the publishing firm not only to produce an accurate, salable
spartito but also to prepare the orchestral parts for the upcoming rehearsals
and performance and, more generally, to accomplish the editing-work that
would eventually lead to the release of a rental-only, high-technology printed partitura in the months following the premiere.
Entering at first, then, in the middle of the story: On 28 December
1892 Giulio Ricordi wrote nearly identical letters to two key performers
in the planned La Scala orchestra for Falstaff. The first was Gerolamo De
Angelis, who was to take on the crucial role of concertmaster, or Primo
Violino solista; the second was Giuseppe Magrini, selected to serve as
the Primo Violoncello per lOpera.16 Both were eminent figures in Milanese instrumental music (with Vincenzo Appiani, piano, they constituted
the notable Trio Milanese); both were professors of their respective
instruments at the Milan Conservatory (De Angelis of both violin and
viola); and De Angelis had been the first violinist of the La Scala Orchestra since 1879.17 The two previously unpublished letters, copies of which
The unpublished Casa Ricordi-Jean Lobel correspondence is one of the significant
legal constituents of the Falstaff story. Ricordis side of it is preserved in the set of
Copialettere in I-Mr (henceforth Cop, followed by the year and relevant volume and
page). In this case we are concerned with Ricordi and Tornaghi to Lobel (17 Rue de
Faubourg, Montmartre, Paris), 4 January 1893:
En confirmant n[tre] lettre 31 Xmbre pass, nous avons lhonneur de vous donner avis
de lenvoi que nous vous avons fait de 3 ex. Falstaff de Verdi piano et chant, 3 id. Manon
Lescaut de Puccini[,] id. 3 morceaux de Tosti piano et chant, 6 id. de Chimeri piano seul,
sousbande en 6 paquets charg, avec facture dont ci inclus le duplicata. Nous attendrons
que vous ayez la complaisance de nous ecrire la date a laquelle on fera le dept des
ouvrages susdits en Amerique, pour les faire enregistrer ici le mme jour.
(Cop 1892-93, XI, pp. 486-487, unpublished).
This mailing is confirmed in a separate register in I-Mr, the Procura Stati Uniti: Copyright
5.12.1892 14.4.1914, in which is noted that the Giorno della spedizione of Falstaff:
Opera completa Canto & piano is, along with the Tosti and Chimeri pieces and Manon
Lescaut, 4/1/93 in 6 sottofascia raccom..
The terms are taken here from the opening pages of the first printed edition of the
Falstaff libretto (96001), which lists the key instrumentalists, directors, designers, and so
See the entries for De Angelis, Magrini, and Appiani in the Enciclopedia della musica
(Milano, Ricordi, 1963). This source consistently spells De Angeliss first name as
Girolamo. The 1892-93 sources at Casa Ricordi favor Gerolamo.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


are preserved in the Casa Ricordi Copialettere (abbreviated here as Cop),

indicate that Ricordi had called upon both to work editorially with Verdis
autograph score in the preparation of at least some of the parts, and that
now, by 28 December, their work had been completed. It was time to
reward them. To De Angelis:
Ego Prof. De Angelis
Gratissimo per le revisioni delle parti, mi permetta accluderle un
modesto invio = con ci non intendo offrirle un compenso; soltanto sElla
vorr, le servir per un ricordo del lavoro pel Falstaff. E non dica di no, perch
mi metterebbe nella spiacevole necessit di non pi valermi della di Lei opera
in consimili occasioni, avendo gi troppo di sovente abusato della di Lei
cortese amicizia.
Con auguri cordiali, ho il piacere di ripetermi
di Lei Dmo
Giulio Ricordi
(Cop 1892-93, XI, p. 273; unpublished)

To Magrini (notice here the somewhat more formal tone, suggesting that
Ricordi might have had a closer personal friendship with De Angelis):
Ego Prof. Magrini
Nel mentre la ringrazio della revisione fatta, mi permetto accluderle
un piccolo invio sintende che non un compenso, ma le potr al caso
servire per un ricordo della revisione alle parti Falstaff Cos, occorrendo,
potr valermi in altre occasioni dellutile di Lei lavoro, altrimenti non vorrei
pi oltre profittare della di Lei compiacenza.
In pari tempo le faccio i miei augurj e con stima mi ripeto
Giulio Ricordi
(Cop 1892-93, XI, p. 274; unpublished)

We might add that Ricordis hint that he would be able to use the
services of each man again was soon acted upon. On 6 March 1893 he sent
letters to them both requesting their help, dovendosi fare le arcature
nelle parti violini e viole [for Magrini the letter reads nella parte cello
basso] dellorchestra Manon Lescaut di Puccini (Cop 1892-93, XVI, pp.
272-273, unpublished).
There is every reason to suspect that De Angeliss and Magrinis late1892 work on Falstaff may have concerned more than bowing
(arcature).18 For Falstaff Ricordis words suggest something more: he
It goes without saying that the same is probably true of their work to come on Manon

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


was thanking De Angelis for the revisions of the parts (le revisioni
delle parti) and for the work done for Falstaff (del lavoro pel Falstaff,
a phrase that need not be restricted to the upper string parts alone). Now,
since it is precisely in such matters as the standardization or regularization
of phrasing, dynamics, articulation, and so on, that the orchestral score
printed by Ricordi (96180) differs so markedly from the autograph score,
it is reasonable to infer (while leaving plenty of space for later, Verdisupervised changes during the late-January and early-February orchestra
rehearsals or perhaps even later) that those different aspects of the
printed score have something to do with the work of Magrini and De
This conclusion is inescapable. It is unthinkable that such work on the
parts would be separated from the task of preparing a master copy from
which Ricordis most crucial score, the printed edition for rental purposes,
would be engraved. Surely Ricordi was in one way or another keeping
track of all the revisions or standardizations in the parts on precisely such
a master copy (a point to which I shall return in Sections 3 and 4 below).
To this it need only be added that De Angelis and Magrini might not have
been alone in their work. Ricordi might also have made use of some nowunknown others within or outside the printing firm, but to whom letters
were never sent or for whom, for whatever reason, letter-copies are missing.
(Obviously, letters would be sent only to those persons whose professional
activities such as those required by the Milan Conservatory, in the
cases of De Angelis and Magrini did not bring them at this time into
frequent personal encounters with Ricordi).19
The central questions for any current editor of Falstaff are: to what
extent was Verdi aware of these editorial interventions and standardizations?; and, if he was, what was his attitude toward them? The answers
are clear: the composer knew of this work (Ricordi was anything but
secretive about it), and the available evidence suggests that he welcomed
it. To establish this, we need now to turn back to the point where Verdi
first relinquished his manuscript score to the publishing house.
Giulio Ricordi had received the autograph score from Verdi not as a
whole, but in three different transactions, act by act (in the order 1, 3, 2).
He obtained the first act himself in the course of a visit to SantAgata on
There are no comparable letter copies in the Ricordi Copialettere, for example, to
Antonio Zamperoni (flute), Angelo Carcano (oboe), Armando Cicotti (clarinet), Antonio Torriani (bassoon), Luigi Carvelli (first horn), or Pio Nevi (trombone).

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


27 August 1892; the third act was given to Giulios son Tito at the Piacenza
railway station on 15 September; and the second act, in all likelihood, was
given to Giulio Ricordi during another visit to the composer (along with
Arrigo Boito and Adolph Hohenstein, the set and costume designer) on 4
October 1892.20 In each case, immediately after having received a portion
of the score, he set into motion the work on a piano-vocal reduction, and
promptly sent Verdi the relevant portions of the reduction-manuscript
(now lost) for examination as soon as they were completed. The principal
reducer was Carlo Carignani; new evidence indicates that during certain
phases of the reduction Carignani may have been assisted by Gaetano
Luporini, who also resided in Lucca.21
Even before receiving the second installment of the full score, however,
Ricordi, now in Milan, was concerned with moving with all due speed to
produce engraved orchestral parts in time for the eventual rehearsals. This
work which would have begun with a manuscript recopying of the
The dates of consignment are discussed more extensively in my Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff
cit., pp. 43-45, and the evidence for this and subsequent dating within the present essay
is most elaborately laid out in The compositional history of Verdis Falstaff cit., pp. 252256 and in Chapter 3, Verdi and Ricordi in collaboration: the proofs for the first pianovocal edition, pp. 54-108, and Prolegomena to a modern critical edition: the orchestral
score: special considerations, pp. 219-236. (But cf. the caveat in note 8 above).
As I mention in both of the above works, it is possible (though, I now think, extremely
unlikely) that Verdi did not give Act 2 to Ricordi on 4 October but waited until his visit
to Milan shortly thereafter, between 13 and 16 October. Even granting the possibility
of the later date, however, the argument subsequently elaborated in the present essay
would be unaffected.
The new evidence consists of a series of letters from the second half of 1892 preserved
in the Ricordi Copialettere from C. Blanc (of the Ricordi firm) to Luporini (17
August, 30 August, 30 September, 31 October, and 9 November), several of which
concern regular monthly payroll matters and ask Luporini to fare una gita a Milano
for unspecified business. The most provocative letter is that of 9 November 1892: Quando ricevetti stamane la gentiliss.a di Lei lettera djeri stavo appunto per scriverle dincarico del S. Com. Giulio acciocch Ella si trovasse qui sabato prossimo. Ella pu cos
benissimo partire collegregio Mo Carignani. Qui accluso trover un biglietto da L. 100
per le di Lei spese di viaggio (Cop 1892-93, VIII, p. 246, unpublished). By 9 November,
of course, Carignanis manuscript reduction of Falstaff had been completed. It is uncertain
what Luporinis business in Milan at this time might have been, but the link to Carignani
seems clear enough: he may have been Carignanis assistant.
Note, however, that Luporinis name is also linked with Carignanis in C. GATTIs Il
Teatro alla Scala, p. 174, quoted in M. M EDICI and M. C ONATI, eds., Carteggio VerdiBoito, 2 vols. (Parma, Istituto di studi verdiani, 1978), II, p. 427: here the claim is that il
mio caro compagno Luporini... aveva ridotto per canto e pianoforte da una copia della
partitura originale dorchestra un bel po del Falstaff. The index of Carteggio VerdiBoito, II, p. 532, incorrectly gives Gaetano Luporinis first name as Gustavo.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


individual parts was underway by at least 11 September 1892. Casa

Ricordis company work register, the libroni, includes this date as part of
its official entry acknowledging that it was undertaking work on the parts
(although the copying work may actually have begun somewhat earlier
than this date).22 The libroni entries included the assigning of future plate
numbers, 96003-96007 for violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello and bass, and
winds. Thus the top entry reads, in its various columns: 96003 / Diversi
/ Verdi G. / 11-9-92 / Falstaff. Opera. Orchestra. Violino I. Copisteria.
Throughout September Ricordi seems to have been concerned primarily
with the changes often compositional changes that Verdi, at
SantAgata, was concurrently making in the reduction manuscript. His
initial interest seems to have been that Verdis autograph manuscript be
kept as accurate as possible, at least in its most essential details. On 30
September 1892, for example, about two weeks after receiving the second
installment of the full score, he wrote to Verdi with some urgency:
Una cosa importante: i segni in partitura sono stati fatti: occorre ora chElla
possa fare quanto corrisponde ai segni stessi: ma... ci urgente a farsi, perch
non si possono cavare le parti
Crede Ella che, nel consegnare il 2o Atto, le si porti il resto della partitura?... in
tal caso, v tempo sufficiente, a Piacenza stessa, di segnare dette correzioni,
cos si ritornerebbe col 1o e 3o Atto in ordine?... Il Capo copista mi fa gran
premura, per cavare subito le parti ed arrivare in tempo ad inciderle, il che
un gran vantaggio per le prove dorchestra 23

Although it would never completely disappear, the editors urgent

tone would soon subside at least with regard to the orchestral parts
and this probably had something to do with Ricordis and Verdis activity
in the first half of October. During Ricordis visit to SantAgata on 4
October (during which he was given the remaining portion of the
The earliest entry for Falstaff in the libroni is from two days earlier, 10 September, and
concerns the vocal score: 96000 / Diversi / Verdi G. / 10-9-92 / Falstaff. Opera completa per Canto e Pianoforte, in 8o. Riduz.e di C. Carignani (A) netti 20 / 474. But we
know that Ricordi had begun sending Verdi fascicles of Carignanis reduction manuscript
on 2 September (The compositional history of Verdis Falstaff cit., pp. 43-44). This indicates
that the libroni dates do not record the date on which actual work on a document
commenced. Rather, they seem to represent the date on which an official work-number
was assigned. (This would become a plate number if the given piece was actually engraved).
SantAgata, Villa Verdi = I-BSAv. Ricordi to Verdi, 30 September 1892, unpublished.
I should like to thank Alberto and Gabriella Carrara Verdi for their kind permission to
publish extracts from this and other letters from Ricordi to Verdi. Two earlier letters
from Ricordi to Verdi (both unpublished) also touch on this concern for the timely
extraction of the parts: those of 15 June 1892 and 1 September 1892.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


autograph score), he must have requested Verdi to make a business visit

to Milan about a week later to finalize a number of decisions about Falstaff.
We may presume that these were decisions that would be easier to make
on the spot at the printing firm with the relevant documents and
individuals present than alone, abstractly, at SantAgata. As is clear
from Verdis next letter to Ricordi, on 9 October 1892, one of the key
things to accomplish was the standardization of the text and stage
directions, for Verdis autograph score still bore some early, by-now altered
readings of some of the words not to mention spelling and punctuation
and differed at several points from Boitos new master copy. (By and
large, it was the librettist who was responsible for stabilizing the final
version of the verbal text. This in itself was an acknowledgment that the
autograph score could not be regarded as definitive in all matters).24 Among
some of the other issues, so far as the composer knew at this point, was
the problem of the bowing within the parts (le arcate) along with
some unspecified other things (altre cose). In the letter of 9 October,
Verdi also fixed the date of his arrival:
Peppina andr a Cremona Gioved [13 October]: io laccompagner e tirer
dritto fino a Milano ove arriver alle 3:30. Disponete tutto perch io ripartir
Domenica [16 October]; ed al giorno stesso del mio arrivo potremo lavorare
dalle 4 alle 6 se non altro per ripassare e confrontare il libretto colla musica; fare i piccoli accomodamenti: e fissare il numero dei coristi e Comparse che io
desidero sieno pochissimi. Venerd e Sabato [14, 15 October] potressimo
occuparci delle Scene delle arcate, dellArpista e di altre cose... Va bene cos?25

Realizing that Verdi would be in Milan at 3:30 in the afternoon on

Thursday, 13 October, Ricordi must have requested his secretary, EugeThe same general problem of an outdated text also exists with the autograph score
of Otello. I have addressed this issue, with examples, in La disposizione scenica e il
manoscritto autografo di Otello, in Otello di Giuseppe Verdi cit., pp. 64-68 (see note 5
above). In general, variant verbal-text readings in the autograph score may often
though not always be traced back to Boitos original manuscript libretto (that is, to
one of the earliest states of the text). Still, this observation seems generally truer of
Otello than of Falstaff, whose autograph score seems to provide a few more idiosyncratic
In considering the matter of an authoritative text more broadly, however, it should
be underscored that it may not be said that the textual readings in the printed libretto of
Otello and Falstaff are absolutely binding in all cases. See, e.g., the problem discussed in
note 63 below.
I-Mr, No. 1053. The letter, with some omissions, has been printed in ABBIATI, IV, pp.
463-464. Ricordi confirmed a subsequent letter from Verdi (ABBIATI, IV, p. 464) with a
telegram dated 11 October: Senza avviso contrario sar gioved [13 October] alle tre e
trenta allalbergo [...] (Cop 1892-93, VI, p. 412, unpublished).

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


nio Tornaghi, to contact De Angelis and Magrini at once, doubtless to

make certain that each of them would in fact be playing key roles in the
orchestra for the premiere and also to ask each of them to accomplish (at
least) the bowing for the Falstaff parts. But again: it is likely that what
Ricordi had in mind went beyond the literal sense of the word, bowing.
Since the end-product in view was an efficient, internally consistent,
modern printed partitura, merely to reproduce whatever happened to
be found in the autograph score would have given a chaotic impression
(see also Section 4 below). Moreover, it is clear that Ricordi wanted to
strike an agreement with De Angelis and Magrini (and perhaps with the
chief copyist and others as well) before Verdi arrived in Milan. On 11
October, therefore, Tornaghi asked each of them, in identical letters, to
come to Casa Ricordi on the morning of 13 October, only a few hours,
that is, before Verdis arrival:
La prego di favorire qui allo studio gioved mattina, avendo il mio Sig.
Comm. Giulio bisogno di parlarle per cosa importante.
Ringraziandola anticipatamente la riverisco con stima.
(Cop 1892-93, VI, p. 427 [Magrini], p. 428 [De Angelis], unpublished).

Thus Ricordi came to some kind of understanding with De Angelis

and Magrini on 13 October, one that might also have included the help of
a few unknown others, including the chief copyist. It is also possible that
the two performers might have met with Verdi in Milan even at Casa
Ricordi on 13, 14, or 15 October. In any event, whatever the decision
with regard to the preparatory editing of the orchestral score and parts, it
was doubtless agreed upon a voce at this time. The official entry
acknowledging the onset of the copying-work to be done in the preparation
of a printed orchestral score the assigning of a future plate number, and
so on was made into the Casa Ricordi libroni on 24 October 1892.26 In
the various columns of this register one reads: 96180 / Diversi / Verdi
G. / [24-10-92, indicated by ditto marks from previous entries] / Falstaff.
Opera. Partitura dOrchestra Copisteria. By this time, then, it was
full speed ahead on the work in the copisteria whatever that might
have entailed with regard to the autograph score. In this task the
composer was delegating certain aspects of editorial authority to others,
subject, one might suppose, to his own later inspection at the rehearsals.
After Verdis Milanese visit in mid-October, the editorial matters
brought up in Ricordis many letters to the composer in late 1892 overwhel26

With regard to the date, cf. the caveat in note 22 above.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


mingly concern the production of the vocal score: preparing and correcting
its proofs, in which latter activity Verdi, now in Genoa, would be actively
involved. One of these clearly demonstrates an overriding of what Verdi
had written in the autograph score. On 6 November Ricordi mentioned
to Verdi that the guitar part in II.2 had been editorially revised further
evidence that certain individuals were retouching the score:
Fatto esaminare parte chitarra da buon sonatore: in complesso va benissimo:
qualche nota da lasciar fuori, ma gli accordi rimangono sempre completi
il do non si pu suonare: invece cos
va bene Un solo
passo riesce assai difficile, e quindi poco chiaro: cio i gruppetti:

Se si potesse eseguire cos

riescirebbe facile Veda quindi Lei, Maestro,
come crede fare.27

Verdis response on 9 November was sympathetic and suggested his own

conceptual separation of what was and what was not essential in the
autograph score: Ho dimenticato di rispondervi sulla parte della Chittarra.
Non importa ommettere qualche nota in mezzo, basta che resti la fondamentale ed il Canto. St bene, ed meglio, ridurre lappoggiatura in terzine
et. et..28
Considering the large number of references to editorial issues in his
prolix letters from late 1892, Ricordi was astonishingly silent about the
preparation of the orchestral parts and future partitura, all of which suggests, again, that Verdi had agreed not to be actively concerned with these
things at this time. There are a few exceptions, though, and they provide
tantalizing glimpses into the publishers plans with regard to the orchestral
edition. On 10 November Ricordi wrote Verdi to express his frustration
with his still-primitive understanding of the new American copyright law
(thus far his firm had copyrighted nothing). In particular, the publisher
was beginning to worry that he would soon have to send off, among
other things una copia manoscritta della partitura, prima che lopera sia
rappresentata.29 The main concern (apart from the obvious rush that
would be involved) was of a potential break in the general secrecy
surrounding the music of Falstaff. An exchange of legal correspondence
with Lobel in Paris from 10 to 14 November seems to have laid this fear
to rest.30
I-BSAv, unpublished. See note 23 above.
I-Mr, No. 1057, in ABBIATI, IV, p. 465 (with some omissions).
I-BSAv, unpublished. See note 23 above.
Letter copies from Ricordi and Tornaghi to Jean Lobel, (Cop 1892-93), 10 November

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


Nevertheless, on 14 November Ricordi asked the composer to speed

up his schedule of making corrections and, more to the point, compositional revisions in the bozza di stampa of the vocal score, and at this
point it was clear that Ricordi was still planning on using printed orchestral
parts (with bowings or revisions currently being prepared by De Angelis and Magrini) at the rehearsals and premiere:
Ora devo farle viva preghiera, perch mi rimandi al pi presto possibile le
pagine di partitura di cui le spedisco copia oggi stesso, e cos, occorrendo,
poter fare la relativa correzione. Ella mi scrisse: fate presto a stampare, altrimenti
cambio Ancora! Ebbene, Maestro, bisogna proprio cominciare Mercoled [16
November], o Gioved [17 November] al pi tardi, altrimenti, non solo non vi
sar pronta ledizione [here, probably the vocal score], ma non si avranno le
parti di orchestra incise essendovi proprio appena, appena il tempo necessario.
Ho quindi vera necessit chElla mi scriva: sta bene fate pure.31

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


signs into Verdis manuscript score which was then in Milan so

that Verdi could alter these notes when he arrived in January). Phrasings,
articulations, dynamics, bowings, and the like were not an issue at this
Thus Ricordis plans to have all of the orchestral parts engraved by
mid-January were continuing, despite Verdis refusal to sound a definitive end to the revision process. Between 29 November and 2 December
1892 Verdi (still working with the vocal-score proofs) modified portions
of Falstaffs Honor Monologue, a change that both altered some of the
harmony and included the addition of a new measure all of which
would require adjustments to the instrumentation and would consequently
affect the orchestral score and parts.32 Ricordi responded to Verdi on 2

Again: Ricordis concern here revolved exclusively around Verdis

persistent practice of altering the pitches or rhythms of the score in his
correction of the vocal-score proofs. (And the publisher was pencilling

Ma... devo pregarla dun favore: e cio mandarmi la modificazione fatta al 1o

Atto istrumentata, che poi inserir nella partitura originale = ma della quale
ho urgentissima necessit per correggere le parti dorchestra, perch il 1o Atto
dellorchestra gi tutto inciso, e non si arriverebbe in tempo a fare le nuove
lastre, aspettando la di Lei venuta 33

1892 (VIII, pp. 281-284), 14 November 1892 (VIII, pp. 399-402); cf. also that of 23
November (IX, p. 213). Lobels replies are lost: no record of them currently exists in the
Ricordi Archives. Since none of the Ricordi firms subsequent letters to Lobel which
are meticulous with regard to listing the contents of all shipments to him mention
the sending of a manuscript copy of the partitura, it seems safe to assume that Lobel had
told Ricordi, as the editor had hoped, that in certain cases (especially those involving
musical notation?) before publication the titles alone would suffice. Still, the legal
complications behind this are far from clear: on 23 November Ricordi did send Lobel
une copie manuscrite des libretti Falstaff et Manon Lescaut que nous vous prions denvoyer
v[tre] Mr. Glaenzer pour faire composer en typographie et en fixer la date de la
publication au 10 (dix) Janvier prochain 1893. (In the Rubrica section of the Copialettere
1892-93, a list of names and addresses, this Glaenzer is identified as Em. Glaenzer. Aux
bons soins di Mr Rowland Cox Musical and Dramatic Copyright Office 229 Broadway.
New York).
On the basis of the currently known evidence, there is no reason to believe that Ricordi
sent Lobel (or anyone else) manuscript musical material for Falstaff at any time, and
certainly not in late 1892. On the other hand, in order to hasten Verdis work on the
bozza di stampa of the vocal score Ricordi did continue to complain to Verdi about the
difficulties of complying with the American copyright, without specifying exactly what
now needed to be done (21 November: In questi giorni sto preparando appunto tutto
il materiale pel deposito in America: c da sudar freddo, per assicurarsi che si adempiono a tutte le formalit!... e che non si commette qualche sproposito!... Ed anche per
questo che urgente stampare la riduzione, la quale bisogna spedirla fra pochi giorni,
onde si possa poi pubblicarla quando sar il momento (I-BSAv, unpublished; see note
23 above).
I-BSAv, unpublished. See note 23 above.

Since the parts for (at least) the first act were completely engraved by
early December, we may be reasonably certain that during the late-January
rehearsals the orchestra played from engraved parts, or perhaps from some
sort of provisional proofs still in the process of correction. We might also
notice in passing that Ricordis term, partitura originale, implies the
existence of another sort of partitura presumably, a master copy.
Throughout all of this, we might observe that De Angelis and Magrini
had remained unmentioned in the Verdi-Ricordi correspondence. In fact,
no available document had referred to them since Tornaghis letter copy
to each of 11 October. But on 19 December 1892 Ricordi wrote a
characteristically enormous letter to Verdi that included the following
sentences (in context, dwarfed by their surroundings, which
overwhelmingly concerned rehearsal plans and expectations, news about
the performers, aspects of the La Scala cartellone, and so on):
Magrini ha segnato celli e bassi De Angelis gi consegn 1o e 3o Atto, fatti
con grande accuratezza: a giorni mi dar il 2do 34
For the changes see The compositional history of Verdis Falstaff cit., pp. 80-81, 96-99
and Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff cit., pp. 48-49.
I-BSAv, unpublished. See note 23 above.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


To what does this refer? There are several possibilities. Since the parts for
at least Act 1 had already been engraved by 2 December, it is unlikely that
the two performers at this point were still working if they ever had
with manuscript copies of the parts. It may be that, whatever their prior
work had entailed, they had now progressed to a different phase, that of
the act-by-act proofreading of the printed parts. On the other hand, it is
possible that only preliminary proofs had been printed without much
in the way of dynamics or articulation and that De Angelis and Magrini
were still adding (segnare) the definitive or standardized markings to
them. Or it could be that they were now working (once again?) with
some sort of master copy of the partitura (see Section 4 below).
Whatever De Angelis and Magrini were finishing, it was no surprise
to Verdi that they were doing it. Within the context of a careful monitoring
of the spartito proofs, his next letters to Ricordi mention nothing about
the work on either the partitura or the parts. At least for now, it seems,
Verdi was content that this work was being done by others. And in any
case, Verdi would be actively working with the results of their editorial
activity at the upcoming rehearsals: there would be time at that point to
make changes, if needed. Slightly over a week later Ricordi would send
his notices of thanks to De Angelis and Magrini: This brings us back to
the 28 December letters cited at the beginning of this section. Their
preliminary work on Falstaff was now done, although they would still be
present and available for consultation during the orchestral rehearsals.
At this point in the history of the Falstaff orchestral score, with Verdis
arrival in Milan on 2 January to supervise the rehearsals, we enter the
informational blackout. About a half-year later, by July 1893, the printed
partitura, 96180 standardized in phrasings, dynamics, articulations,
verbal text, and so on (and therefore differing in thousands of small respects
from the autograph score) was finished and available for rental.
3. Into the blackout: January-July 1893.
Before proceeding to a general hypothesis about how the printed
partitura was prepared, we should touch upon five other items that help
to illuminate our reasoning concerning the activities that must have
occurred during the blackout. First, it is clear that Verdi himself was
actively involved with editorial matters during the period of the January
and early February rehearsals. The best evidence comes from Giulio
Ricordis piece of puffery and publicity, Come scrive e come prova Giuseppe Verdi, printed in a Numero speciale della Illustrazione italiana, c. 15 February 1893, that is, about a week before the premiere:

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


Vuolsi una prova dellattivit di Verdi?... Baster dire quale fu il suo lavoro
durante le prove del Falstaff: dalle 9 alle 10 di mattina revisione della
partitura, delle parti, delle riduzioni dalle 12 alle 4 pom. prova in teatro
molte volte dalle 5 alle 6 prova parziale con qualche artista nel salotto
dellHotel Milan dalle 8 alle 11 pomeridiane altre prova in teatro.35

Now, in fact, it is highly unlikely that Verdi did much correction- or

checking-work on the riduzione during the rehearsals. Virtually all of
the labor on the vocal score (96000, 474 pp.) had already been finished: its
first copies had been printed and bound in the first week of January.
(Identical copies of the first edition, which I designate as 960001, still exist
with blind stamps 1/1893, 2/1893, and 3/1893.) A few very few of
Verdis final bozza di stampa corrections in late December (or possibly
January) had been too late for this first edition, but there was an agreement
that they would be silently incorporated into the second. But the main
difference between the second vocal-score edition (960002, 462 pp., blind
stamp 6/1893) and the first was the substitution of the two large Roman
revisions from March-April 1893, considerably after the premiere: the
shortening of the II.2 ensemble and the new conclusion of III.1. Apart
from these there are only a handful of minor differences between the two
editions.36 Thus Verdi did make some revisions at the rehearsals that did
affect the vocal score but not very many, and certainly not enough to
occupy a substantial amount of his time.
And yet the issue is more complicated than this, for it seems clear
that Verdi did use the vocal-score bozza di stampa as his personal score
during the rehearsals, and, from all indications, he did make a few
annotations into it, including the insertion of some eleven slips with performance suggestions.37 (What is unclear is why he would have preferred
to follow the January rehearsals with the proofs instead of with a newly
P. 23. For the dating of the article in early February, see R. BARBIERA, Alla vigilia del
Falstaff, in Lillustrazione italiana, XX/6, 5 February 1893, p. 88. An English
translation of the entire essay may be found in Appendix 1 of Under the eye of the Verdian
bear cit.
In addition to the large Roman revisions (see note 10 above), I have catalogued about
three dozen small differences between 960001 and 960002. Most concern the correction
of misprints, minor changes in articulation (such as the addition of a staccato dot), and
so on. For a few of these variants, the most logical explanation is that Verdi did indeed
alter a passage or two during the January rehearsals. See my discussion of the matter in
The compositional history of Verdis Falstaff cit., pp. 114-163.
Many of these (presumably) January-February entries are mentioned in ibid., pp. 6266. For the eleven performance slips pasted into the proofs, see also Under the eye of the
Verdian bear cit., pp. 155-156.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


bound first edition, which surely would have been available. On the other
hand, the marked proofs were the vocal-score documents with which he
would have been the most familiar). Despite Verdis retention of the bozza di stampa at this time,38 the early twentieth-century contention that it
was during the rehearsals that he made most of his corrections into it has
now been discredited; Verdi worked most actively with these proofs in
November and December 1892. The false claim, however, does help to
confirm the story of an editorially active Verdi during the rehearsals.39
To refine and reaffirm our conclusion regarding the first larger point,
then: although Verdi did do some hands-on work with the vocal score
(including his own copies of the proofs) in early 1893, there is no reason
to believe that this was the principal editorial work with which he was
engaged. It is more likely that, for the most part, Verdi was checking and
correcting some sort of master partitura (probably not the autograph score)
and was also concerning himself with assuring the accuracy of the (now
engraved) orchestral parts. (See Section 4 below.)
The second major point to consider is that despite Verdis persistent
work with the partitura and parti during the first two months of 1893, he
did not carry through his earlier plan of entering into his autograph score
all of the corrections that he had been making into the vocal-score bozza
di stampa in Genoa in November and December 1892. Throughout the
Cf. the little-known story reported in the (often unreliable) Milanese journal, La
sera, 21 February 1893: Giuseppe Verdi, prima di partire per Busseto donde sar di
ritorno domani mand in dono alla signora Ginetta Ricordi lo spartito originale del
Falstaff. If this story is true Ginetta was Giulio Ricordis daughter it may refer to
the vocal-score bozza di stampa, which eventually wound up in the possession of Edoardo
Mascheroni, and thence to the Milan Conservatory. The possible identity of this spartito originale, though, is one of the most tantalizing problems surrounding the Falstaff
sources. Cf. note 39 below.
The claim was part of the generally inaccurate lore surrounding the bozza di stampa,
which belonged to the conductor, Edoardo Mascheroni, before it was presented to the
Milan Conservatory Library. The source of the story may have something to do with
the report in E. SUSMEL , Un secolo di vita teatrale fiumana con uno scritto inedito di Giuseppe Verdi (Fiume, La vedetta dItalia, 1924), p. 23:
Mascheroni dirigeva, Verdi ascoltava. Il vecchio glorioso maestro se ne stava sul palcoscenico, accanto al suggeritore, con sopra un tavolo lo spartito che seguiva attentamente
e commentava e ritoccava tempestandolo di segni, martirizzandolo di note. Si sa che
durante le prove lo spartito [sic] fu quasi completamente ritoccato.
The story was passed on by G. B ARBLAN , Un prezioso spartito del Falstaff, Milano,
Edizioni della Scala, 1957, p. 5; ABBIATI, IV, p. 472-473, and others. For a further tracking
of the story see The compositional history of Verdis Falstaff cit., pp. 62-66, which includes
more evidence regarding the correct dating of Verdis bozza di stampa revisions. Cf. note
38 above.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


last two months of the preceding year, Ricordi, in Milan, had been putting
small marks into the autograph score whenever Verdi sent him vocalscore changes that would affect the larger manuscript.40 But as I observed
in 1979:
Because the proofs might have been saved to facilitate the correction of the
autograph score, it is surprising to discover that many of the bozze corrections
do not appear in it. Nearly three dozen corrections in the proofs changes of
notes or text were included in 960001 [the first vocal score] but were not
changed in the autograph score. During the January 1893 rehearsals, that is,
Verdi emended the autograph score in a very haphazard manner, entering
only some of his proof revisions. The autograph score is therefore not definitive
[with regard to these passages].41

Verdis only partial entering of the bozza di stampa corrections is one

of the central curiosities of the story of the production of the Falstaff
orchestral score. On the one hand, he actually did enter several corrections;
on the other, he did not enter all of them, even though those changes
continued to be transmitted in the existing printed editions. However
this might have happened, it does not suggest a concern to maximize the
accuracy of the autograph score. We shall return to this issue in the course
of the hypothesis presented in Section 4.
The third major point concerns a few glimmers of light surrounding
Verdis editorial activity with regard to his two post-Milanese revisions,
which were first performed together in mid-April in Rome (again, a
shortening of the laundry-basket ensemble in II.2 and a newly written
conclusion to III.1). Both were revisions that had taken Ricordi and Boito
by surprise: Verdi had mailed preliminary versions of the first on 8 and
10 March 1893 (much to Verdis astonishment and Ricordis
embarrassment, Boito had been displeased with the 8 March version) and
the second on 1 April.42 Ricordis correspondence with Verdi throughout
Ricordis marking of the autograph score is mentioned in many of the Verdi-Ricordi
letters from November and December 1892. See The compositional history of Verdis
Falstaff cit., pp. 66-87.
Ibid., p. 87, which also goes on to acknowledge that some but certainly not all of
these corrections might have been considered vocal-score specific. Several individual
examples of problematic passages are provided and discussed on pp. 88-108.
The story of these revisions, along with transcriptions of the relevant correspondence,
may be found in ibid., pp. 115-162. A summary is provided in Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff
cit., pp. 56-76, although this overview does not include literal transcriptions of Ricordis
responses. The main editorial point to be extracted from the story is that Ricordi was
unwilling almost phobically unwilling to make any decisions on his own regarding
the final state of the verbal and musical text of Falstaff: Verdi (in agreement with Boito,
of course) was to be the final judge of all such things.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


all of this displays an abiding concern that the composer be consulted for
checking and approval of all phases of the eventual substitution of the
two passages of new music. New parts for the performers were prepared
in early April, and Verdi seems to have supervised their rehearsal in Genoa
at this time. (The change in the II.2 ensemble may have been first performed
in Genoa, 6-11 April; the second change was not ready for performance
until the opera was first performed in Rome, on 15 April 1893).43
By all standards, the Roman production of Falstaff was to be both a
gala event for Verdi and something of a national musical celebration for
A full account of what we know concerning the preparation of the new parts for the
subsequent tour will have to be deferred to a separate study: it is documented though
fragmentarily by more than a dozen unpublished documents (mostly letters and telegrams to Verdi, Mascheroni, and Luigi Piontelli) preserved in the Casa Ricordi Copialettere.
A selection here, however, can serve to demonstrate Ricordis Milanese activity to prepare
the new music for Rome and the subsequent tour (which, as will be mentioned below,
included performances outside of Italy). Consider, then, the following five telegrams
(the first to Verdi, the remaining four to the conductor Edoardo Mascheroni, then in
Genoa with Verdi) from 6 to 11 April. All are previously unpublished.
[To Verdi, in Genoa]. Parti cantanti ed orchestra squarcio accomodato finale secondo
trovansi colle parti solite. Mascheroni le domandi a Professore Ancomanti.
(6 April, Cop 1892-93, XVIII, p. 258; this Ancomanti perhaps an employee of Casa
Ricordi? was to serve as the official copyist in Genoa for the new musical fragments).
[To Mascheroni]. Per preparare subito parti Vienna occorremi partitura autografa variante Atto terzo. Fare copia per Roma spedendomi sotto fascia raccomandato questa
partitura oltre quella variante finale secondo che ha Maestro.
(9 April, Cop 1892-93, XVIII, p. 353).
The reference to the autograph score here may seem puzzling. Most likely, though, it
refers only to Verdis now-definitive version of the new variants which he may have
been revising or stabilizing once again in Genoa during the period of the rehearsals and
Genoese performances: Thus the reference is probably only to autograph fragments,
not to the full partitura autografa. The precise details of all of this, though, are anything
but clear. (It is unlikely that Verdi actually changed anything in the full autograph score
at this point. He certainly did not insert his Roman revisions into the autograph score
at this time: As will be mentioned below, this was accomplished only in late May 1893,
at SantAgata. Was the full autograph score even in Genoa at this time? I doubt it, but
cf. the reference in a message from Ricordi to Mascheroni, 31 March 1893, to a partitura
to be brought to Genoa: Cop 1892-93, XVIII, p. 105).
To continue, from Ricordi to Mascheroni:
Aspetto notizie inviti per regolarmi partenza. Rammento urgente rispedirmi due brani
partitura autografi per accomodare parti Vienna.
(10 April, Cop 1892-93, XVIII, p. 379).
Ricevute partiture autografe. Spero Ancomanti avr copiato variante partitura atto terzo per Roma. Altrimenti telegrafi per spedirne copia Roma.
(10 April, Cop 1892-93, XVIII, p. 386).
[...] Spero in ordine due varianti per Roma.
(11 April, Cop 1892-93, XVIII, p. 419).

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


Italy. The composer arrived in Rome late in the evening of 13 April and
left on 22 April; amid the numerous festivities and celebrations in his
honor he had also attended two Falstaff performances that included the
new variants.44 It is also clear that he met frequently with Ricordi and
Boito during this Roman visit;45 thus all three had plenty of opportunity
to discuss any editorial matters that seemed relevant at the time (the most
important of which, of course, was the continuing preparation of 96180).
It is even possible that Ricordi may have accompanied Verdi and his wife
back to Genoa and stayed with them c. 22-25 April.46
Most important, however, is the evidence that upon his return to Genoa
the Roman variants now having been by and large stabilized Verdi
seems to have been checking, correcting, or even revising some sort of
master manuscript copy (or set of proofs?) of the revisions. Verdis reference to this in his letter to Ricordi (now in Milan) on 26 April is the only
such remark regarding the full score that exists in the extant
correspondence: Ho corretto, e vi mando. Date unocchiata agli Oboi
che potrebbero anche essere sbagliati.47 Whatever the document was that
Verdi had just corrected, it was not his full autograph score, for on 30
April he wrote again, St bene per i brani a rifare nella partitura originale: ma far a St Agata questo piccolo lavoro.48 In short: Verdi was being
fully consulted during this unsettling and unusually prolonged procedure
of altering passages of the definitive score. Equally important, it certainly
seems that Verdis checking and correction of Ricordis master manuscript
The dates may be determined by reports in La perseveranza. From the issue on 14
April, p. 3, Larrivo di Verdi: Il treno, in cui si trovava il maestro Verdi, giunto alle
ore 11,45 con 28 minuti di ritardo. Cf. Verdis parting telegram to the mayor of Rome
on 22 April, reprinted in the issue of 23 April, p. 2. Various reports in the newspapers
also make it clear that Verdi attended the Falstaff performances of 15 April and 20 April,
both at the Teatro Costanzi.
E.g., from La perseveranza, 15 April 1893, p. 2, in the course of a report on Verdis
day in Rome: Ha fatto colazione alle ore 12, e ad unora accompagnato da Mascheroni
e Giulio Ricordi, and alla prova del Falstaff [...]. inesatto che Boito accompagnasse in
viaggio il maestro. Egli non ancora a Roma; giunger questa sera.
This is suggested by Ricordis brief remark to Verdi in a letter from 26 April 1893:
Appena di ritorno, fui preso da tale una valanga di cose e di noje, che mi fece scontare
ben duramente quei giorni cari e bellissimi passati in loro compagnia!. (I-BSAv,
unpublished; see note 23 above. Ricordi, of course, may also have been referring only to
his encounter with Verdi in Rome).
I-Mr, No. 1112, unpublished. Verdi misdated the letter 27 April 1893; the postmark
reads 26 April.
I-Mr, No. 1113; this passage is omitted in ABBIATI, IV, p. 505.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


copy (or proofs) of the revisions in late April was the central thing; altering
the original autograph score was something that could be delayed until a
month later, when it was more convenient. (This, too, will be revisited in
Section 4 below).
The fourth major point concerns what may seem to be a delay in
producing the first printed orchestral score for rental, 96180. Much of
this is doubtless to be explained by the schedule of the early performances.
In its first presentations at La Scala, Falstaff was given twenty-two times,
from 9 February to 2 April 1893. During this period the proximity of the
conductors score and engraved orchestral parts would doubtless have
been helpful to a Casa Ricordi still planning the official release of a printed
orchestral score. (Verdi himself, we might recall, had left Milan for Genoa
on 2 March). Following the Milanese performances, the cast and La Scala
orchestra took Falstaff on a tour of six cities: Genoa (6-11 April), Rome
(15-25 April though with a newly formed, Roman orchestra), Venice
(2-7 May, again and henceforth with the La Scala Orchestra), Trieste (1116 May), Vienna (21-22 May), and Berlin (1-c. 6 June).
It is possible, then, that an important exemplar from which Casa Ricordi was working in the preparation of the printed orchestral score or
at least some sort of control copy might have been out of the companys
hands during the tour, that is, from early April to early June. In any
event, once the tour was done, more active work on the printed score
must have begun or begun again. On 24 June Ricordi and Tornaghi
were able to announce to Lobel:
En confirmant n[tre] lettre 17 crt. nous prenons la libert di revenir sur le
sujet des partitions dorchestre. Bientt nous aurons prte celle de Falstaff
imprime, et celle de Manon Lescaut autolitographie. Ii nous avons fait
enregistrer les partitions originales pour nous reserver les droits de
reprsentation. Les deux partitions susdites ne portent aucun prix, car nous ne
les mettons pas en commerce et nous nous en servons simplement pour les
thtres. Nous venons vous demander si nous devons egalement vous remettre
les deux exemplaires de chaque partition. Il faut noter quii nous nen ferons
pas le dept, car il ne sagit pas dune publication.
(Cop 1892-93, XXII, p. 491, unpublished).

Work on the printed score was completed in the final days of June. On 1
July 1893 Ricordi and Tornaghi sent the following telegram to Lobel,
notifying him that the printed Falstaff partitura, along with that of Puccinis
Manon Lescaut, which was being simultaneously prepared, had finally been
sent off:

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


Nous avons reu v[tre]. dpche 26 juin ainsi que v[tre]. est[imable].
lettre 23 et 26.
Les partitions Falstaff et Manon ne peuvent pas tre envoyes ni en
sousbande ni en pacquets postaux car elles dpassent le poids tabli. Nous
avons d en faire un petit colis que nous vous avons remis par chemin de fer
grande vitesse franco. Vous nous donnerez dbit des frais de doane etc. Aux
2 exemplaires de chacune des partitions susdites nous avons joint 4 morceaux
piano et chant: Vannuccini Caracciolo Mattei Batson, comme la facture
ci incluse.
Nous attendrons de connatre la date pour lenregistrement soit des
grandes partitions dorchestre Falstaff et Manon, que des 4 morceaux. [...]
(Cop 1893-94; I, pp. 25-26)

As mentioned in yet another letter to Lobel (15 July 1893, Cop 1893-94,
pp. 439-440), the official date of copyright was set at 27 July 1893.49 A
copy was sent to the United States and it was officially registered as deposited in the Library of Congress on 17 August 1893.50 (This Washington
score is now a crucial Falstaff document: see Section 5, No. 1 below).
Finally the fifth item with regard to the schedule and procedures
leading to the release of the printed rental partitura, we need to remember
the Otello precedent, about which we know a bit more than we do about
Falstaff. In all probability, the general procedures established for the former
were continued for the latter, although for Falstaff the whole procedure
seems to have been even more industrialized and efficient. In brief: the
premiere of Otello occurred on 5 February 1887; in this case Ricordi had
the orchestral score quite a novelty for 1887 printed for his firm by
G. Rder in Leipzig (this was apparently not the case with Falstaff, which,
it seems, was printed in Milan);51 Verdi was sent proofs of the orchestral
score from late May onward for his approval; and on 12 October Ricordi
sent Verdi one of the first copies of the printed score, now complete. To
this Verdi responded with his benestare on 16 October 1887: Ho ricevuThe 27 July 1893 date is confirmed in the Ricordi register Procura Stati Uniti: copyright.
See note 15 above.
This information was provided in a letter from Rosemary K. Panzenbeck (Bibliographer,
Reference and Bibliography Section [of the Library of Congress, Copyright Division])
to The University of Chicago Press (Gabriele Dotto) on 1 December 1989.
Casa Ricordis correspondence with G. Rder during 1893 largely concerns that firms
printing of the German vocal score of Falstaff (with Max Kalbecks translation). Nothing
in the Ricordi Copialettere suggests that Rder had anything to do with the printing of
96180. In 1893 this general self-sufficiency and industrial modernization, too, would
have been a point of pride for Ricordi.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


to tutto, e grazie. Bella la partitura stampata. Non manca che qualche

errore per essere una cosa perfetta! Chi sa non ci si riesca a trovarlo.52
What is important here is the evidence of Ricordis consultation with
Verdi at the partitura stage of production at least to the extent agreed
upon as necessary to satisfy the composer. (This had also been the case
with the 1887 disposizione scenica for Otello). 53 Although there is no record of Verdis having examined the proofs for the printed orchestral
score of Falstaff, it is difficult to imagine either that Ricordi would have
passed over this stage of production or that Verdi would have let this
omission occur unnoticed. In sum: All we know is that there was no mention of the partitura proofs in the Verdi-Ricordi correspondence. The
lack of any mention of Verdian proof corrections or final examination of
the printed orchestral score is also something to be revisited in course of
the following hypothesis.
4. Hypothesis.
Considered as a whole, the numerous existing documents are
remarkably consistent with each other, and they drive one toward a general
hypothesis concerning what must been happening between the lines and
in the blackout-gaps. No future edition of Falstaff can do without such a
hypothesis the inductive construction of a web of likely occurrences
and situations that would render the existing evidence comprehensible
and capable of being mutually coordinated. This will be true whether or
not the editor chooses to state the hypothesis openly.
There are at least four requirements for such a hypothesis. First, in its
large contours it must be neither contradicted nor substantially challenged
by any existing document from the period. (That is, it should not be a
strained or merely convenient hypothesis forged to further a pre-established
editorial conviction, set of editorial guidelines, or personal agenda). Second,
it must consciously attempt to bridge the gaps and bring out the tacit
connotations in the available documents. Third, it must be grounded in a
clear understanding of the dynamics of Ricordis business, artistic, and
personal relationship with Verdi and Boito in the period 1889-1894, and
it should be particularly cognizant of the details of Casa Ricordis prior
treatment of the entire Otello project, so far as those details can be known.
Unpublished; the letter is preserved in the library of the Parma Conservatory (Sezione musicale della Biblioteca Palatina). See also my Giuseppe Verdi: Otello cit., p. 76,
which includes a translation of Verdis approval.
J. HEPOKOSKI-M. VIALE FERRERO, Otello di Giuseppe Verdi cit., pp. 10-15.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


And fourth, acknowledging the breaks in the evidential record as breaks

and the fallibility of hypotheses in general, it must be flexibile in regard
to its details and willing to be substantially revised upon the demonstration
of new or overlooked evidence (or, for that matter, upon the demonstration
of a different, more convincing reading of the present evidence).
In overview, my current hypothesis is as follows:
In the socially produced Falstaff project Giulio Ricordi was the person
designated to deal with the practicalities; his responsibility was to mediate and clarify Verdis and Boitos apparent intentions both to future
performers and to a general public, and to do so successfully, consistently,
and profitably. The relationship between Ricordi, Verdi, and Boito was
not hostile; rather it was cooperative, collaborative, and friendly. At no
point can we sense that Verdi was suspicious of the good faith of caro
Giulio, or that he was dissatisfied with the quality of the work being
carried out at Casa Ricordi. In fact, the opposite is true: Ricordi consistently
seems eager (almost overeager) to impress Verdi with the special attention
being lavished on Falstaff; for his part, Verdi seems to have received
Ricordis news-bulletins and day-by-day opinions with deep satisfaction.
As the practical businessman in the Falstaff project, Ricordis first task,
upon receiving Verdis autograph score (August-October 1892), was to
assess the extent of the work to come. Among the first things to notice
would have been the multitude of small inconsistencies in the score that
would need interpretation and standardization. Nor would this have been
surprising: Neither Verdi nor Ricordi would have considered publishing
a full score or set of parts that would be, in essence, a diplomatic
transcription of all of the autograph scores details. Both Verdi and Ricordi took it for granted that the autograph score while a precious document
of fundamental creation, something to be cherished and preserved as a
historical monument was to have the editorial status of an initiator
text, something that was necessary to start the complex set of processes
that would lead to eventual performance and publication; something that
would be editorially reconstructed or translated into an acceptable
commodity in the commercial marketplace.
For Ricordi the Falstaff project was a test of his own firms emergence
into the world of modern industrial technology, as an equal competitor
with (generally more technologically experienced) English, French,
Austrian, and German printing houses. From the beginning his intention

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


was to treat the matter of the Falstaff score in a fully modern way. This
meant not only very rapidly to produce an accurate, attractively formatted
vocal score (whose proofs would be available so quickly that the individual
singers would no longer need to learn their parts from the customarily
extracted, manuscript parti scannate with which Verdi was familiar), 54
but also to prepare both printed orchestral parts for the orchestral
rehearsals and premiere and, at some point close in time to this, a printed
full score, stampato in luogo di manoscritto.
Establishing the verbal text and stage directions to be printed presented
little problem: following the Otello precedent, it would be based on Boitos
final libretto the one reproduced in the printed libretto. (Thus, at
least in principle, all versions of the printed text were to be kept editorially
consistent; the primitive or casually entered text in the autograph was
to be overridden). 55 More problematic were issues of practical and
consistent dynamics, phrasings, and articulations. Consequently, Ricordi, perhaps encouraged by his chief copyist, needed to find a reliable team
of editorial experts in instrumental articulation. The choice of De Angelis
and Magrini was a happy one. Both were prestigious Milanese instrumentalists, performers of high reputation, and both would play important
roles in the La Scala orchestra being assembled for Falstaff. Magrini was to
standardize the cello and bass parts; De Angelis, at least those of the violins
and violas. We do not know who was responsible for the winds. (From
the libroni we learn that Ricordi conceived the parts in five different groups:
Violino I, Violino II, Viola, Violoncello e Basso, and Fiati). It
may be that De Angelis also took on the task of standardizing the wind
parts; or it may be that Ricordi assigned this task to someone else within
Casa Ricordi. In any event, Ricordi must have explained his proposals
along these lines to Verdi in Milan between 13 and 15 October 1892, and
he doubtless obtained the composers approval at this time. Moreover,
Verdi himself might have given Magrini and De Angelis a general set of
verbal guidelines for their revisioni delle parti.
How did De Angelis and Magrini go about their work? Surely it was
not their job literally to sit alongside the autograph score and prepare
At first, Verdi was unaware of this. On 18 November 1892, while correcting the
vocal-score proofs and planning to continue some of the first individual rehearsals, Verdi asked Ricordi to send separate parts to the performers. (This passage is omitted in
ABBIATI, IV, p. 467, in which the letter is also misdated as 1 novembre 1892). Ricordi
responded on 19 November with characteristic news about modern times: Non si
fanno pi cos dette parti scannate: alle prove, mancandone una, si rimaneva imbrogliati
[...] (I-BSAv, unpublished; see note 23 above).
But cf. such exceptions and complications as those mentioned in note 63 below.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


write out on blank staves the manuscript parts for the engravers: this
would be to misuse both their time and their expertise, and Ricordi
employed professional copyists whose work would be clearer. The actual
procedure could have been undertaken in a variety of ways, each of which
would have started with the preparation of an incomplete document by
Ricordis copyists. If we assume that De Angelis and Magrini were working
with individual parts from the start, then we might suppose that Ricordis
employees would have begun by writing out professional copies of the
parts, but with certain details omitted: working from Verdis autograph
score, the copyists could have prepared orchestral parts that included clefs,
bar-lines, key and time signatures, tempo indications, pitches, and rhythms,
but left unentered all of the articulations, dynamics, and phrase indications.
(The surviving Otello documents demonstrate that the preparation of
partial or incomplete copies for the convenience of specially hired experts
may have been a common procedure at Casa Ricordi). 56 Under these
circumstances De Angelis and Magrini each in turn with Verdis
autograph open in front of him, along with the previously copied incomplete parts would have added the standardized material into them, thus
accomplishing the revisioni delle parti. From De Angelis and Magrini
the material would have passed directly to the engravers; and the two
would also doubtless be involved in reading the proofs as well.
But the above procedure, though possible, seems inefficient and
insufficiently coordinated. To what extent, for instance, would De Angelis
(clearly the dominant partner) have known what Magrini had done if
each were working separately? Another possibility (which I find both
preferable and supportable by the date-entries into the libroni, mentioned
in Section 2 above) is that in October Ricordi immediately had a partial
partitura copied from Verdis autograph: a professionally written full score,
only lacking those features that needed to be standardized. If so, De Angelis
and Magrini could have worked directly onto this full orchestral
In the preparation of the vocal score for Otello, the piano reduction was done by
Michele Saladino in September 1886. Act IV of his manuscript copy (with Verdis later
corrections) still exists in I-Mr a very rare document of its kind. It is clear from the
various handwriting styles present in the manuscript that Saladino wrote no more into
it than the piano reduction itself. All of the surrounding material was professionally
copied in advance: the set-up of measures and bar-lines, the stage directions, clefs,
signatures, tempo and metronome indications, and even the vocal lines, with their texts.
For other remarks on Saladinos reduction (which preserves an early version of
Desdemonas Willow Song), see J. HEPOKOSKI, Giuseppe Verdi: Otello cit., pp. 64-67.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


manuscript, a procedure that would have facilitated comparison and

standardization between the individual parts. Subsequently, having their
work transcribed onto a master copy of the parts would have presented
no problem. Further, it may have been Ricordis plan to preserve this
partitura copy or one to be made from it as the Stichvorlage for
96180, and perhaps (if proofs for the orchestral score were not to be
available) even as the copy from which Edoardo Mascheroni would
conduct the opera.
But from what did Mascheroni conduct the rehearsals and premiere?
Since the now-engraved orchestral parts (which still might have been
considered as late proofs) had been revised by De Angelis and Magrini
(and perhaps others), we may assume that Mascheroni had available a full
score whose readings matched those on the desks of the players. Consequently, he did not conduct from the autograph score a preposterous
suggestion in any case, because of the high historical and artistic value
placed on the autograph as a document and also because the autograph
score shows no signs of such use. Therefore he either conducted from a
professionally prepared master copy of the full score, now standardized
(which could also have served as the Stichvorlage), or from printed proofs
for 96180. In either case, it was taken for granted that that from which he
was conducting would represent the new definitive state of the score,
superseding the readings in Verdis autograph unless, of course, the
maestro, upon his arrival in January, would have disapproved of the
partitura work that had been accomplished in Milan in late 1892. (Had
this happened, however, it would have been a scandal of major proportions,
and the premiere would have been delayed for months). It is possible that
Ricordi kept the advanced state of the partitura master copy or the
existence of actual printed proofs for 96180 a secret from Verdi in late
1892, the better to surprise him in early January. (This also might help to
account for his virtual silence regarding the preparation of the partitura
in November and December 1892, a period in which, it seems, the editor
leaves no other stone unturned or unexplained in the letters. This
possibility seems characteristically Ricordian).
During late 1892 it is clear that Verdi intended to correct his own
original manuscript (by including the vocal-score bozze corrections) in
Milan in January. This may not have been for editorial reasons, but rather
for reasons of keeping the historical document generally accurate. Arriving
in January, what Verdi must have found was a beautifully prepared master

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


copy (or set of proofs) of the Falstaff partitura this may have been
identical with the practical copy for Mascheroni.
Still, old habits die hard. In Milan, at various intervals here and there,
Verdi began to emend his autograph score at the points previously marked
by Ricordi. Thus he entered many of the bozza di stampa corrections into
the autograph at this time. At a certain point, though ever pressed for
time he began to realize that in the modern world of publishing and
commerce this was an inessential task, that the editorial autograph score
had been overridden long before, that fussily to enter small changes into
it no longer served any practical purpose. He also knew that further
refinements of dynamics, articulation, and the like were being made daily
during the rehearsals, and that he himself was supervising their entry not
into the autograph but into the master copy of the orchestral score.
Quite simply, the autograph score was in no sense an active score when
Verdi saw it again in January and February 1893. As a consequence, he
abandoned work on it. It was now obsolete. And, in a de facto sense, it
had been obsolete for a month or more. This helps us to understand why
several of the vocal-score bozze corrections were never entered into the
autograph. At least from this point onward Verdi came to realize the
autograph score was no longer editorially significant. It had fulfilled its
role as an initiator text, and any future editorial decisions (apart, perhaps,
from the rechecking of what seemed to be obvious slips or printing errors)
would have to be appealed to a different, more current document.
Verdis shift of attention in January 1893 from the autograph score to
the now-lost orchestral score master copy whether a conductors copy,
a perhaps separate Stichvorlage, or a set of proofs is the most important
feature of his interaction with what would become 96180, the eventually
printed orchestral score. In January he had his first chance to see and hear
the results of De Angeliss and Magrinis revisioni delle parti. Clearly,
as the unquestioned summus judex57 he approved the bulk of their work at
that time. What he questioned or decided to change could easily have
been altered in the master copy, either at the rehearsals (where emendations
could have also have been entered into all of the parts) or privately (?)
from 9:00 to 10:30 daily, if Ricordis report in the Illustrazione italiana
is to be taken literally.
The term is Ricordis from 1887, and it refers to Verdis role in giving the final approval
to the wording of the disposizione scenica of Otello. See J. HEPOKOSKI-M. VIALE FERRERO,
Otello di Giuseppe Verdi cit., p. 11.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


As an elementary example: in the fifth bar of Falstaff (I.1), a set of

alternating staccato eighth notes, the autograph score lacks any indication
of a crescendo (fol. 1v), as does the first edition of the vocal score, 960001
(which, we recall, was completely prepared by the first days of January
1893 before the rehearsals). 96180, however, prints the word cres. in
the middle of the bar, clearly intended for all of the instruments, although
it is literally printed only under the oboes, horns, first violins, and cellos.
The master copy of the full score that Verdi first saw in January probably
lacked this indication as well: since it is a clearly interpretive remark that
goes well beyond what one finds in the autograph score, it seems unlikely
(though it is remotely possible) that either De Angelis or Magrini was
responsible for it. More likely, it was something requested by Verdi during
the rehearsals (or suggested by Mascheroni and approved by Verdi) and
subsequently entered into the master copy. This type of change, probably
directly initiated or individually sanctioned by Verdi during the rehearsals,
is a quite different matter from the (recently much-discussed) standardized
articulation and dynamics of the first bars of the opera, which were
certainly the work of De Angelis and Magrini. Despite their probable
different manners and times of origin, it seems clear that both types of
differences from the autograph score received Verdis approval. There is
every reason to believe that Verdi, Ricordi, and Boito, would all have
agreed indeed, considered self-evident that the editorial authority in
both cases (and with the thousands of parallel cases in the Falstaff score)
lies with 96180, not with the autograph score. They seem never to have
envisioned that a skeptical editor from a century later and from a very
different musical culture might second-guess what they doubtless
regarded as business as usual.
By the time of the first performances the master copy had been
significantly annotated and corrected. Whether Ricordi retained a duplicate is not known nor do we know whether Verdi took yet another
copy along with him when he left Milan in early March (although this
seems unlikely). If the conductors copy alone was the master copy, then,
as I have mentioned in Section 3, because of the tour it would have been
unavailable to the workers in Casa Ricordi until the second week of June,
only a few weeks before the editor sent off copies of 96180 to Lobel. But
obviously, 96180 could not have been engraved and proofread in a few
weeks. The conductors copy could only have been the sole master copy
if it were a set of proofs: altering these in early summer on the basis of the
early performances would have been a simple matter.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


It is also possible (and, I think, more likely) that Ricordi kept a different
set of master proofs (or master manuscript scores) in Milan, or that if
the performances had been conducted from a manuscript score the
engraving in one way or another had been well underway during the
period of the tour. We have already seen that Verdi was asked to check
and correct some sort of official document concerning the new Roman
revisions (proofs? manuscript copies?) in late April 1893, after the Roman
performances, but still during the period in which the opera was on tour.
In any event, whatever the possible combinations of master manuscripts
and proofs, it is most convenient to suppose that at least some of the fullscore proofs had been printed by January, and most of them by February.
Above all, the early existence of orchestral-score proofs in Milan would
explain why we have no record of Verdi having intersected with the
partitura proofs or pronounced on the overall quality of 96180 apart,
perhaps, from that late letter of 26 April 1893.58
Did Verdis two revisions for Rome significantly delay the completion
of 96180? I doubt it, but the whole issue depends on the schedule of
engraving at Casa Ricordi, which is no longer reconstructible. In any
case, this is a minor detail, once the central question regarding the general
editorial authority of 96180 has been answered. What is curious, though,
is that once having made the Roman revisions and having corrected, it
seems, an official control copy of them at the end of April Verdi insisted
on having portions of his autograph score sent back to him in May so that
he could remove the original pages and substitute new ones. This, even
though he was perfectly aware of the original scores editorial obsolescence
though not, of course, the obsolescence of his final thoughts with regard
to his new revisions. Still, the original score was an artifact, and, probably
for personal reasons (in hopes of fully suppressing the original passages?),
he wanted it to contain the new, not the old versions. He sent the relevant
fascicles of the autograph score back to Ricordi on 23 May 1893 Vho
mandato stamattina le ultime note del Falstaff! Pace allanima sua!!.59
If Verdi did not see any type of proofs in January or February or in mid-April (in
Rome) we might observe that Verdi and Ricordi also met (briefly?) in Milan later
June 1893 exactly at the time when the Falstaff printed partitura was being finished.
Verdi and his wife stopped in Milan on their way to Montecatini. Such may be inferred
from Verdi to Ricordi, 18 June 1893 (Alla fine della settimana saremo a Milano [...] IMr, unpublished) and Ricordi to Verdi, 20 June 1893 : [Music from Falstaff: Che
gioia, che gioia...] dunque fra breve avremo il piacere di vederli! Evviva, Evviva, evviva!. (I-BSAv, unpublished; see note 23 above). It is unclear how long Verdi stayed in
Milan at this time.
Reprinted in ABBIATI, IV, p. 509.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


Ricevetti i brani partitura del Falstaff, wrote Ricordi back to Verdi

on 27 May. Ahim!.. che peccato non vi sia pi lavoro a farvi collandirivieni di riduzioni, di bozze... e poi, e poi! Insomma, ripeto: che peccato!
Non si potrebbe ricominciare da capo?....60 Should Ricordis letter be taken
to imply, then, that his firm had even completed the work on this new
music? Probably yes, but although Ricordi might have needed to see Verdis
last word on the new revision, it apparently had not been he who had
asked him to include it in the original autograph score; this feature seems
to have been accomplished on the composers personal initiative. But the
five Parisian revisions made in late 1893 and (especially) early 1894 of
which two were quite notable, however brief would be dealt with
differently: Verdi would never trouble himself to enter these into his autograph score. Particularly because of Ricordis erratic record of printing
them, there still remains a question about how definitively he meant all of
them (see Section 5, No. 4 below). That the composer never happened to
enter them into the autograph score, however, should not be taken as conclusive evidence governing our current editorial assessment of them.
Thus the hypothesis. And from it, direct conclusions can, and must,
be drawn. The most basic of them is this: The autograph score of Falstaff
is indeed a precious historical document. It is of great interest to historians
and to all admirers of the opera who might wish to venerate the hand of
the vecchio maestro in the act of creation. But it is no longer of significant
editorial interest. In terms of authority, it preserves an older, essentially
abandoned state of the verbal and musical text, and, for all practical
purposes, present-day performers, qua performers, need not be concerned
with it. In nearly all cases, readings in the autograph score should not be
permitted to override those in the more reliable early printed sources. In
general, it is the autograph score that should be overriden.
5. Epilogue: four recommendations.
1. The principal source for a new orchestral score of Falstaff should
be the earliest known printed copy of the rental partitura, plate number
96180, originally published in three volumes. Since Casa Ricordi reprinted
this score on a few different (undatable) occasions after late June and early
July 1893 (perhaps with alterations, and with the intent of replacing earlier
scores either lost or no longer practically usable), consulting the plate

I-BSAv, unpublished. See note 23 above.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


number alone is not sufficient to establish any given printed score as a

certifiably early source. The only existing orchestral score whose 1893,
first-run printing is absolutely verifiable is that deposited in the Library
of Congress, Washington, D.C. Consequently, this copy should serve as
the principal source.61
The main goal of the new edition should be to restore the availability
of this earliest, socially authoritative printed source, which has not been
in general circulation since the in-house editorial revision of the opera in
the middle of this century (see No. 3 below). As should be obvious,
however, merely to reproduce the early printed partitura, 96180, would
not in itself produce a critical edition, particularly since it should also be
one of the aims of such an edition to serve as a gateway into optional
variant readings and, as I suggest in No. 3 below, into some of the standard
interpretations within the Falstaff tradition. Moreover, 96180 is by no
means flawless, and there is much in it to correct, augment, challenge,
and explain: this includes, for example, the problem of the occasional
horizontal stratification of dynamics, phrasings, and articulations, the result
of De Angeliss and Magrinis having divided the editorial work on the
string parts.62 Most of the editors work will be spent in identifying the
There exists one other copy whose musical and textual readings, so far as I have been
able to ascertain, are absolutely identical with those in the Library of Congress score.
This three-volume partitura, located in I-Mr, appears to have been used at La Scala, and
it bears the following marks of identification on the first page: a large, stamped 3 in
the upper left corner, along with a stamp below this that reads STAG. T. SCALA /
Anno 1949=50 / 3688.
The actual comparison between the readings of the Library of Congress score and the
La Scala score was done by myself and by a research assistant, Gail Heilman, in 1990.
In particular, I had isolated a few dozen crucial check-points small aspects that had
been altered in demonstrably later runs of 96180 and the two scores were first compared
with regard to these. Beyond this, dozens of pages were compared, note for note. In all
cases the musical and verbal texts of the two scores were identical. In Heilmans report
to me (June 1990), she wrote: There are only two definite differences between the two
[printed scores], [neither] of which ... concern the music. First, the LC score contains no
copyright marking on page 1. [...] Second, the engraved number 14 appears frequently
on the bottom right corner of [several] pages in the LC score; no such numbers occur in
[the La Scala score]. Aside from these differences, the music, stage directions, and text
seem to be identical in the two scores. [They even share] obvious engraver errors. [...]
For example, on page 345 [...] the engraver notated all [of the] strings in [the] bass clef.
[...] Also, subtle errors, such as a missing dot in a staccato sixteenth-note passage, occur
in both scores. [...] I am certain after examining these two scores that they are identical.
The issue of the potential for occasional horizontal stratification of dynamics, phrasing,
and articulation (rather than complete vertical consistency) is something that must have
been obvious to Ricordi, Verdi, De Angelis, Magrini, and the chief copyist alike in late
1892 and 1893. It can not have been considered a major problem, nor do I think that it
should be regarded as one today. Consequently, as a general rule I would not favor

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


passages that need special attention and then justifying that attention in
the critical commentary.
As a general rule, apart from the rectification of manifest engravers
errors, misunderstandings, or other unusual features for which clear and
altering the articulations of 96180 to provide a predictable vertical agreement among all
of the relevant parts. Indeed, this quirk might be an intentional feature of Italian
editorial/performance practice of the late nineteenth century, and, in any case, it surely
does not present any significant problem for modern performers to leave such things
Still, the occasional horizontal stratification can present some sticky problems for the
editor. One such problem may be found in the last two beats of m. 23 of 96180 (p. 4),
which contain four eighth notes on a repeated pitch in many of the parts. In the violins
and violas (De Angelis) these are marked with staccato dots; in the cellos (Magrini) one
finds four accents. (For the record: the oboes and clarinets also carry staccatos; contrarily,
the voice part, Cajus, Vobbligher, and the bassoon have accents). Should all of the
parts carry the same articulation (vertical standardization)? And, if so, are our choices
limited to either all accents or all staccatos? First, it seems to me that we need not
standardize the parts vertically here: in itself, horizontal stratification should not be
considered a defect in need of a remedy, and we may well choose to leave this passage
alone. Still, we should be aware that some Ricordi scores printed later in the twentieth
century did standardize this passage, perhaps (though only perhaps) following an existing
performance tradition. (See Recommendation No. 3 below). In the Tenaglia-edited 96180
scores, for example (and other late scores come up with different solutions), the passage
is vertically standardized in such a way that all of the instrumental parts carry both
accents and staccatos. (Raffaele Tenaglia who was responsible for it, was employed by
Ricordi from 1913 till 1962, where he was in charge of musical editions). Adopting this
solution is certainly defensible, though opinions might differ on its desirability. But in
any event, any new edition must distinguish those marks not found in the principal
source, the first 96180.
Moreover, I should add since the point is sure to come up that Verdis autograph
score (fol. 3v) contains clearly written accents in the second violins, bassoon, voice, and
cellos; staccatos in the oboes and clarinets; and both staccatos and accents, doubly marked,
in the first violins, at the top of the page the violas are unmarked. But my argument
will consistently be that the autograph score should not be regarded as definitive in such
matters: as suggested above, we might wish to indicate the possibility of accents in the
upper strings in main text of the critical edition, but our reasoning should not rest on a
belief in the definitiveness of Verdis manuscript score with regard to marked articulations.
Consider: As De Angelis prepared the articulations of the violin and viola parts, he
obviously saw these accents and may even have transcribed them as such. Yet by the
time of 96180 which, as we have seen, must have been based on some sort of master
copy of the score present at the rehearsals they were printed as staccatos. Two
possibilities emerge: either De Angelis simply made a mistake and wrote in staccatos
instead of accents (or decided, for whatever reason, to suppress the staccatos in favor of
the accents) and nobody noticed any of this throughout the rehearsals and performances;
or, at some point, probably during the rehearsals, the original upper-string accents were
changed to staccatos. Either could have occurred; I believe, though, that the latter
possibility is more likely. What the autograph score does tell us, though, is the general
character of the passage originally with accents in most of the strings and, especially
since the accents were later restored in the performance tradition, an explanation of
some sort, probably with the accents presented as alternatives, needs to be provided.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


convincing explanations can be suggested, no reading of 96180 should be

altered in the direction of one in the autograph score.63 Nor should the
new edition indicate by means of special brackets, italics, broken lines, or
symbols of any kind where it deviates from the autograph score: this
would be clutter, not helpful information. (The edition, however, will
have to take into consideration the three versions of Falstaff sanctioned
by Verdi: see No. 4 below).
One particularly important part of the editorial work would be to
check every aspect of 96180 against the first and second editions of the
vocal score (96000: first edition, January-March 1893, 474 pp.; second
edition, June 1893, 462 pages this latter was intended to be the vocalscore equivalent of 96180, though in reality there are differences between
them). 64 The vocal score may be the one that Verdi proofread most
diligently, and as such it is of special interest in editorial matters that are
not self-evidently piano- or reduction-specific. The central problem,
however, is that Casa Ricordi seemed to consider the preparation and
publication of 96000 and 96180 as two separate things moving along
A simple textual problem can illustrate the point. In the autograph score, mm. 27-28
(fol. 4-4v), Falstaff sings, Ho fatto quel chhai detto; in the first edition of the libretto
one reads, Ho fatto ci che hai detto; in 960001-2 and in the principal source, 96180,
the reading is, Ho fatto ci chhai detto. I favor retaining this last reading. First, with
regard to the quel/ci matter: In this case the autograph score reading does not agree
with Boitos original manuscript libretto, which also contains the word, ci Verdis
quel might have been a simple inaccuracy, or a momentary revision that was later
overridden. The word quel should be discussed in the critical commentary, of course,
but it should not be presented as a legitimate alternative for modern performance. It is
not an editorially authoritative reading, and under no circumstances should it be restored
in a new edition. (True, the quel reading is the text actually set [in the autograph] by
Verdi as he composed the work and as such it is has the status of text that the current
guidelines for the new edition have generally preferred for the earlier operas [Statement
of editorial principles, p. 28], but in this case a knowledge of the history of the Falstaff
project makes it clear that this reading should be overridden).
With regard to the issue of elision, the retention of chhai as opposed to the printed
librettos che hai, our reasoning is different. This is an instance in which all of the
printed vocal and orchestral scores agree in incorporating and retaining a minor difference
from the printed libretto. (We may note the autograph scores agreement in chhai, of
course, but by itself this is not a compelling piece of evidence). Chhai is surely the
way that Verdi, Boito, and Ricordi heard the line sung, and in this case, I think, the
preponderance of the evidence in the published scores argues that the reading in the
printed libretto should not override that in the printed scores. The che hai reading,
though, should be noted in the critical commentary.
Equally significant, of course, is the first printed edition of the libretto, plate number
96001, the control of whose text was supervised with Verdis knowledge and approval
by Boito. Cf. notes 63 and 65.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


two largely separate publishing tracks and though they are very similar,
the two scores were never completely squared one with another. (This
multiple-track situation, in which each type of edition has its own history
apart from the others, is even more characteristic of the later, twentiethcentury publications of the opera).
Thus 96000 1 and 960002 sometimes provide alternative legitimate
readings that need to be indicated in the 96180-based critical edition. (It
goes without saying that any addition or alteration to the principal source
would need to be identified as such.) An elementary example: In mm. 5-7
of the opera, 96180 lacks the stage directions included in the vocal score,
960001-2 (Falstaff occupato a riscaldare la cera di due lettere alla fiamma
della candela, poi le suggella con un anello. Dopo averle suggellate spegne
il lume e si mette a bere comodamente sdraiato sul seggiolone).65 These
should be included into the new edition, using appropriate methods to
signal that they are additions to 96180. But this is an unusually clear case,
and things are not always so simple: The occasional disagreements
regarding such things as pitch, registers, and the like present special complications, and each must be thought through on an individual basis.
2. There is no need to clog the critical commentary with constant
references to different autograph-score readings, particularly those that
concern phrasing, dynamics, and articulation. For the most part, it is
doubtful that anybody would or should be concerned with such
listings. Although there are certainly a number of occasions where an
appeal to the autograph score can help ones reasoning with regard to a
curious problem in 96180,66 the guiding principle here would be (once the
basic issue has been explained in an introduction) to keep such criticalcommentary references to a minimum. Not to do so would bury more
significant information in a flurry of meaningless data.
However this matter is handled, sheer practicality suggests that
references to the autograph score should be restricted to pointing out
There are actually two authoritative sources for these stage directions, the other
being the first printed edition of the libretto, which sometimes differs in small details
from the published scores (see note 63 above). In this case, the generally similar stage
directions in the autograph score (fol. 1v) are historically interesting but carry no editorial
weight: Falstaff occupato a riscaldare la cera di due lettere alla fiamma della candela,
poi le suggella con unanello. Verdis text here represents a condensed, intermediate
stage between the readings of Boitos manuscript libretto and the eventually printed
version of the text. A reference to autograph-score stage directions, however, should be
placed in the critical commentary, particularly since an alteration would have been
made at this point in the principal source. But cf. the general remarks regarding the
critical commentary in Recommendation No. 2.
Cf. the problem with articulations in m. 23, discussed in note 62 above.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


at most differences in notes, text, or stage directions and, perhaps, to

noting a few spectacular differences in the conception of an entire passage.
(One such passage is the three-measure first-violin run in sixteenth notes
immediately preceding the onset of Falstaffs Trill Monologue in III.1,
Ehi! Taverniere! This appears predominantly slurred, mostly in fournote groups, in the autograph score [fol. 265v]; it appears unslurred, with
staccatos over each sixteenth note, in the printed edition [p. 322]).67 In
each spectacular case, though particularly given the quite different
guidelines and practices of the other volumes in the Verdi edition the
sense of the critical-commentary entry should normally be understood to
mean: The autograph score contains the following (erroneous/early/
later-revised) reading; or the autograph score contains the following
reading, which was apparently altered, with Verdis approval, in the weeks
preceding the first performance; and so on. In some instances, the editor
will be able to explain why the autograph score preserves an early, discarded
reading (for example, its occasional outdated preservation of text or stage
directions from Boitos original autograph libretto) or to date precisely
when Verdi abandoned or altered the autograph reading (for example,
while correcting the bozza di stampa).
3. On the other hand, any critical commentary that aims to be truly
useful would be well advised to be attentive to the various changes, variants,
and nuances preserved in the subsequent printing history of the opera
and in certain early or key recordings of the work or excerpts there of.
Although it is true that Casa Ricordis later (often editorially retouched)
Obviously, the critical edition should follow the staccato reading (De Angeliss?) in
96180. The passages later reappearance, after the words, Ho dei peli grigi, fols. 272v273, p. 329, presents only a slight complication. In both the autograph score and 96180
this second passage is marked come prima and bears no further articulation marks
neither slurs nor staccatos. (The same reading was carried into the first printed study
score, 113953, from 1912 p. 318). Thus it is clear, even if not explicitly indicated
notationally, that the articulation of the second run is to be identical with that of the
first. (The edition of 96180 currently available from Casa Ricordi the product of a
mid-century editing, apparently done by Raffaele Tenaglia [see Recommendation No. 3
below] finally adds the staccato dots over the notes of the second run. Likewise, they
should be added to the new critical edition, but designated as additions that, strictly
considered, are not found in the principal source, the first edition of 96180).
It is worth noting further that the 96000 vocal-score tradition agrees with the autograph
score in carrying the slurred reading (960001, pp. 304, 310). But this is precisely what we
would have expected. Carignanis reduction predates De Angeliss intervention and the
subsequent rehearsals, and, moreover, the vocal-score editing was carried out on a separate editorial track from that of the orchestral score. (See Recommendation No. 1 above).
This is an instance where the reading of 96000 1-2, clearly, should not override that of
96180. And this is precisely the sort of problem that needs to be unraveled in the critical

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


orchestral and vocal scores cannot be accorded the status of the principal
source, it has been generally agreed that they do preserve a record of
subsequent accretions that shed light on the twentieth-century performance tradition of Falstaff, particularly in and around Italy. While todays
conductors do not need to be concerned practically with what the
autograph of Falstaff says, it strikes me that to know something of what
the performance tradition has actually done with the work especially
in the first half of the twentieth century would be of exceeding interest.
The Falstaff tradition also belongs to that thing, or work, that we call
Falstaff: the opera is, at least in part, the history of its transactions with
real musicians and real audiences. The earlier twentieth-century performance tradition may not possess equal authority with an early document
that we choose to designate as a principal source for a critical edition, but
it does possess a social and cultural authority of its own that it is both
unwise and insensitive either to ignore or to denigrate.
With regard to notational issues, then, it is easy to imagine that certain
markings printed in some of the important later scores could be added to
the reading given in the principal source as suggestions from the subsequent
tradition. All of these should be identified, of course, with brackets, italics,
small type, or whatever was deemed appropriate to distinguish them from
primary-source readings. In any event, for a performer or, in fact, for a
scholar none of this should be negligible information.
With regard to Casa Ricordis later printed partiture, however, one
should be aware that they proceeded in two, largely non-intersecting
editorial tracks, which may be differentiated as the rental track and the
study-score track. The rental-track scores all carry the plate number 96180,
and they stretch from 1893 to the present day: they are nearly always
difficult to date confidently. So far as I can tell, this edition was reprinted
many times, unaltered, in the first decades of this century, although most
copies were soon peppered with handwritten marks testifying to their
practical use in European theaters. At least by 1938 or perhaps a few
years before new copies of 96180 were printed that included a
permanently changed pp. 393-96, on which one now found Verdis 1894
Inoltriam revision (which added some dialogue and changed the stage
directions), a revision that had by this time apparently become commonly
accepted, and for which Casa Ricordi had sometime earlier printed a separate bifolio that had been taped into certain scores (see No. 4 below).
Sometime following this, however the mid-century date is uncertain
Casa Ricordi had 96180 submitted to a thorough editorial revision. It
appears that this work was largely carried out by Raffaele Tenaglia. The
new 96180 the one still available for rental contains many
corrections and changes, especially in dynamics, phrasings, and articula-

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


tions. As part of his editing-work, Tenaglia probably carried over into

the new 96180 many of the pencilled remarks from the performance
tradition that he was finding in the well-worn old copies of 96180 at
Casa Ricordi. But it is this mid-century editorial treatment that a current
critical edition will want either in large part to strip away or at least to
separate out clearly as accretions quite removed in time from Verdi and
his immediate circle.
The study-score track began in 1912, the date of Giulio Ricordis death,
at a time when the publishing house was beginning to print a number of
smaller-format Verdian orchestral scores for sale to the general public.
These were new editions, not reprints, and they had to be prepared from
the ground-floor up. The Falstaff study score, 113953, was clearly based
on one or more copies of 96180, but it silently included a scattering of
editorial changes and corrections: some of these, too, doubtless stem back
to handwritten marks entered into certain key copies of 96180. This first
layer of editorial emendations in 113953, though relatively modest in
number, is of considerable interest in reflecting some of the earliest
performing experiences with the opera. Once printed, 113953 took on an
editorial identity all its own. All subsequent study scores marketed for
public sale were based on 113953, and not, it seems, on 96180: these include the more substantially edited, mid-century Ripristino edition and
the later, still purchasable P.R. 154.
4. Any critical edition of Falstaff will have to make available for performance all of the variant material for the three versions of the opera
supervised by Verdi: that of the Milanese premiere (9 February 1893), the
first Roman performances (15-25 April 1893, incorporating two substantial
revisions, and the first Parisian performances (beginning 18 April 1894,
in French, with five revisions concerning vocal lines, text, and stage
directions, but not instrumental parts). I have dealt at length with these
revisions elsewhere, but for our purposes the crux of the issue is this: we
know that Verdi wished to suppress the portions of the Milanese version
that he revised for Rome (at the time of this writing they are recoverable
only in the first edition of the vocal score, 960001), but it is unclear to
what degree he considered the Parisian revisions to be either authoritative
options or definitive changes for all future performances. (Ricordis
publishing record on this was erratic, and most twentieth-century
performances have mixed in only the first three of the Parisian revisions).68
The main problem, then, is to determine which version (or mixture
thereof) to print in the main body of the new edition and which variants
to consign to an appendix. Most observers would agree, I think, that the

See note 10 above.

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


suppressed Milanese variants belong in an appendix (and unless Verdis

original score pages for them turn up, they will have to appear in an
orchestration by someone else).69 This reduces the problem to Rome or
Paris, but deciding between them is not easy. The principal source, 96180,
completed by 1 July 1893, transmits the Roman reading only. Still, some
existing old copies of 96180 in the Ricordi Archives include handwritten
additions of some of the 1894 changes especially, but not exclusively,
those associated with the added Inoltriam dialogue and stage directions
in III.2 and Ricordi did print an Italian vocal score in 1897 that included
all five of the Parisian variants.70 Later versions of all of the scores, though,
tended to accept only some of them, and the differing treatments of these
passages in the twentieth century seem to follow no clear principle.
Moreover, at some point between 1894 and, it seems, 1938, Casa Ricordi
did print a separate, orchestral-score bifolio with the complete Inoltriam
revision (pp. 393-96, the third only of the five Parisian revisions), and this
was taped into a few relatively early rental editions of 96180.71
This entire question is complex, and the full evidence and argumentation
needs to be laid out in a separate essay. For the present, my conclusions
are these. We cannot know the degree to which Verdi considered the
Parisian variants binding, or even desirable, for future Italian
performances.72 Equally cogent arguments can be made on behalf of either
In fact, I have already prepared such an orchestration, and the music of the Milanese
Falstaff was performed at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, 17-20 November
In I-Mr the old 96180 copies with handwritten alterations of all or most of the
Parisian variants include one with French text on small slips pasted over the Italian (the
score is identified with a typewritten, TESTO FRANCESE su Collette). A few other,
similar copies, only with Slavic and Hungarian handwritten texts, not collette, are
also preserved in the archive.
All five Parisian variants were first printed in the second issue of the French vocal score,
96413, 422 pp., blind stamps 3 and (more commonly) 4/1894. An earlier issue, prepared
before Verdi had decided to make any of the revisions in III.2, is identifiable through its
1/1894 blind stamp. This earlier issue, therefore, lacks the three larger revisions the
Inoltriam complex, the textually reduced Litany, and the altered text in the Wedding
Minuet. Casa Ricordi included all five variants in only one printing of the Italian vocal
score, copies of which are now quite rare: the Edizione Unica of September 1897, 459
pp. (which I designate as 960003). See The compositional history of Verdis Falstaff cit.,
pp. 164-207.
The earliest edition in which the Inoltriam dialogue is actually bound directly into
the volume as part of a normal gathering of pagesas opposed to being taped in or
separately inserted in one way or another is one identified in I-Mr as Copy 36, a
score whose initial gatherings for each act carry the blind stamp, 5/1938.
When Verdi first received the new Inoltriam text from Boito though in French
(Par ici) his thought, clearly, was that this would probably be a definitive revision
for all future performances. Thus he responded to Boito on 19 January 1894: Parmi
andranno benissimo quei pochi versi in francese. Traduceteli ora in italiano, senza, ben
inteso, aggiungere nulla etc etc. (Carteggio Verdi-Boito cit., I, p. 223).

Hepokoski, Overriding the autograph score


the Roman or the Parisian version. The central problem, though, is the
seemingly natural assumption that in order to keep intact a given historical
performance under Verdis supervision, the editions main text should
either accept or reject the five Parisian variants en bloc: two of them are
virtually insignificant (two tiny pitch changes in individual vocal parts in
II.2), but the three in III.2 are very audible and make quite a difference.
But there are complicating factors: first, one suspects that it would be
generally agreed that the first large Parisian revision (the Inoltriam
modification, for which, certainly, the strongest case for Verdis wish to
have it interpolated into Italian performances can be made)73 is something
that we would be eager to retain, but that the last two (the removal of
some of the vocal entrances during the III.2 Litany and the shortened text
above the Wedding Minuet) would be accepted, if it all, only with regret,
for they represent sonorous losses, not gains, of some clever and elegant
things; second, probably for that reason those last two Parisian variants
never survived into any meaningful twentieth-century tradition.
But are we so certain that Verdi would have insisted that we must
choose all five variants or none at all? In fact, to choose either the Roman
version intact or the Parisian version intact is no less arbitrary
than to sanction the twentieth-century practice of mixing them. Definitive evidence is lacking that would allow us either to accept or to reject
with confidence any of the three positions: Rome, Paris, or a mixture.
Given such a case, my instincts (along with my preferences) are now to
reaffirm the Falstaff that twentieth-century performers and audiences have
known for decades: this, too, is a form of legitimate social authority
that has been central to defining what this opera is or has become. In
short, in the main text of the edition, I would recommend changing the
readings of the Roman 96180 in Parisian directions only for the two tiny
modifications in II.2 and the larger Inoltriam revision in III.2.74 The last
two Parisian revisions (in the III.2 Litany and Minuet), along with what
was altered in the Roman version to include the Inoltriam material,
should be relegated to an appendix.
Still, this was only Verdis first thought, and there is no record of his views on the
matter in the period during or after the first French performances. Moreover, this remark
certainly still remarkably persuasive concerns only the Inoltriam revision complex,
and not those textual changes subsequently made in the III.2 Litany and Wedding Minuet.
See note 72 above.
The two small modifications can be handled as legitimate alternatives, perhaps, on the
relevant pages of the main text. Cf., again, note 72 above for further support for the
proposition of treating the Inoltriam complex different from the other two large
Parisian variants.


A Donizetti Critical Edition in the Postmodern World

THOMASINA: If you could stop every atom in its position
and direction, and if your mind could comprehend all the
actions thus suspended, then if you were really, really good
at algebra you could write the formula for all the future;
and though nobody can be so clever to do it, the formula
must exist just as if one could.
Tom Stoppard, Arcadia, 1, 1

Confronted with a title such as the one above, particularly if (as was
originally the case) it is shorn of its last four words, an author may be
forgiven for bringing to mind, rather than Thomasinas Newtonian
fantasy, Piero Reboras opening words in Cassells famous Italian-English
Dictionary.1 After placing as his epigraph Montaignes La pluspart des
occasions des troubles du monde sont grammairiennes, he begins his
Preface with an awesomely self-effacing paragraph:
The Preface to a dictionary must be the least likely of all human utterances to
awaken interest, yet it is the only means by which the lexicographer can introduce himself and explain the lines upon which he has done his work. Every
other author, says Dr. Johnson, may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can
only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been granted
to very few. 2

I have news for both Dr. Johnson and- Mr. Rebora: editors of critical
editions will surely vie with the lexicographer in their expectations of
Although this article is signed by me alone, at many points the issues I discuss took
first shape during exchanges between myself and my friend and colleague Gabriele Dotto, who has from the start shared with me the job of coordinating editor of the Donizetti
Edition. As many will know, an edition such as this is by its very nature profoundly
collaborative, and I should like immediately to thank Dotto, the editorial and advisory
boards, and the various individual editors, both for their help and for their intellectual
generosity. In thinking about the latter sections of this essay, I should acknowledge a
debt to Thomas Baumans Requiem, but No Piece, 19th-Century Music XV, 2 (1991),
pp. 151-61,
Cassells Italian-English / English-Italian Dictionary, prepared by Piero Rebora, 7th ed.
(London, 1967), p. V.

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world


negative recompense; and when it comes to the human utterance stakes,

attempts to introduce critical editions and defend their criteria may, in
many peoples minds, easily fall behind even the most pedestrian of
dictionary prefaces.
However, a critical edition of at least some of Donizettis works is
under way, and in the present context it would be both discourteous and
foolhardy not to offer at least a brief report on the progress of the project.
The edition is published by Casa Ricordi with the invaluable support and
assistance of the Comune di Bergamo. In addition to Gabriele Dotto and
myself, who serve as coordinating editors, the editorial board is made up
of Riccardo Allorto, Philip Gossett, and Alberto Zedda. There is also an
advisory board made up of William Ashbrook, John Black, Bruno Cagli,
Jeremy Commons, and Patric Schmid. We intend nothing like a complete edition, merely a selection of works that seem particularly to merit
editorial attention. The first volume, Maria Stuarda (edited by Anders
Wiklund), was published in 1991; already in press are editions of Il campanello (edited by Ilaria Narici), the French version of La Favorite (edited
by Rebecca Harris-Warrick), and Poliuto (edited by William Ashbrook
and the present author). The first two titles have already been performed
at Bergamos Donizetti Festival, and the experience of seeing and hearing
the operas in live performance has proved invaluable in the final stages of
editing. Future plans include an edition of Le convenienze ed inconvenienze
teatrali and one says this after a deep breath, as the project will be
enormously complex and time-consuming an attempt to produce a critical
version of Dom Sbastien (to be edited by Mary Ann Smart).
Those familiar with the score and critical commentary of Maria Stuarda
will immediately have seen that, in general, the criteria of the Donizetti
edition owe a considerable and I would say inevitable debt to those of the
Rossini and Verdi editions, themselves not dissimilar in many respects.
Like them, it attempts to balance the needs of the performer with the
responsibilities of the text critic, and like them it will wherever possible
take as its principal source the composers autograph score. True, there
are a number of features of Donizettian practice (a few of which will be
touched on below) that require special treatment but in general the
difficulties presented on the local level in a Donizetti score are not markedly
different from those in one by Rossini or Verdi. This being the case, and
bearing in mind both the papers that are to follow (in particular those of
Rebecca Harris-Warrick and Ilaria Narici) and that recent years have seen
a fair number of articles and reports that discuss the minutiae of editorial

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world


practice in Verdi and Rossini,3 it might be more interesting here to touch

on some of the general issues involved in constructing editions of
nineteenth-century operas. And to do this, I should like to step briefly
into the larger world of textual criticism.
G. Thomas Tanselle, one of the most prominent and distinguished of
American text critics, opens his recent book, A Rationale of Textual
Criticism, with a famous image from the start of Keatss Ode on a Grecian
Urn.4 The urn, fosterchild of Silence and slow Time, is apostrophized
by the poet as a historian, who canst thus express / a flowery tale more
sweetly than our rhyrne; and Keatss resonant comparison between the
historical claims of the old urn and his present muse prompts Tanselle
towards an elegant and subtly humane discussion of some of the differences
between, on the one hand, artistic objects such as the urn or a painting
of it in which the work of art and the artifact that transmits it through
time are inseparably bound together and, on the other, forms of artistic
expression such as music and poetry in which the artifact or artifacts
are separate from the work, are perhaps lost, or perhaps (say in the case of
certain oral texts) never existed at the time of creation.
I stress Tanselles distinction between artistic objects and music or
poetry at the outset, partly because it is a necessary point of departure,
but also because it still seems occasionally to generate confusion. For
example, Alessandro Roccatagliatis recent and in many senses very
thoughtful critique of the Verdi critical edition assumes at the outset that
the editions working philosophy is that the composers autograph score
preeminently reveals his intention, and that this text, in essence, thus
constitutes the work.5 Not surprisingly, much of what Roccatagliati
The basic: principles of both the Rossini and Verdi editions are outlined in the general
prefaces to individual volumes. On Rossini, see also Bruno Cagli, Philip Gossett, and
Alberto Zedda, Criteri per ledizione critica delle opere di Gioachino Rossini, Bollettino del Centro Rossiniano di Studi 1 (1974), whole issue; on Verdi, see in particular
Nuove prospettive nella ricerca verdiana: Atti del convegno internazionale in occasione della prima del Rigoletto in edizione critica (Parma/Milan, 1987), which includes essays by
Philip Gossett, David Lawton, Claudio Gallico, Ursula Gnther, and Martin Chusid.
G. Thomas Tanselle, A Rationale of Textual Criticism (Philadelphia, 1989), pp. 11 ff.
Roccatagliatis review, of the Verdi editions Ernani (edited by Claudio Gallico) and
Nabucco (edited by the present author), appeared in Studi verdiani 6 (1990), pp. 205-18.
The passage I summarize comes from p. 207: Cinque, com ovvio interconnessi, i
capisaldi concettuali. a) Esiste, desumibile dalle fonti scritte, un testo dell opus verdiano
che d conto con autorevolezza massima e precisione elevata della volont creativa del
musicista. [ ... ] c) Tale autorevolissimo testimone della volont dautore la partitura
autografa, e in essa dunque consiste, essenzialmente, lopus.

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world


has subsequently to say takes issue with this philosophy, and quite rightly
so. But his initial assumption is, I think, hardly justified: neither the Verdi edition, nor the Donizetti edition, nor any other musical edition I
know, departs from the naive belief that any one text can in essence
constitute the work, and choosing the autograph as the principal source
in no way betrays an implicit assumption that this is so.
But let us return lo Tanselles essential distinction. Much of what he
has to say in initial response to it, though primarily directed towards
literary texts, applies equally to musical ones. On the most basic level, for
example, he suggests:
For those interested in recovering verbal statements from the past, the question
of whether words on a page are works or attempted reproductions of works is
not, on one level, difficult to answer. Even the most unsophisticated readers
have sometimes decided that a particular formation of letters or sequence of
words apparently meaningless in the language being used or inappropriate in
context is a typographical error or a slip of the pen, and in so doing they
have perhaps faced more aesthetic issues than they knew. They were first of all
showing that they wished to understand what was intended by someone else.
Then they were implicitly claiming that they had been able to locate the real
work the real statement, though not necessarily the real or only meaning
hovering somewhere behind the physical text.6

In other words, textual criticism of some sort is a virtually inevitable

concomitant of reading at almost any level, and has been with us for as
long as texts themselves. It is, for example (and to come immediately to
the matter in hand), in evidence through the gamut of Donizetti sources.
Consider, for example, the small explosion of text-critical activity that
was unleashed when the harrassed composer, sometimes doubtless working
under conditions we would find impossibly primitive, made a mechanical
error in his autograph score. Momentarily distracted, he turned the page
and forgot to supply a resolution to one instrument among a group playing
up to that point in unison. The blank space, innocuous enough in its
comfortable nest at the start of a fresh autograph page, may become glaring
immediately the work is transferred to other documents. A copyist or
engraver, someone in the process of fashioning a new artifact, may see it,
and may acting as text critic try to make good the lacuna by supplying
a likely continuation; he or she may even mark the autograph itself with
a sign of discontent, a question mark or other signal a kind of critical
note. The relevant instrumental part may show signs of similar

Tanselle, pp. 14-15.

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world


disturbance (though paradoxically, given its involvement with actual performance, the part will more often remain disconcertingly pristine:
nineteenth-century orchestral players, though sometimes inspired pictorial
commentators, very often showed something like competence degree zero
as text critics). And last, quite possibly after much further activity across
the years, at todays extreme end of this chain, comes the modern editor.
He or she will yet again attempt to halt this textual activity, and will
probably circumscribe the growing forest of signs with a critical note,
also perhaps adding a signature to the text by filling the space with a new
symbol, one unknown to the composer: a small note that is quietly more
conspicuous than its larger this trivial example merely to stress that text
criticism of an neighbors. I labour this trivial example merely to stress
that text-criticism of an opera is not some sinister modern invention: the
first person who extracted vocal parts from a Donizetti autograph probably
did it, the composers performers did it, his copyists and engravers did it.
And the activity is bound to continue: modern-day editors, however
meticulous and exhaustive, can never produce more than a temporary
port-of-call in the never-ending voyage of text criticism.
Few occasions will, alas, be as unequivocal as the one outlined above,
nor will the sense of solidarity among various generations of text critics
be often maintained. For a host of economic, institutional, and cultural
reasons, modern editors will spend much fime agonizing over problems
that earlier generations seem largely to ignore. Even missing notes can
quickly become a point of critical debate. For example, Donizetti
frequently omitted to supply seemingly inevitable notes of resolution when
resuming after a section marked to be copied directly from an earlier part
of the manuscript. Contemporary copyists who were almost always
making archive documents, ones not intended for performance had the
luxury of being able to repeat the composers shorthand instructions, and
were thus rarely confronted with the problem. Modern editors, on the
other hand, will often be perplexed. The temptation is to supply a liberal
sprinkling of small resolution notes; but then, on other occasions, when
literal repeats are not involved, Donizetti seems often to leave extremely
empty the downbeats that conclude one section and begin another. Should
editors attempt to emulate him? They will, on this and on countless other
occasions, be confronted with a dilemma: an absence of precision from
the past clashing with modem (or some would immediately say, and the
distinction adds a crucial distance, modernist) sensibilities.

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world


Messages from the past are never very easy to decipher, particularly
when, as is often the case, they are written in partially unfamiliar codes
and were not intended for our eyes. The clash of sensibilities can often be
acute. At risk of succumbing to the siren call of small detail, allow me to
mention two other cases, both of them provoking their share of editorial
dilemma, and both as it happens seemingly more common in Donizettis
works than in those of his contemporaries. The first concerns slurs.
Donizettis typical (though by no means invariable) method of marking a
passage to be played legato was to connect notes or small groups of notes
by consecutive slurs, each one departing from the last. A long succession
of whole notes, for example, will often be connected by a continuous
series of slurs, one slur between each note. Twentieth-century performers,
brought up on the longer slurs of later nineteenth-century practice, tend
to find these consecutive slurs rather curious. However, for an editor to
declare them meaningless, and to substitute longer slurs that will make
sense to the modern performer, is a bold step: it will entail a wholesale
disregard for an aspect of notation that may well have had some residual
meaning for Donizetti.7
A second problem concerns the articulation of a particularly common
rhythmic gesture in the orchestra, one that typically occurs in passages of
vocal declamation and that most often appears as a sixteenth note followed
by a quarternote or half-note downbeat. Often Donizetti marks the longer
note with an accent (>), and occasionally the accent seems to be on the
shorter note; however, on a disconcertingly large number of occasions he
placed an accent between the two notes. What does this mean? Given the
relatively restricted affective context of the gesture, it seems unlikely that
any great difference in articulation is intended between these various
placements of the accent, but the notation is nevertheless still there,
reminding us of the remoteness and strangeness that documents from the
past can so often project.
It is surely no accident that all three of the specific problems I have
discussed hinge on a tension created between the scruples of the modern
scholar and the needs of the modern performer, as this tension turns out
I am thinking of the fact that in some eighteenth-century performance practices, a slur
entailed a descrescendo, thus making a considerable difference between the execution of
consecutive short slurs and one long slur. The introduction of long slurs also risks
creating a relatively long-term sense of departure and arrival that is rarely seen in
Donizettis autograph notation.

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world


to be an important, distinctive aspect of musical edition-making. A musical work often demands a high level of competence on the part of those
who bring it to life; and in a curious way this fact seems to edge it further
than, say, a novel or a poem towards the space occupied by those works
of art (chiefly paintings and sculpture) that, as mentioned earlier, are at
one with their artifact: the necessity of having qualified performers
causes, it seems, a new level of editorial problems, and sometimes even
necessitates a fresh set of criteria.
In the case of a painting, for example, the process of restoration is
clearly contentious. To clean a painting may well reveal aspects that were
for long invisible, but it will also permanently erase accretions through
which the work has been viewed by many of its past interpreters. It will,
in other words, cause a violent rift in the continuity of the works reception
history. Musical works are of course not so obviously fragile in this sense;
however, precisely because few musical works can be realized without
the agency of those with highly special skills, and because those skills are
themselves handed down through tradition, and thus have a profound
link to the past, to tamper with a musical work does bring with it the
possibility of divorcing that work from some of the connective tradition
that sustains it, of denying it some of the living force of its reception
history. Indeed, this may be more the case with an operatic work than
with most others, given that the role of the performer in opera is in general
one of extraordinary prominence. Perhaps this is a reason why critical
editions of operas are more likely to encounter resistance, to have to justify
their existence, than those of literary works, or even other musical works
in which the performer has not been regarded as so crucial.
In fact, I would now like to suggest that this difference between musical works and most literature is important enough to warrant a revision
of our earlier poetic point of departure: instead of Keatss Grecian urn,
his static, still unravished bride of quietness, it might be time to suggest
an image with more striking kinetic force. T. S. Eliots Chinese jar that
moves perpetually in its stillness comes to mind, particularly as the
immediate poetic context of that line (from the last of the Four Quartets)
seems gently to remind us that much of the music we cherish now moves
continually on a double plane: all music moves through time to complete
its pattern, but a great deal of it now also moves through a larger time,
inhabits perrnanently and vibrantly a space that sve merely rent for a
brief period. It is thus inevitable, and eminently defensible that the presence
of a living per forming tradition inflects editorial decisions at almost

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world


every turn, and often proves crucial in decision making. Those who snipe
at critical editions of operas from the literary scholars side of the fence
they are few in number, but their voices are occasionally heard might
bear this in mind before they uncritically use the classic text-critical
terms of the literary establishment as a stick with which to beat seemingly
less sophisticated editors of music.8
However, although the presence of a performing tradition may indeed
advise a certain level of editorial conservatism and caution, it should not,
I think, encourage those who would do away with critical editions entirely,
wishing to rely on the traditional text. For example, the arguments
advanced above about a living performing tradition may have been more
powerful a century ago than they are today. In our advanced age of
mechanical reproduction, it is less and less easy to talk about a performing
tradition when so many competing traditions are so readily recuperable.
In this atmosphere, recourse to details of the text may become more
necessary, if only to aid the individual in arbitrating between competing
performance practices. In other words, a critical edition may even serve a
valuable function in the sustaining of a living (that is, constantly changing)
tradition of performance.
In spite of these important differences between the text-critical priorities
of the musical and literary editor, there remains one further sense in which,
on the level of local detail, the problems for the editor of an opera would
not seem to differ greatly from those of an editor of a novel or a poem. As
Tanselle makes clear, the issue for the most part hinges around authorial
intention. He sums up one strand of the argument as follows:
Ones own sensitivity to nuances of language is [] combined with what one
accepts as historical knowledge in order to assess the reliability of every text
reliability according to one of several alternative historical standards, such as
the authors original intention, the authors final intention, or the authors
intention mediated by scribes or publishers editors.9

However, when looked at from the perspective of an entire work,

Tanselles tidy list of alternative authorial intentions the original, the
final, or the collaborative leads us into a further area in which the editor
of a composer such as Donizetti may experience unusual difficulties. In as
dynamic a form as early nineteenth-century Italian opera, it is almost
See in particular Paolo Trovatos Note sulla fissazione dei testi poetici nelle edizioni
critiche dei melodrammi, Rivista italiana di musicologia XXV (1990), pp. 333-52.
Tanselle, p. 36.

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world


always impossible to isolate such self-contained categories of authorial

Let us take the case of Maria Stuarda. The opera reached a late stage of
rehearsal in Naples in 1834, but ran into last-minute censorship difficulties
and was never performed there; instead, Donizetti transferred most of
the music, with some additions, to a new literary setting (entitled
Buondelmonte), a version that was then performed in Naples. Sometime
after that, Donizetti made various revisions to his autograph (which had
remained as Maria Stuarda); some of them were small details, but he also
added an entire duet (what the critical edition calls N. 5) that had appeared
in Buondelmonte. Later still he made a further series of revisions, mostly
to prepare Maria for its first performance in Milan, in particular adapting
the title role to the unusual capabilities of Maria Malibran. Although he
seems not to have revised the opera further, he wrote a letter some years
later in which he advised a colleague preparing a revival to leave out the
additional duet (N. 5), calling it intruso; but in the same letter he also
condoned the omission of several other numbers. Later still he seems to
have given up hope that the opera would circulate, as he plundered parts
of it in constructing a work for the French stage (La Favorite).10 What are
we to make of all this? Where is the authors intention?
The case of Maria Stuarda is hardly an isolated one, nor is it by any
means the most complex among Donizettis operas. As Rebecca
Harris-Warrick explains elsewhere in this volume, his works written for
the French stage often present us not with the discrete series of revisions
we find in Maria, but with a well-nigh constant stream of authorial
alteration, a stream that runs uncaring through such conventional barriers
as the first performance and in the case of Dom Sbastien continues
long after the works first run of performances. The more one becomes
aware of this type of activity, the more arbitrary it seems to choose one
particular stage of a work to present as its base text As Gabriele Dotto
and I concluded in the introductory matter to the edition of Maria Stuarda,
with what seems in hindsight a delicately balanced mixture of excitement
and despair, it is rare that one can call any version of a Donizetti opera
the finished work. 11 One has the impression that most operas were
Precise details of this tortured genesis are supplied in Elizabeth Hudsons historical
introduction to the critical edition of Maria Stuarda (Milan, 1991). The rationale according
to which the edition fashioned its base text and appendices is given on pp. XXII-XXIII
of volume 1.
Ibid., p. XXIII.

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world


simply suspended, awaiting new revivals, new performers to reanimate

the composers creative faculties. Only with his disablement and death
does the story reach a first conclusion; an unequivocal barrier.
In one version of the ideal world, we would want to rejoice in all these
texts, to fashion a composite that would encourage each performance to
construct its own version of each work, new-minted. Nor would we, of
course, stop at merely Donizettian material: others involved with the
work had equally varied and often frustratingly competing authorial
intentions. Opera is a richly collaborative enterprise, and thus tends to
produce copious amounts of text at every stage. The libretto will often
exfoliate in a manner similar to the music. Sometimes there is a production
book, a livret de mise en scne or disposizione scenica that might encourage
us to recreate much of the original staging, and although some would
argue that this would be unthinkingly and dangerously literal, as the visual
sign tends to decay at a rate far greater than does the musical or verbal,
others would strongly disagree. And then there is the evidence of reception,
in particular the countless texts that performers have added to the work,
some of which have become a most important part of the works
movement through time. In this model, one feels the text could expand to
fill the entire world: and it would, of course, overcome the energies of its
editors, always remain a chimera. That magnificent repository of nightmare change, Rogets Thesaurus, as always offers a verbal synopsis of such
remorseless accumulation: an expanded edition becomes extended,
increased, distended, swollen, bloated, turgid.
So, in making this Donizetti critical edition, we have needed to remain
aware that il is most unlikely be completed in our lifetimes; that hard
decisions have to be made, compromises struck at almost every turn; that
absolute consistency of approach will be impossible; most important, that
the result will be provisional. To admit this a couple of decades ago might
have seemed like a kind of defeat. For example, Philip Gossett introduced
the first volume of the Verdi edition, in 1983, by saying: This critical
edition of Rigoletto, the fruit of years of preparation, would not have
been possible in 1960.12 I think I understand what he meant, but according
to that prescription, the Donizetti edition is as much as a century premature. Perhaps, though, the present cultural climate may be kinder. This
might on the surface seem a vain hope, not least because in a good deal of

The Works of Giuseppe Verdi, in Nuove prospettive nella ricerca verdiana, p. 3.

Parker, A Donizetti Critical Edition in a post modern world

the most modern cultural criticism, particularly in the field of literary

theory, there has been a tendency to dismiss text criticism, to see it as a
retrogressive force in the general shift of emphasis from historical concerns
(in particular those of the author) to contemporary ones (in particular
those of the reader). But critics who uncritically choose to deal with
whichever text comes to hand run their own risks. As Tanselle has pointed
out: Those most likely [ ... ] to think that they have freed themselves
from historical constraints [ ... ] are in fact tying themselves most tightly
lo the accidents of history as embedded in artifacts.13
Il seems as though, with the most doctrinaire forms of reader response
already giving way to a more balanced historicism, that last point may
well become more generally accepted as we move towards the millenium.
And if that is the case, we may be able to establish some small distance
from the modernist aesthetic that has fuelled so much of the rhetoric
about text criticism; we may even find that a precarious balance can be
struck - a stance that respects historical accuracy but is not afraid to admit
the contradictory nature of much historical evidence, and perhaps to accept
that the scholarly enterprise is worth pursuing even though it is in some
way antithetical to the spirit of the text.
I would not like to end on this doubtful note, especially as this is the
first contibution to a part of the volume that intends to celebrate as much
as it does to problematize. After Keats and Eliot, a further quotation, one
more positive, seems in order. I could finish with a last dive into the Four
Quartets, a liberal swig of Burnt Norton on the rocks. Or I could invoke
Vladimir Nabokovs much-repeated dictum about the passion of science
versus the precision of art (a seeming paradox that text editors do well to
confront periodically). But it is better to close with something more
prosaic, with a passage from near the end of Frank Kermodes Forms of
Attention, a small volume that has much to say on some of these matters,
in particular on the constant necessity among those who deal with texts
to maintain a balance: both to guard the preservation of their texts and to
contribute to the inevitable process of change. The path will always be
tortuous, in particular because one can never entirely distinguish
knowledge from opinion; but nevertheless, Kermode is humane enough
and courageous enough to offer a moral to his tale:

Tanselle, p. 34.



Simply: whatever takes the part of virtue against fortune, whatever preserves
and restores some object of which the value may have been or may be in danger
of getting lost is, however prone to error, good. [ ... ] What is not good is anything
whatever that might destroy the objects valued or their value, or divert from
them the special forms of attention they have been accorded.14

In the present context, in a volume that is itself a tribute to the remarkable

forms of attention that Donizettis music now receives, I hope that the
critical edition of his works, however partial and prone to error, will
generally be seen to inhabit the side of the good.


Frank Kermode, Forms of Attention (Chicago, 1985), p. 92.


Commento critico allo spartito di Tosca, introduzione

Considerate le scarse fonti rimasteci, non sono molte le possibilit di poter giungere ad una vera edizione critica di Tosca (denominatore, per
altro, comune a qualunque altra opera della maturit pucciniana). Esaminando il repertortio lirico dei compositori italiani relativo ai primi anni
del XIX secolo, possibile verificare come la partitura autografa possa a
ragione essere considerata fonte decisamente attendibile, sulla quale principalmente impostare tali edizioni critiche. Nella maggior parte delle opere di Verdi, ad esempio, le fonti a stampa riguardanti le prime partiture
per i cantanti o per lorchestra rivestono unimportanza del tutto secondaria, considerando che il Maestro, nel momento di in cui sentiva la necessit di effettuare modifiche da lui considerate definitive, preferiva riportare questultime allinterno della propria partitura autografa. E non
neanche azzardato supporre che quei piccoli cambiamenti di carattere
minore presenti nelle ultime edizioni date alle stampe non siano dovuti al
compositore ma, piuttosto, allopera di redattori e incisori. Puccini, al
contrario, ma al pari della maggior parte dei compositori della fine del
XIX secolo, considerava la propria partitura orchestrale semplicemente
come una pura e semplice raffigurazione della fase in cui la composizione,
in quel determinato momento, si trovava; tuttaltro, quindi, che un documento da modellare con la consapevolezza e la volont di indicarlo, un
giorno, come lultima parola espressa dal compositore sulla propria opera. Nel caso di Tosca, ad esempio, le discrepanze tra la partitura autografa
e le prime versione stampate non sono poche e, talvolta, di rilevante importanza; differenze che, come sappiamo, testimoniano le revisioni di certi
passaggi successive alla prima esecuzione, nonch lintervento di Puccini
sulle varie prove di stampa relative alla prime partiture vocali e orchestrali complete. La documentazione riguardante queste ultime fasi del processo compositivo , purtroppo, assente quasi completamente. Non disponiamo di bozze di stampa corette dal compositore, il che ci impedisce di
sapere con precisione quali siano efettivamente le modifiche apportate da
Puccini nel corso delle prime edizioni.

Parker, Introduzione allo spartito di Tosca


Ci che pi conta, inoltre, che anche se avessimo molti documenti

relativi ai cambiamenti effettuati nelle prime fonti a stampa, non sarebbe
possibile far luce su quali siano state le precise modifiche dettate dalla
partitura autografa del compositore; su cosa Puccini, se pur tacitamente,
approv; a che cosa rest indifferente; e su quali parti avrebbe forse avuto
da dire ma di cui, semplicemente, non si accorse. Le prime edizioni rappresentano quindi una fonte di rilevante importanza ma, allo stesso tempo, di elevata problematicit. Esse presentano, oltretutto, una bifrontalit
degna del mitologico Giano: neanche due sole, fra tutte, si trovano in
sintonia su ogni punto; vi sono differenze davero rilevanti ra riduzioni
per canto e pianoforte e partiture per orchestra, oltre che tra le varie edizioni di entrambe. Non possibile quindi, in breve, impostare per Puccini
unedizione critica che prosegua lungo le medesime linee tracciate per
analoghe realizzazioni riguardanti le opere di Rossini, Donizetti o Verdi:
da una parte siamo privi della documentazione indispensabile, dallaltra
(un paradosso sul quale tutti coloro che si occupano di edizioni critiche
dovrebbero riflettere) disponiamo di troppe informazioni. Documentare
esaurientemente le molteplici diferenze esistenti tra tutte le fonti che godettero della tacita approvazione del compositore porterebbe ad un apparato critico enormemente complesso e potenzialmente inutilizzabile.
Detto questo, vi sono comunque buoni motivi per accingersi ad un
nuovo esame del materiale esecutivo esistente riguardante Tosca, per mezzo del quale giungere ad una revisione critica della partitura e della riduzione per canto e pianoforte. Indipendentemente dalle nostre perplessit
circa il cosiddetto testo definitivo, resta altrettanto palese come vi sia la
concreta possibilit di apportare determinati miglioramenti e, per lo meno
in alcuni casi, di contribuire ad una comprensione pi esatta delle reali
intenzioni di Puccini. Le fonti per la presente edizione e, pi in generale,
i criteri in base ai quali una scelta stata preferita ad unaltra, vengono
sottolineati nel corso della Descrizione delle fonti; le singole decisioni
vengono invece approfondite alinterno delle Note critiche. Le Appendici, infine, raccolgono in facsimile esempi dei passi nei quali le
differenziazioni tra le varie fonti assurgono a livelli dimportanza pi che


Puccinis Work in Progress:

the so-called Versions of Madama Butterfly
The history of Giacomo Puccinis operas is not least a history of continual
revisions. This is true not only of the early pieces, Le villi and Edgar,
nowadays virtually forgotten, but also of the mature works, which have
remained among the worlds most frequently performed operas. Despite
their almost overwhelming initial success, not one was spared the
composers subsequent alterations, and for the most part these were not
trifling. Puccinis perpetual revisions were not as a rule made in response
to negative reactions from the public. Rather, his own experience of the
staging of his works made him constantly dissatisfied with what he had
done, and he was always ready to subject them to critical review and
Of the three most popular operas La bohme, Tosca and Madama
Butterfly it was Madama Butterfly that underwen