29 Settembre 1893
Ho un doppio dispiacere: quello d’aver tardato a rispondere a
Venendo a quanto mi scrive per la cara visita a
Come sempre ciò che dice o scrive Lei, è d’oro, anzi è puro diamante - perciò quando mi scrive che la di lei presenza è necessaria a
Già le scrissi di richieste insistenti
di Lei d.mo
29 September 1893
I have two reasons to be unhappy: because I am late in responding to your two kind letters; and because of what caused my delay. I need only tell you that from Sunday until 7 o’clock yesterday evening, Thursday, I have been locked away in the company of 4 lawyers, arbitrators, and the like….. what rubbish! – I need to pinch myself to know if I am dead or alive! –
Regarding what you have written me about my anticipated visit to the Signori Verdi at St. Agata, I can only once again acknowledge your enormous kindness and thank you with the happy thought of being able to greet you soon in your charming and peaceful surroundings.
And now let us turn to business – “Brutta parola!” [“Ugly word!”] as Ford says– but it cannot be avoided.
As always, whatever you say or write is golden, indeed as pure as a diamond – therefore, when you write to me that your presence is necessary in Paris, I respond: Maestro, you are right. When you tell me that political issues or hostilities do not concern you in the least, I reply: It’s true – this has been proven a thousand times over. When you conclude that you prefer not to consent to the production, I, Giulio Ricordi, would immediately say: “May your will be done!!” – and I would say this because both my heart and my mind tell me so, reminding me of what I owe Verdi and how my sole ambition is not to create, even unintentionally, the least bit of difficulty. But anymore I count for very little, indeed nothing at all!.... So how can I honor such a desire without damaging important interests (as you had already so candidly observed yourself)? – And on the other hand, how am I to honor your conclusion: Do what you think best! when what I want is to do what pleases you!!..... Here we are then, following two parallel paths that will never intersect!!... Wouldn’t it be possible instead to look for a solution by trying to reconcile everything in the best possible manner? I understand all too well how you might find it annoying, exhausting, if not downright nerve-wracking to mount Otello at the Opéra, where everything moves as slowly as molasses, even when one invests a tremendous amount of moral and physical effort; but I do not believe this is the case at the Opéra-Comique, or at least not nearly as much. And this idea is supported by the fact that you had originally decided to go to Paris this upcoming November if Carvalho had mounted Falstaff [at the Comique]. Thank heaven, nothing in this line of reasoning is different now than it was during the first pourparler [informal negotiations] with Carvalho – and what is more, if Falstaff had truly been planned for November there would have been serious obstacles, because the translation was a seemingly endless monumental project and it would have been impossible to begin studying the opera for lack of material. It was better therefore that Carvalho delayed things as he did. But can’t what couldn’t be done then be done a bit later?... and perhaps in a more favorable, more temperate season?... You might be interested to read the enclosed letter from Grus, who was in Milan to speak with me regarding various affairs, among them Otello and Falstaff. As for the former at the Opéra, beyond the above-mentioned defects, I think it quite unlikely that the right cast of singers could be assembled; whereas for the latter at the Opéra-Comique, it is quite easy to find spirited and intelligent performers for an excellent interpretation. And speaking strictly for the sake of art, what good would come of depriving France of 2 masterpieces like Otello and Falstaff?...
I already wrote you that there have been insistent requests from Lyon for Otello: I include two such letters I have received, awaiting your orders before I make a definitive answer. Meanwhile I would dare venture …. this foolhardy proposal: in the event that we are to speak no more about mounting Otello at the Opéra, could M. Luigini come to Genoa later to seek instruction directly from you?.... If this is indeed foolish, we can toss the idea aside straight away.
The cast for Falstaff in Naples is now nearly complete: I hope to be able to guarantee that it will be a truly fine performance.
Give my regards to dear Signora Peppina, and I conclude with these happy words: Until we meet again soon – to which I add my complete and steadfast gratitude.
Yours most devotedly,