Poiché mi chiama Illustre Commendatore, affibbiandomi un epiteto troppo grande per me, ed un titolo troppo meschino, io dovrei risponderle nello stesso tono!.. ma, come vede, non vi riesco e sto colla vecchia edizione. La sua lettera richiederebbe una lunghissima risposta, per la quale mi manca il tempo necessario! - ma se potessi scriverla, sono certo ch’Ella finirebbe ad esclamare: è vero…. ho torto!
E’ vero…. ed ha proprio torto, che non si piglia e si caccia sotto ai piedi l’amicizia che hanno per Lei due persone: e se una divergenza di vedute, una differenza di giudizi, devono d’un tratto mettere in mezzo un precipizio…. che cos’è amicizia?... un non senso! -
E rimanendo nell’antico stile, come lo chiamavo: Vulcano - così oggi ancora lo chiamo così!... ma pur troppo il vulcano stavolta non eruttò che neri lapilli e caligine, per modo che, chissà quali idee….. balorde (me lo lasci dire) hanno fatto presa sul di Lei animo! - Anche quanto le riferì il nostro buon
Il più bello si è….. che non ho mai saputo che cosa sia l’offesa grave di
Ripeto…. la cosa sarebbe dolorosa, ma…. è buffa - e così buffa che merita non più di una risata generale…. e non se ne par-li più!
Ed io vi torno subito, col segnarmi
24 Ott. 97
Since you address me as Illustrious Commendatore, pinning me with too grand an epithet and tinseled a a title, I should respond in like manner!.. but, as you see, I cannot do so and will stay with my old way of doing things instead. Your letter really needs a lengthy response, for which I don’t have the time! – but if I did, I’m certain you would end up exclaiming: “It’s true... I am wrong!”
It’s true.... and you are indeed wrong to take the friendship that two people have for you and trample it in this manner: if some divergence of perspective or difference of opinion must suddenly be the cause of a rift... then what is friendship?... something that makes no sense! –
And in keeping with my old ways, just as I used to call you Volcano back then, that’s what I continue to call you today! but unfortunately this time the volcano only erupted in bits of black lava and dusty haze, thanks to who knows what ideas... allow me to call them hairbrained... that got into your head! – Even what our good friend Puccini told you is not correct, or at least you didn’t understand it correctly. I never remotely dreamed of thinking or saying that you tried to put me at odds with Mascagni... go on, just how much of a fool do you think I am?...I actually said this: Illica could be right from one point of view, but it was not one I could pursue because if it turned out that Mascagni had famously created a mess of things I only had two options, and both led to the same identical result: either a personal confrontation or a parting of ways, it didn’t matter which. And this I could not do, because when all is said and done I can’t forget that I am responsible for managing the interests of others, which forces me to maintain a difficult and delicate stance. What I did instead bemoan, and I will tell you frankly here as well, is the serious damage resulting from that lamentable railway misunderstanding!!... See what Mascagni wrote me – he’s returning to Pesaro in a few days.... and so it’s good-bye to Iris!.. while by this time it could have been nearly finished – and the announcement of that fact would have been most useful for me in programming future seasons! –
The beauty of all this is... that I have never understood what Tito’s grave offense was!! No one can tell me – and you only make the slightest hint.... and nothing more. Which proves to me that there was no offense, nor could there be, even because it would have been an enormous contradiction! – I know what Tito and I have done to halt the Franchetti-Illica hostilities, which were deplorable not only for the parties involved but even for art itself – I know, and you do not understand, the private discussions that a father and son may have regarding you personally: these discussions, these considerations exclude a priori the possibility of any offensive character! But just look at how the facts themselves exclude it: you pass three days with Mascagni in the most cordial camaraderie, everybody agrees on everything regarding Iris, things are all mapped out... You [and Tito] leave .... and then all of a sudden this surge of anger?... It would be comical if it were not so painful. One word led to another, and then two and then four!!... and this was enough to sever a long chain of reciprocal friendship, of mutual respect, of unqualified trust?...
I repeat.... the situation would be painful, but.... it’s comical – so much so that it deserves nothing more than a good laugh from everyone.... and is never mentioned again!
Send the Mascagni letter back to me and write it yourself or tell me what I should answer. It’s time to get back on our non-stop train – laboremus [let’s get to work] – and not to leave things to the mercy.... of scoundrels.
Our Verdi is always right when he says:
“Let us return to the ways of old”
And I will return to them right now, signing myself
Yours most fondly,