Lot 229

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Beethoven ALS Re: His Only Opera "Fidelio," A Portrayal of the Struggle for Liberty and Justice Mirroring Political Movements in Europe

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Autograph Letter Signed, "Beethoven", in German, 1p, 9.75" x 5.75", Vienna, no date. Addressed at verso. Light creasing. Toning and minor scattered foxing. Includes full transcription and translation. In overall near fine condition.

To Friedrich Sebastian Mayer (1773-1835) with instructions for the singer who performed the role of Don Pizarro at the premiere of "Fidelio", in both the original and the second, reworked version, translated in full: "Here is the first act – the second will follow this evening – which actually only has a few changes. Please send both acts to me as soon as they've been copied."

"Fidelio" was Beethoven's only opera. The original premiered on November 20, 1805; Beethoven shortened the work from three acts to two, and the second version premiering March 29, 1806, was even more favorably received. However, it was not until 1814, when Beethoven produced a third and final version, that the opera achieved its greatest success.

Vienna State Opera was destroyed by Allied bombs towards the end of World War II, and when it reopened in 1955, it was Beethoven's "liberation opera" that was chosen to mark the occasion. U.S. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, was present. Then in 1998, as Austria undertook its first presidency of the European Union, "Fidelio" was broadcast live from the Vienna State Opera to the fifteen capital cities of the EU.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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May 31, 2023 11:00 AM EDT
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

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