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Business News (more headlines) 03-08-2014

Bertelsmann's Archivio Ricordi Makes Possible A New Critical Edition Of Puccini's Operas

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Bertelsmann's Archivio Ricordi in Milan is facilitating a new complete critical edition of the operas of Giacomo Puccini by making available valuable original documents. The first volume of this edition, published by the Casa Ricordi music publishing company, is now out and is dedicated to Puccini's opera "Manon Lescaut." Among other things, Archivio Ricordi made available the original manuscript score of the opera, several unique music documents annotated by Puccini, and important correspondence with the composer (some previously unpublished) to the eponymous music publisher, which was sold to Universal Music Publishing Group in 2006. The score is one of 150 scores that were restored during the past year as part of a multi-year indexing process.

Giacomo Puccini is regarded as a major name in 19th-century Italian opera, one of the Big Five alongside Gaetano Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi. All but one of Puccini's operas, like those of the other composers, were published by Casa Ricordi, a music publishing company founded in 1808. To this day, the publisher's former archives, the Archivio Ricordi, contains original scores, libretti, stage-set and costume designs, as well as other documents that illustrate how Puccini worked and provide an important key to understanding his operas. These documents now form a fundamental resource for the critical edition. The general editor of the series is the renowned musicologist Gabriele Dotto, who also curated Bertelsmann's exhibition on Giuseppe Verdi last year. The volume of "Manon Lescaut" is edited by Roger Parker, the ‘Thurston Dart' professor of music at King's College, London.

In the forty years from 1884 to 1924, Puccini created twelve operas that are still an integral part of the repertoire of all of the world's major opera houses. Among the most famous are "La Bohème," "Tosca," "Turandot" and the aforementioned "Manon Lescaut" based on the novel by Abbé Prévost. The original score of the opera, which premiered in Turin in 1893, as well as several one-of-a-kind annotated musical sources and original pieces of correspondence between the composer and his publisher are among the Archivio Ricordi's many historical treasures. According to Dotto, their musicological analysis for the complete critical edition has made possible "a milestone in research on Puccini." The publication of the first volume alone was preceded by many years of groundwork. The complete edition of the operas will give both scholars and performers who deal with the music of Puccini a whole new access to his repertoire.

The Archivio Storico Ricordi in Milan houses one of the most important music collections in the world. It holds the papers of the music publisher Casa Ricordi. Over the course of two centuries, the archive has compiled a wide-ranging and inestimably valuable documentation of Italian music and theater history. The archive has been owned by the international media company Bertelsmann since 1994.

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