||The AIVS Archive
The archive of the American
Institute for Verdi Studies is located in Bobst Library of New
York University. It is believed to be the best-balanced collection
of research materials relating to the life and music of the composer,
his wife and members of the Verdi circle in existence today.
For the most part on film, it consists of 1) Scores and parts,
2) Librettos, 3) Letters, documents, and other archival materials,
4) Production materials, 5) Nineteenth-century Italian music
periodicals, 6) Miscellaneous. (See below for a brief description
of each category.)
Descriptions and lists
of the materials found in the Verdi Archive have been published
in several issues of the Verdi Newsletter.
The American Institute for Verdi Studies is currently in
the process of preparing searchable online databases of its holdings.
1. SCORES AND
a) Approximately 280 manuscript
and 50 printed orchestral scores, including 32 autographs and
autograph sketches by Verdi.
b) About 290 piano-vocal scores of music by Verdi, almost all
of them printed.
c) More than 3,000 individual parts (mainly manuscript) and arrangements.
The arrangements include a sizable amount of materials for the
stage bands and small orchestras.
2. LIBRETTOS AND SCENARIOS
a) More than 2,200 librettos
for operas by Verdi, a large majority dating from the nineteenth
century. A number of the librettos and several scores had manuscript
additions to facilitate their use as staging manuals. See 4.
b) MS scenarios (abbreviated prose versions of the librettos),
libretto drafts (e.g. Ernani, Il trovatore, Simon Boccanegra,
and Aida), and thirteen scenarios and librettos for
operas Verdi never completed. These include Shakespeare's King
Lear, The Tempest, andCymbaline (as Rowena),
Moliere's Tartuffe, and Grillparzer's Die Ahnfrau
(as L'Avola). Versions of the first and last of these
are in Verdi's own hand.
3. LETTERS, DOCUMENTS,
AND ARCHIVAL MATERIALS
a) Thousands of letters
written by the composer and his second wife, Giuseppina Strepponi
Verdi, both manuscript and printed, including 1,500 to the composer's
principal publisher, Ricordi, and an equal number from the publisher
to the Verdis. The latter are included in the immense collection
of letters to the Verdis and other documents, more than 5,000
items, filmed at the composer's estate, the Villa Verdi at Sant'Agata.
b) Drafts of much of the correspondence from the Verdis preserved
in notebooks (Copialettere) and also filmed at Sant'Agata.
Those by Verdi began in 1844 and run to the end of his life.
They were published in 1913, not however without some mistakes
and important omissions. Those of Giuseppina began in1860, shortly
after their marriage in 1859, and have been published only in
small part and badly.
c) Financial documents, contracts and records of monies borrowed
or loaned, as well as lists of performances of individual operas
that were kept by Verdi to verify royalty payments, included
in both sets of the Copialettere, have never been published.
d) More than 3,100 letters to Ricordi from important musicians
(e.g. Franz Liszt, Emanuele Muzio, and Angelo Mariani) and singers
from the archive of Casa Ricordi.
e) The manuscript ledgers (libroni) of Casa Ricordi and
Lucca, which record the dates work began and was ended for almost
every item in the publication list of the Milanese publishers.
f) Materials from four theater archives (Venice, La Fenice ,
Parma, Teatro Regio, Trieste, Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, and Brussels,
Thť‚tre de la Monnaie).
4. PRODUCTION MATERIALS
a) Approximately 65 staging
manuals, including 1) All Verdi's operas from Les VÍpres
siciliennes (in its censored Italian
version, Giovanna de Guzman) to Otello published
by Ricordi in the second half of the nineteenth century; 2) Some
45 printed and manuscript (mainly) staging manuals from Paris,
where the practice of preparing staging manuals originated (several
of these are printed librettos with MS annotations for staging
added); 3) A group of German librettos of the best known operas
by Verdi printed at the end of the nineteenth century by Reclam
of Stuttgart with an appendix of staging directions and blocking
diagrams included in each; 4) A group of printed Italian librettos
with manuscript staging directions added either directly on the
printed page or on inserted blank pages, as at Paris.
b) Hundreds of nineteenth-century figurini (costume sketches)
in black and white (mainly) or color filmed in Milan,
Parma, and Naples. Many scene designs, for the most part from
printed sources, and attrezzi (stage implements such as
swords, helmets, etc.) filmed in Trieste.
c) About ninety wall posters filmed at Milan, Venice, and Trieste.
ITALIAN MUSIC PERIODICALS
A rich collection of films
of nineteenth-century Italian periodicals devoted completely
or in large part to music, including complete runs for Teatri,
Arti e Letteratura, and the Gazzetta Musicale di Milano,
as well as numerous rare periodicals from Milan, Florence, Naples,
a) Verdi's own autograph
collection containing letters by musicians such as Donizetti,
Bellini, and Paganini, a musical autograph by Mozart, and many
letters written by famous historical individuals (Mazzini, Manzoni,
Cavour and others). Films of works of art by contemporary Italian
painters and sculptors given to the composer.
b) Films of contemporary engravings and photographs of interpreters
of Verdi's music.
c) A large collection of secondary sources relating to Verdi
and opera contained in the Verdi Archive and the Music Collection
of Bobst library where the Archive is housed. These include many
chronicles of opera houses, a large selection of twentieth-century
music periodicals, and nineteenth-century periodicals from countries
other than Italy, and a small number of individual programs for
Due to space and staff
limitations, readers are admitted to the Verdi Archive at New
York University by appointment only. Scholars who wish
to visit the Archive should send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call the Institute at (212) 998-2587, specifying their research
needs. Our staff will make arrangements to grant them access
to the Verdi Archive.
Much of the material in the collection was filmed under restrictive
agreements forbidding reproduction and publication without the express
permission of the owners.
THIS WEBSITE IS UNDER
CONSTRUCTION. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AS WE CONTINUE TO
UPDATE AND EXPAND THE CONTENTS AND LAYOUT.