Verdi's opinion on composer Agostino Mercuri

Verdi, Giuseppe, Italian composer (1813-1901). Autograph letter signed.

Florence, 13. III. 1871.

8vo. 2 pp. on bifolium.


To an "Illustre Signore" who has requested his aid in weighing the skill of a fellow composer. However, Verdi does not know the gentleman in question ("Non conosco il sig. Maestro Mercuri") and thus cannot pass judgement on him: instead, he suggests it would be better to have a contest in order to find a satisfactory answer. Verdi goes on to say that he is happy that these circumstances have given him the advantage of corresponding with a person who greatly honours Italy and science ("una persona, che onora tanto l'Italia e la scienza"), and he dares to hope that he will be forgiven for not having been able to answer more satisfactorily the question he was asked.

The maestro in question was likely Agostino Mercuri (1839-92) who wrote several operas. His son later claimed in a biography of Mercuri that his father was familiar with many great musical names of his age, including Verdi, but perhaps this was an exaggeration, or refers to a later acquaintance after Mercuri wrote his most famous opera, "Adelinda", the year following this letter.

Gently creased along folds; subtle paper repair to small closed tear.

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