Henri Meilhac and Léo Delibes' last corrections for the libretto of "Kassya"

Meilhac, Henri, French playwright and opera librettist (1830-1897). Autograph letter signed.

Paris, 22 July [1891, postmark].

Small 8vo. 2½ pp. on bifolium. With autograph envelope.


Highly interesting letter to Philippe Gille, concerning the libretto for Léo Delibes' posthumous opera "Kassya", based on a novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, co-authored by Meilhac and Gille. Meilhac tells Gille that it would not be worth the trouble visiting him in Paris, as he is working "like a horse" and will probably lock himself up for "four days". Thus, he directly conveys "word for word the observations of Delibes", who had died a few months earlier. Most of Delibes' observations appear to ask for certain scenes to be set in verse, criticize the amount of prose, or suggest cuts, while in two instances, concrete changes are demanded: "Amener la chanson, peut-être lui faire répondre à lui quelque chose qui ramènerait un deuxième couplet" and "Supprimer je crois, 'Et quoi, pas un mot de tendresse'" (both act II, scene 4).

"Kassya" was unfinished at the time of Delibes' death on 16 January 1891. Apparently, Gille and Meilhac changed the libretto based on Delibes' last corrections before the opera was completed and orchestrated by Jules Massenet. "Kassya" premiered on 24 March 1893 at the Opéra-Comique, where it was respectfully received but ran for only twelve performances.

The recipient Philippe Gille (1831-1901) is today best known for co-authoring the librettos of Léo Delibes' most famous opera "Lakmé" together with Edmond Gondinet and Jules Massenet's "Manon" with Meilhac.

On stationery with printed letterhead. Somewhat stained and dust-soiled.

Stock Code: BN#60231 Tag: