The Who's Who of 1920s Opera

[Berlin - Opera]. An opera fan's guest book, containing entries by Ferruccio Busoni, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Alexander Glasunow, Jascha Heifetz, Barbara and Wilhelm Kempff, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, Fritz Kreisler, Ernst Krenek, Rudolf and Willem Mengelberg, Darius Milhaud, Sergei Prokofjew, Sergei Rachmaninow, Hermann Scherchen, Max von Schillings, Arthur Schnabel, Franz Schreker, Richard Strauss, Igor Strawinsky, Joseph Szigeti, Richard Tauber, Bruno Walter, and Eugene Ysaye.

[Berlin], 1901-1935.

4to. 122 written pages with more than 1500 entries on 76 leaves. Original leather binding with illustrated wooden upper cover.


The mysterious guestbook begins on 3 February 1901, on which day Arthur Nikisch, Lulu Mysz-Gmeiner, Max Dessoir and his wife Susanne met, but contains few signatures - and none of note - until the collection gathers steam in 1920; the latest dated contribution is from 1935. The book mentions neither the place of writing nor the name of its owner who entertained so many illustrious personages; a single entry from 19 November 1931 points to the collection's origins: "Empfang zu Ehren des Herrn Monteux (Orchestre Philh de Paris)" - a reference to the German tour of Pierre Monteux's Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, which performed in Berlin on that date. Several additional entries suggest that the owner must have had close ties to the Berlin State Opera: "Zum Jubiläum Artur Nikischs" (29 Feb. 1920), "Zu Ehren Mengelbergs" (22 Oct. 1922), "Zum Empfang Furtwänglers nach seiner Amerikafahrt" (18 April 1926), "Begrüßung Cortots" (19 Jan. 1930), "Empfang für Molinari-Rom" (11 Oct. 1932). The reception in honour of Bernardo Molinari was attended by Rudolf Bing, Gerda Busoni, Mischa Elman, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Wilhelm Kempff, and Max Marschalk.

Among the ca. 1500 signatures are the names of virtually everyone who had made their name in operatic circles in the 1920s and 1930s or was in the process of doing so: Ralph and Josma Benatzky, Leo Blech, Ferruccio Busoni (and often his widow Gerda), Alfred Cortot, Eugene and Hermine d'Albert, Mischa Elman, Wilhelm Furtwängler (and his wife Zitla), Alexander Glasunow, Yvette Guilbert, Jascha Heifetz, Gustav Hollaender (and his wife Adelheid), Bronislaw Huberman, Maria Ivogün, Philipp Jarnach and his wife Amalie, Maria Jeritza (signing as Jedliczka), Barbara and Wilhelm Kempff, Leo Kestenberg, Jan Kiepura, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer (and wife), Fritz Kreisler (and wife Harriet), Ernst Krenek, Leonid Kreutzer, Boris Kroyt, Frederic Lamond, Alma Mahler, Fritzi Massary, Eleonora, Felix Robert and Francesco Mendelssohn, Rudolf and Willem Mengelberg, Darius Milhaud, Karl Muck, Arthur Nikisch (as well as Amélie and Mitja), Gregor Piatigorsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninov, Édouard Risler, Feodor and Marina Chaliapin, Hermann Scherchen, Max von Schillings, Arthur Schnabel, Ossip Schnirlin, Franz Schreker (and his wife Maria), Leo Slezak (and wife), Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Joseph Szigeti, Richard Tauber, Bruno Walter (and wife), Ludwig Wüllner and Eugene Ysaye.

Apart from the numerous celebrities from the realms of art and culture, the convivial gatherings documented in this guestbook also included diplomats and high-ranking civil servants, such as the daughter-in-law of the French ambassador Pierre de Margerie, consul general Bossi, and the lithuanian consul general Benno Hirschowitz, who together with his wife played an important role in Berlin's high society of the 1920s. The couple lost their fortune in the crash of 1929 and took their own life in Paris the following year.

Binding a little rubbed; light browning to margins; a few leaves with slight edge tears. Wants pages 3/4 and 9/10. A list of more than 200 identified contributors is available on request.

Stock Code: BN#60460 Tag: