Festival Books, Music, Theatre Italian Books I

The earliest depiction of the Teatro della Pergola in Florence

Moniglia, Giovanni Andrea (1624-1700)]

L'Hipermestra festa teatrale rappresentata dal Sereniss. Principe cardinale Gio. Carlo di Toscana per celebrare il giorno natalizio del real principe di Spagna. Florence, Ducal Press, 1658.

(bound with:) Rucellai Ricasoli, Orazio (1614-1674). Descrizione della presad'Argo e de gli amori di Linceo con Hipermestra; festa teatrale [...] per celebrare il natale del sereniss. principe di Spagna. Florence, Ducal Press, 1658.

Two works in one volume, 4° (207x150 mm). I. Collation: +4, *4, A-K4. [16], 78, [2] pages. Complete with fol. K4 blank. Engraved frontispiece, with the arms of Giovanni Carlo de' Medici as well as those of the dedicatee, Luigi de Aro, Count of Olivares. Thirteen engraved folding plates (ca. 355x465 mm). II. Collation: [A]-D4. 32 pages. Woodcut ornament on the title-page. Contemporary vellum over pasteboards. Covers within gilt frame, a gilt fleuron at centre. Traces of ties. A very good, uncut copy. Quires slightly weak, a plate restored along the central fold, some light marginal stains.

$ 9,500

Two rare first editions, both related to the festa teatrale which took place in Florence to celebrate the newborn prince of Spain, the son of King Philip IV. he volume opens with a lavishly illustrated libretto of the melodrama Hipermestra, written by Moniglia, with music composed by Pier Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676), heir of the Monteverdi tradition and one of the most representative composers of his age. The libretto tells the love story between Hipermestra, daughter of Danao, King of Argo, and Linceo, which is variously opposed by Apollo, Teti, Venus, and Vulcan. The opera consists of one prologue and three acts, preceded by Antefatto and the librettist's dedication, dated 12 June 1658, to Luigi de Aro, Count of Olivares, Philip's all-powerful minister. The opera was first performed on 18 June 1658 at the theatre opened in 1657 by the Florentine Accademia degli Immobili thanks to the patronage of Cardinal Giovanni Carlo de' Medici – brother of Duke Ferdinand II – and still standing as the Teatro della Pergola. The choreographer Tommaso Guidoni (b. 1586/1600) was responsible for the ballet, and the scenes and costumes were made by stage designer Ferdinando Tacca (1619-1686) and the outstanding artist Stefano della Bella (1610-1664), respectively. The illustrative apparatus of this first edition includes thirteen double-page plates engraved by Silvio degli Alli, active from 1650 to 1680. Twelve plates represent all scenery and mechanisms realised for Hipermestra, while the thirteenth is of the greatest import for the history of the Teatro della Pergola, containing the earliest depiction of its interior view, seen from the stage. The libretto is followed by the rare Descrizione by Rucellai, here complete with the final errata leaf, often lacking in the recorded copies. Along with a synopsis of the Hipermestra, the work discusses preparations for the performance, and provides a short description of the theatre.

BL STC 17th-Century Italian II, p. 585; Michel V, p. 188; Palau 176214; New Grove MGG2; Sartori 13542; G. Yans, Un opéra de Francesco Cavalli pour la cour de Florence: l'Hipermestra, Bologna 1979; A. Blumenthal, Theater Art of the Medici, Hanover (NH) 1980, nos. 89-90; W.C. Holmes, “The Teatro delle Pergola in Florence. Its Administration, its Building, and its Audiences”, I. Alms et al. (eds.), Musica Franca. Essays in Honor of Frank A. D'Accone, Stuyvesant, NY 1996, pp. 259-282.