Othello. G. Verdi. Vespasiano BIGNAMI.
Verdi’s Otello Comes to Paris
[Opera] / [Verdi] / [Poster].
[Milan], R. Stabilimento Ricordi-Milano, [1894]

Othello. G. Verdi.

Lithograph poster [88 x 65 cm, outer dimensions of frame], color lithograph, framed and glazed (plexi). Centerfold, very minor toning, excellent.

Very rare color lithograph poster produced in conjunction with the Paris premier of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Otello. Verdi (1813-1901) had retired from opera after Aida in 1871, but his publisher, Giulo Ricordi (1840-1912), and the librettist Arrigo Boito (1842-1918) at last convinced him to return with Otello, which premiered on 5 February 1887 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and proved to be a global success. The Paris production was a French-language version by Camille du Locle (1832-1903) and Boito, which opened at the Paris Opéra on 12 October 1894 under the direction of Alexandre Lapissida (1839-1907); Verdi was in attendance.

The poster, designed by Vespasiano Bignami (1841-1929), depicts the climactic scene in Act 4 (Act 5 of Shakespeare’s play) in which Otello rises having just strangled Desdemona in her bed. In Paris the part of Otello was sung by Albert Saléza (1867-1916) and that of Desdemona by Rose Caron (1867-1930). Bignami’s composition is not entirely of his own invention, but an interpretation preserving the original staging of this scene. At the foot of the poster is the address (12 Rue de Lisbonne) of the Paris branch of the Ricordi publishing firm, where interested parties could acquire the score of the production.

Printed at the time as ephemeral advertising, the poster is today very rare. We could locate no examples in institutional collections.

Price: $2,850.00

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