Music in Bologna, musicians in Bologna.
Butterfly. The manuscripts found at the Archives of the Accademia Filarmonica in Bologna, exhibition held at the foyer of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, on the occasion of the performance of “Madama Butterfly (19-31 March 1996).
The exhibition was reproposed at the foyer of theTeatro del Giglio in Lucca (18-22 February 1997), at the Istituto di cultura italiana in Ljubljana (9-12 April 2002), at the Kulturni Dom in Nova Gorica (16 Juni 2003) and a the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna (22 September-15 October 2008) on the 150th anniversary of Giacomo Puccini's birth.



Butterfly. I mnoscritti ritrovatiThe rich handwritten documentation by Giacomo Puccini in the Archives of the Filarmonica stands out as an important chapter in the historical link between the Puccini family and the secular institution in Bologna. The Puccini’s manuscripts are kept in a black folder , closed with strings and bearing the label “Documenti pucciniani”; enclosed there is  the following note written by Mario Mancini, ex-secretary of the Accademia Filarmonica:

“Bologna, 30th April 1945

Subject matter: Puccinian documents
In the afternoon of 30th April, 1945, Mr.Giovanni Nesi, member of the Accademia, handed me a parcel received from a German soldier in retreat  declairing that  he had taken it away  in Puccini’s villa at Torre del Lago.
The parcel contained one  charcoal portrait of Giacomo Puccini, with dedication to his son Antonio. On the back, a poem dated 1935. One printed march, “Scossa elettrica”, written by Puccini and dedicated to the centenary of Volta’s pile.
There followed handwritten pages of “Butterfly” ‘s libretto and 32 pages of notes of the same opera. Mr. Nesi presented me with these relics.
I telephoned to avv.Antonio Puccini in Milano; he thanked for the piece of news and told me to keep them. I have resolved  to give them to the Archives of the Accademia.

The Secretary
Mario Mancini

N.B. Printing draft of  “Madama Butterfly” with signature by Puccini.

The Puccinian Documents were therefore left to the Accademia Filarmonica by a German soldier in retreat at the end of World War 2nd in April 1945 and then, according to the documents in our possession, they were deposited at the Accademia with the consent of Antonio Puccini, the famous composer’s son.

The short description given by the Secretary of the Accademia in his note is not completely exact. From a careful examination, after the first puzzling moments given by the overall untidiness, by the frequently crossed out  words, by the often unreadable handwriting, it has been possible to identify a few distinguishable corpus.
The pages containing notes of Madama Butterfly are 25, almost all in dark orange paper and dating back to 1901. It is relevant to mention, besides, one page bearing the title “Chant japonais”: it contains four Japanese songs, transcribed by a copyist. Among these songs, only  the first (Vivace) is used , fragmentarily, in Madama Butterfly: namely, the “Canzone di Primavera”, which is heard for the first time at the arrival of Butterfly on the scene (Act I 41). The second song (Poco lento) bearing also the text in Japanese, develops similarly to some litanies given by Puccini to Suzuki’s voice.
The documentation also includes a very early version of the first act of Madama Butterfly’s libretto, handwritten by Luigi Illica; it contains several notes by Puccini, with suggestions for the librettists and sketches of musical ideas.
Finally, apart from being signed by Puccini, the printing draft of “Madama Butterfly” hinted to by Mancini contains, even more interesting, several handwritten corrections. It is a draft of the first version of Buttefly, and Puccini’s corrections involve some modifications later on brought to  the second version (as everybody knows, the versions of Buttefly are four).

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