in Bologna, musicians in Bologna.
The manuscripts found at the Archives of the Accademia Filarmonica in Bologna,
exhibition held at the foyer
Teatro Comunale di
Bologna, on the occasion
of the performance of “Madama Butterfly (19-31 March 1996).
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.
LIST OF DOCUMENTS
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
30th April 1945
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
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.
Printing draft of “Madama Butterfly” with signature by Puccini.
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
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.
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).
to request the complete text