Verdi: Creating Otello and Falstaff—Highlights from the Ricordi Archive at The Morgan Library & Museum September 6, 2019 – January 5, 2020

“After Aida in 1871, except for occasional projects, Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901), Italy’s pre-eminent composer, retired from opera at the age of 58. This, however, did not prevent constant pleas from his publisher and future librettist for the maestro to return to the operatic stage. Reluctantly coaxed out of retirement, Verdi composed what would become the crowning achievements of his career: Otello and Falstaff. From September 6, 2019 to January 5, 2020, the Morgan Library & Museum will present highlights from the Milan-based, Bertelsmann-owned Ricordi Archive, offering visitors insight into the production of these two operas, as well as the complex enterprise of bringing an opera to life. Based on The Enterprise of Opera: Verdi. Boito. Ricordi, created by Bertelsmann/Ricordi and curated by Gabriele Dotto, Verdi: Creating Otello and Falstaff—Highlights from the Ricordi Archive traces the genesis and realization of Otello and Falstaff through original scores, libretti, selected correspondence, set and costume designs, and more, marking the first exhibition of these rare documents and artifacts in the United States.” — The Morgan Library & Museum  

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Pietro Tempestini (1843-1917). Verdi a Montecatini Terme, 1899. Photograph. Courtesy of Bertelsmann / Archivio Storico Ricordi, Milan

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Falstaff: A Square; On the Right, the exterior of the Garter Inn, act 3, sc 1. Set design by Adolf Hohenstein (1854-1928). Teatro alla Scala, 1893. Oil on cardboard. Archivio Storico Ricordi, Milan

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Falstaff: Furniture and musical instruments. Design by Adolf Hohenstein (1854-1928). Teatro alla Scala, 1893. Watercolor on paper. Archivio Storico Ricordi, Milan

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Otello: Vanity table, Desdemona’s room. Design by Carlo Ferrario (1833-1907). Teatro alla Scala, 1887. Watercolor on paper. Archivio Storico Ricordi, Milan

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Falstaff costume. Design by Adolf Hohenstein (1854-1928). Teatro alla Scala, 1893. Watercolor on paper. Archivio Storico Ricordi, Milan

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Desdemona costume. Design by Alfredo Edel (1856-1912). Teatro alla Scala, 1887. Watercolor on paper. Archivio Storico Ricordi, Milan

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Production card listing printings of the libretto of Otello, 1887-99. Archivio Storico Ricordi, Milan

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Circolo Fotografico Lombardo (active 1889-99). Giuseppe Verdi in the garden of Giulio Ricordi’s house in Via Borgonuovo, Milan, 1892. Photograph Archivio Storico Ricordi, Milan

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Carlo de Marchi. Giulio Ricordi, early twentieth century. Mixed media. Archivio Storico Ricordi, Milan

Verdi: Creating Otello and Falstaff—Highlights from the Ricordi Archive is organized by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York in cooperation with Bertelsmann/Ricordi Archive.

The curator of the exhibition at the Morgan is Fran Barulich, Mary Flagler Cary Curator and Department Head, Music Manuscripts and Printed Music at the Morgan Library & Museum.

Images courtesy The Morgan Library & Museum.