THE MAGIC FLUTE

Les Mistères d’Isis, opéra en quatre Actes. Representé à Paris au théâtre des Arts. Paroles de E. Morel. Arrangé et mis en scène par Lachnith. Musique de W. A. Mozart. Dédié a son A. S. Monseigneur Maximilien Joseph électeur palatin de Bavière …

Paris, chez Sieber père … [1801?]

Folio, pp. [4], 365, [1], engraved throughout, Plate no. 1666, signed by the publisher on the title-page as usual; a very good copy in contemporary half vellum and marbled boards, manuscript cover label presenting this copy ‘à Mr. de Nerbonne’; unidentified small blue stamps to title-page, armorial bookplate of George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood, with a letter presenting it to him and his wife on the occasion of their marriage in 1949.

£4250

Approximately:
US $5519€5053

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Les Mistères d’Isis, opéra en quatre Actes. Representé à Paris au théâtre des Arts. Paroles de E. Morel. Arrangé et mis en scène par Lachnith. Musique de W. A. Mozart. Dédié a son A. S. Monseigneur Maximilien Joseph électeur palatin de Bavière …

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First edition, scarce, printing much of the score Die Zauberflöte (1791) for the first time, albeit in the distorted form of a pasticcio by Ludwig Lachnith, adapted to the tastes of contemporary Paris with a new text by Étienne Morel de Chédeville. The full unadulterated score was not published until 1814.

In Les Mistères d’Isis the two acts of the original were expanded to four, the spoken dialogue of the Singspiel was replaced with recitative, and most of the names were changed; the music itself was reordered, partly rewritten and often transposed, and Lachnith added arias borrowed from La Clemenza di Tito, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Don Giovanni.

Premièred in Vienna in September 1791, Die Zauberflöte was an immediate success, great succour to Mozart in his final illness. It had reached a hundred performances by the following November. A piano a vocal score was published by Artaria sometime after November 1791 and a version for string quartet in May 1792. In its adapted form it was equally successful in Paris (Les Mistères saw 134 performances in 26 years after its premiere in 1801), which paved the way for more Mozart on the Paris stage.

RISM A/IM 4773 (listing six copies, Toronto only in North America). Library Hub shows copies at BL and Glasgow.

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