Sunday, September 29, 2013

Puccini’s Post-“Manon Lescaut” Postcard

Until World War II, it was common practice for Europe’s artists—authors, composers, singers, actors, dancers—to keep a stock of postcards on hand to send to well-wishers.

Puccini never enjoyed a success until “Manon Lescaut”, but “Manon Lescaut” proved such an instant sensation that Puccini became an overnight celebrity in Europe—and had the above postcard created, a postcard he continued to send to well-wishers until at least 1911. (There were other postcards Puccini was to commission, including the well-known 1895 full-length photographic portrait as well as the famous cameo portrait and the famous overcoat portrait, both of which post-date “Tosca”.)

“Manon Lescaut” premiered in Turin in 1893. Exactly one week later, Verdi’s “Falstaff” premiered in Milan.

The changing of the guard had occurred . . . although no one was to realize it for some years to come.

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