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Finding aid for the Igor Stravinsky correspondence on The Rake's Progress

Finding aid prepared by Sue Luftschein, 2011 March

Summary Information

Repository
USC Libraries Special Collections
Creator
Kirstein, Lincoln, 1907-1996
Creator
Ricketson, Frank H., (Frank Henry)
Creator
Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971
Title
Igor Stravinsky correspondence on The Rake's Progress
Collection no.
0302
Date [inclusive]
1950-1951
Extent
0.21 linear ft., 1 box
Language
English
Abstract
The Igor Stravinsky correspondence on The Rake's Progress consists of correspondence, dated May 1950 to May 1951, between Stravinsky and his lawyer in New York, L. Arnold Weissberger, concerning the mounting of his opera, The Rake's Progress. The letters discuss business matters pertaining to the production of the opera, financial support for the work, where to stage the premier, locations for the opera's American debut, problems associated with Italian singers performing in English, and various other financial and administrative matters pertaining to the completion and production of the work.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], Igor Stravinsky letters on The Rake's Progress, Collection no. 0302, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

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Historical note

Stravinsky's opera The Rake's Progress, set to the libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman, was inspired by William Hogarth's series of paintings. Stravinsky had wanted to write an English-language opera since arriving in the United States in 1939, and was inspired to do so by seeing the paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago on May 2, 1947. The opera premiered in Venice on September 11, 1951.

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Scope and Content

The Igor Stravinsky correspondence on The Rake's Progress consists of correspondence, dated May 1950 to May 1951, between Stravinsky and his lawyer in New York, L. Arnold Weissberger, concerning the mounting of his opera, The Rake's Progress. Also included are copies of letters to F. H. Ricketson of the Central Civic Opera House Association, Denver, Colorado; Lincoln Kirstein; Howard Taubmann of the New York Times; and Betty Bean and Dr. E. Roth of Stravinsky's publishers, Boosey & Hawkes, London. The letters discuss business matters pertaining to the production of the opera, financial support for the work, where to stage the premier (including discussions about a possible staging at USC), locations for the opera's American debut, problems associated with Italian singers performing in English, and various other financial and administrative matters pertaining to the completion and production of the work. Stravinsky's letters to Weissberger are on his personal letterhead with his Los Angeles address, "1260 N. Wetherly Drive, Hollywood 46, California."

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

USC Libraries Special Collections
2011 March
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-0189
213-740-5900
specol@usc.edu

Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition

Purchased from J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians, March 2011.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

See also the scores of The Rake's Progress, USC Special Collections.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers. -- Correspondence

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence

Personal Name(s)

  • Kirstein, Lincoln, 1907-1996 -- Correspondence
  • Ricketson, Frank H., (Frank Henry) -- Correspondence
  • Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971 -- Archives
  • Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971 -- Correspondence
  • Weissberger, L. Arnold, 1907-1981 -- Correspondence

Subject(s)

  • Composers--California--Los Angeles--20th century--Archival resources
  • Opera--20th century--Archival resources

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1950 May 18 

Scope and Content

Mentioning his collaboration with Aaron Sapiro and his dislike of La Scala as a venue for the opera.

1 1

 Correspondence with F. H. Ricketson, Jr 1950 May-June 

Scope and Content

Discussion of possibility of Denver's Central City Opera House Association producing the Rake's Progress in 1951 and Stravinsky's hope of finishing the work by the beginning of 1951.

General note

Copies.

1 2

 Letters from Stravinsky to Weissberger, Lincoln Kirstein 1950 June 2 

Scope and Content

Note regarding forwarding of Stravinsky's letter to Lincoln Kirstein; discusses firming up Kirstein's interest in producing the opera.

General note

Kirstein letter is a copy.

1 3

 Correspondence with F. H. Ricketson 1950 June 14, 19 

Scope and Content

Ricketson relays his conversation with Ralph Hawkes regarding the latter's interest in a Denver production of the opera; asks Stravinsky if he will be visiting Denver in July; Stravinsky assures Ricketson of his intention to work with him on the artistic side of the production.

General note

Copies.

1 4

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1950 June 8 

Scope and Content

Discusses the stalling of the project with Kirstein, negotiations with Ricketson.

1 5

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1950 June 29 

Scope and Content

Discusses contract with Boosey & Hawkes regarding the opera, negotiations with Ricketson, financial compensation.

1 6

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1950 July 21 

Scope and Content

Discusses complications with Ricketson; Boosey & Hawkes; La Scala.

1 7

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1950 September 13 

Scope and Content

Discusses "shocking" news of Ralph Hawkes' death; potential new patronage for the opera.

1 8

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1950 September 22 

Scope and Content

Discusses potential patronage of Blevin Davis; concerned that he has not received any news from his publishers regarding the handling of his business.

1 9

 Letter from Stravinsky to Harold Taubmann 1950 November 3 

Scope and Content

Relative to a letter Stravinsky sent to the New York Times regarding publication of this letter and clarification for Olin Downes of various iterations of the Firebird--ballet, and 1919 versus 1945 symphonic excerpts.

General note

Copy.

1 10

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1950 November 6 

Scope and Content

Discusses collapse of Sher-Hartford deal, Ricketson deal, and includes copy of the "expose" sent to Betty Bean; discusses with Betty Bean the collapse of the Ricketson deal, possible premier of the opera at USC in 1951, and financial arrangements for that premier.

General note

Betty Bean letter is a copy.

1 11

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1950 November 17 

Scope and Content

Discusses copy of letter to [Erich] Leinsdorf, Ricketson letter, Rochester, and USC.

1 12

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1950 December 19 

Scope and Content

Discusses break down of USC performance planning; contract issues with Boosey & Hawkes regarding the completion of the opera, the world premier, and his creation of the "tradition" of his work; and his willingness to sacrifice some financial gain for more control over a potential production.

1 13

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1951 January 30 

Scope and Content

Discusses problems with Boosey & Hawkes and Covent Garden premier against his wishes, Venice festival, and expresses appreciation for Weissberger's help.

1 14

 Letter to Weissberger, correspondence with Lincoln Kirstein 1951 February-March 

Scope and Content

Letter to Weissberger that discusses the enclosed correspondence with Kirstein: Kirstein discusses possibility of new backer, possible costs for New York production, ways to save money by using Venice cast in New York, and asks how much Stravinsky would need in financial compensation for conducting? Stravinsky's reply discusses difficulties in using Venice cast, quotes a price for his conducting services. Stravinsky's letter to Weissberger expresses confusion regarding subsequent developments in the New York production of the opera.

General note

Copies.

1 15

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger 1951 April 11 

Scope and Content

Discusses meeting potential backers Cowles and Farrell, possibility of conducting New York premier, role of Kirstein in the production.

1 16

 Letter from Stravinsky to Weissberger, Dr. E. Roth 1951 May 9 

Scope and Content

Describes letter written to Dr. Roth, of Boosey & Hawkes in London (and of which he encloses a copy) regarding Betty Bean's lack of enthusaism for the New York premier at a Broadway theater.

General note

Roth letter is a copy.

1 17

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