Verdi: Milan and Othello
The premiere of Otello, Giuseppe Verdi's only new opera for over a decade, was a much-anticipated event in Milan in February 1887, and musical talents from all over Europe had vied for the chance to be part of it. An American author and former opera singer, Blanche Roosevelt (1853-98) took an assignment as a special correspondent in Milan during the weeks surrounding the opera's premiere at La Scala. She was well connected in the artistic community and personally acquainted with Verdi himself, and her dispatches paint an informed and vivid picture of the city and its musical and literary scene in the late 1880s. Published in 1887, along with a short biography of Verdi, anecdotes, illustrations, and reminiscences of conversations with the composer, these writings will appeal to both music scholars and opera lovers.