Rare first edition of the libretto of Monteverdi’s second opera
L’Arianna tragedia… rappresentata in musica nelle Reali Nozze del Sereniss. Principe di Mantova, e della Serenissima Infanta di Savoia
Mantua, Heirs of Francesco Osanna, 1608
The libretto of Arianna, set to music by Monteverdi (his second opera), and performed on 28 May 1608 in the Sala degli Specchi in the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua, as the first entertainment of extravagant festivities there celebrating the marriage of the heir-apparent, Francesco IV Gonzaga, to Margherita of Savoy. This first edition, printed “Presso gli Heredi di Francesco Osanna Stampator Ducale”, may have been distributed before the performance, functioning as advertising for it and as an aid to following the action on stage. Only two copies can be traced in North American libraries ● Chicago, Newberry Library ● Washington, DC, Library of Congress. No other copy has appeared in the auction salerooms for at least fifty years, and the book is thus absent in several of the expected repositories (including British Library, Pierpont Morgan Library, and New York Public Library).