George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

Verdi's 'Rigoletto' – first published full orchestral score: acquired in 2001

2001 was the centenary year of the death of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). It was also the year the National Library of Scotland bought the first published full orchestral score for 'Rigoletto'. We added this to the collection of scores and libretti of Verdi's operas bought from music bibliographer Cecil Hopkinson in 1970.

Ricordi of Milan was one of Verdi's main publishers. Following common publishing practice, they initially published vocal scores of the opera in the early 1850s before producing the full orchestral score nearly 40 years later. The lack of prices in the publisher's catalogue of the time suggests that the full score was only available for hire. This explains the rarity of surviving copies of that edition.

The music is not typeset, but lithographed from a fine manuscript copy. The pages shown contain performance markings such as 'f' for forte (loud). There are also numbers counting the bars rest for the orchestra where the soloist is singing unaccompanied.

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