The collection Michotte is important because of the large number of unique pieces that contain interesting information about the then performance practice.

The highlight of the collection is without doubt the impressive autograph of the opera ‘Matilde di Shabran’. This is not only the only autograph of a Rossini opera preserved in Belgium, but more importantly, it shows, despite the rather weak libretto, an intereting evolution in the oeuvre of Rossini.

Banda for the final scene of the second act of ‘Zelmira’, autograph score. FEM-068.     'Mi lagnerò tacendo', or 'I will complain in silence'. One of the many versions that Rossini composed on the text of Pietro Metastasio (1898-1782). The first volume of 1857 of the 'Péchés de vieillesse' contains six different settings on the same text, but he also wrote other versions too. This autograph sketch has the vocals and the bass line only. There are hardly any corrections in the text which make it seem as if Rossini wrote down his music very easily. FEM-077

Among the manuscripts with music by Rossini, the autographs are of great importance. They contain variations, ornamentations or cadenza’s that Rossini himself has written. They give us an idea of the aesthetics that Rossini had in mind. Not only composers wrote their cadenzas, also performers did. The collection contains a small notebook that is attributed to Isabella Colbran. It includes among others a variation for the aria ‘Ah quel giorno’ by Arsace from ‘Semiramide’.

Fragment of an autograph score with several variations and cadenzas, a.o. for ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’ and fpr ‘Cenerentola’. FEM-045.     The 'Petite Messe solennelle' is generally regarded as his best work from his last period. The sheet with the metronome marks, written by Rossini himself, is a unique document that is relevant to the tempo ratios of the various parts. FEM-058.

The ‘Répertoire de la Colbran’ is an interesting part in the collection Michotte. The about 150 manuscripts give a clear image of the repertoire of the prima donna, not only about her technical skills, but also about the aesthetics of the belcanto from the late 18th and early 19th century.

There is only one autograph in Colbran repertoire: the aria ‘Dove son io’ from ‘Ginevra di Scozia’ by Simon Mayr (1763-1845).

Spanish canzona by Federico Moretti (ca. 1765-1838) about ‘Love and Friendschip’, accompanied by guitar or piano. The title page mentions that this song is written ‘to be used by Colbran’. B-Bc 12347.     Consalvo’s variations, written for La Colbran. B-Bc 12375.

‘Mademoiselle Colbran’, engraving by C. Carloni. FEM-194.

‘Dove son io’, titlepage and page from the autograph score by Simon Mayr. B-Bc 12346.     ‘Dove son io’, titlepage and page from the autograph score by Simon Mayr. B-Bc 12346.

The collection Michotte also contains several unique witnesses with information of Rossini’s lifetime in Paris and about the perception of the Italian composer.

Rossini and his wife Olympe Pélissier organised ‘Soirées musicales’, private concerts for a selected audience of invitees. The Rossini collection contains some unique concert programmes.

Rossini also promoted young composers in order to give them the necessary opportunities. A beautiful testimony of Rossini’s support is Bellini’s tie pin. The tradition tells that the still young Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835) gave his golden pin to Rossini on his death bed to express his gratitude.

Programme of the second performance of the then not yet published ‘Petite messe solennelle’ on 24 April 1865. FEM-088.     Concertprograme in Rossini’s handwriting for a performance on Good Friday 1863. Rossini mentions the names of the performers. He programs a few pieces by Haydn and Pergolesi but gives his music a clear preference. FEM-085.

Olympe Pélissier’s personal copy of Rossini’s ‘Staba mater’. A luxury book binding in a velvet band with embossing and gold stamping with her initials. B-Bc 23743.     Golden tie pin with turquoise of which is said to be a gift from the dying Bellini to Rossini. FEM-852.

The collection contains, besides lots of tributes, also odes to the Italian maestro. There are also many publications dedicated to Rossini. It clearly shows that Italian maestro was far from forgotten in the then music world.

’29 February’, composed by Nadaud, dedicated to Rossini for his 18th birthday. It is known that Rossini himself made many jokes about the fact that he was born in leap year. His ‘18th birthday’ took place in 1864. FEM-606.

Luigi Dasti wrote a play on celebrity Rossini, Milano 1863. FEM-833.     Luigi Dasti wrote a play on celebrity Rossini, Milano 1863. FEM-833.

The most impressive iconographical piece is the oil painting of Rossini, made by Tito Marzocchi de Bellucci (1801-1871). Besides this portrait, Rossini is immortalized in quite some engravings and lithographies. On later age Rossini made himself photographed by the famous photographers of his time, such as Nadar (1820-1910) and Numa Blanc (1816-1897). Worth mentioning are also the caricatures of Rossini that appeared in Parisian publications.

Caricature representing a bulky Rossini with a thick pack of interests under the arm. A piece of paper with 'musique facile' sticks out of his left pocket. Behind him the opera is about to collapse. On top is a desperate impresario who can no longer offer new Rossini operas to the busy crowd below. The spotlight praises the composer, but also accuses him of doing nothing: ‘Rare and fertile genius of popular renown, among all Rossini shines at the highest rank. The criticism today knows him only one defect, it is the one to do nothing more.’ This lithograph by Benjamin appeared in Charivari in 1839, ten years after his last opera, and undoubtedly contributed to the 'lazy image' that the Italian composer received. FEM-911.     Portrait of Rossini, oil on canvas, by Tito Marzocchi de Bellucci (1801-1871). Presumably this painting is based on the portrait by Pietro Bettelli from 1808. FEM-944.