Chapter 3

La Passione di Gesu' Cristo by Confidati, from 1813, L'eroina d'Allesandria by Berti, from 1714 and La Rosane by Cicognini, from 1663. Three Italian libretti from three different centuries, in three different formats – from 13 to 15,5 cm -, but each has a different decorative paper wrapping, sadly spoiled by large unsightly stickers, added in the early 20th century.

The smallest book comes from Paris. It is a music almanac from 1821 and thus the most recent of the series, but the paper wrapper from the early 19th century can easily compete with those of the libretti.

The librettist Giacinto Andrea Cicognini (1606-ca. 1650) was one of the most famous opera librettists of his generation. His texts were set to music by composers such as Cavalli and Cesti. His greatest success was Giasone, set to music by Cavalli.

La Rosane or Gl'amore di Alessandro Magno was finished posthumously by an unidentified author. It was later set by Lucio (1651), Ferrari (1656), G.G. Arrigoni (ca. 1657-58) and even later by Boretti (1668). The composer for this version is unknown.

The subtitle of L'eroina d'Allesandria, La Santa Catherina clearly indicates its religious subject. Religious operas were increasingly popular in Rome at the time but this libretto is intended for an oratorium. The music was composed by Antona Berti. The first performance took place in Rome, 1714.

La Passione di Gesu' Cristo, a cantata libretto by Luigi Confidati (1772-1847), printed in Rome, 1813. Despite the religious theme of the libretto, the printer used a purely musical decorative motif.

Le chansonnier des graces, almanac chantant, pour la présente année. The paper wrapping has a simple stamped pattern in two colors, but the overlapping of these colors results in a third color. The calendar in the middle of the publication tells us that the "present year" is 1821.

The small book, barely 10 cm high, contains only text, but in a few cases, such as the poem "Avis à ma femme" [Advise to my wife], the melody to which it can be sung is indicated. This almanac from 1821 clearly tries to captivate its public. The "cliff-hanger" which concludes the work, is only continued in the following issue, the almanac for 1822.


Brussels Conservatory collection, FA-IV-129-3, 21622, 20175, 21353