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Item 408 - Thomas Hardy Catalog 574 (Jan 2020)

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Scarce ALS, one page both sides, 4.25 x 6.75, Max Gate, Dorchester letterhead, June 26, 1900. Letter to Miss Pendleton at the Hotel Cecil in London, discussing the possible adaptation of his novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles into an opera, in full: "I understand from your letter that Mr. Schenck and yourself contemplate the production of an opera based on 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles'; that you adapt the words of the novel for this work, and he composes the music. I should have no objection to this being done, though I can take no responsibility in the matter. It would probably be necessary that you work straight from the novel, and not from any existing dramatization—for instance Mr. Fiske's: for though I imagine an opera would not injure a play on the same subject, the dramatizer might not approve of his work being used as a basis for your libretto." Matted and framed with engraving of a Hardy medallion to an overall size of 16.75 x 13.5; dual windows to frame backing revealing front of letter and the original mailing envelope addressed by Hardy. In fine condition. Americans Charlotte Pendleton and Elliot Schenck proposed an adaptation of Tess of the d'Urbervilles in early 1900, with Hardy offering to waive the royalties for the first year of production. However, due to there being no record of the opera's performance, it remains unknown whether the project was completed or not. Tess would later be adapted into an Italian opera by Frederic d'Erlanger in 1906, with the initial run halted due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius; Hardy attended the premiere when it came to London three years later.

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