London: C. and S. Thompson, [n.d., ca. 1775].
First edition. Engraved title-page, engraved table of songs, 57 pp. engraved music. , 58 pp. Oblong 4to. Side-stitched and bound in contemporary marbled boards, modern rebacking in sheep, red morocco spine label. Modest wear to covers, a few light stains. Barclay Squire I, p. 407; BUC I, p. 294; Eitner VI, p. 183; ESTC N67916; RISM V, p. 338; not in Williams. Item #308139
Rare first edition of the score of Sheridan's The Duenna. Following the success of The Rivals, Sheridan engaged the help of his father-in-law, Thomas Linley, Sr, to score the libretto to his next major project, a three-act burlesque opera set in Seville and based loosely on the Spanish honor drama. The score is a mix of original compositions and melodies gathered from Italian opera and Scottish folk ballads (these melodies were harmonized by Linley's son, Thomas Linley, Jr).
The Duenna premiered at Covent Garden on 21 November 1775 and was an immediate success, running for 75 shows in its first season. It was frequently revived through the 19th century, becoming one of the most successful English operas of its time. Byron praised it as "the best opera ever written." The score is printed here in reduced form for voice and accompaniment; no full printed score of the opera exists. Slip-song printings of the text of individual songs were issued in 1775, along with a gathering of the libretto text under the title Songs, Duets, & Trios. The libretto and dialogue were pirated in a Dublin edition in 1777 under the title The Governess and again in 1785 as The Duenna; the first authorized edition was finally published in 1794. In 1940 Prokofiev rescored the libretto as Betrothal in a Monastery.
Rare: ABPC records no copies at auction, and ESTC locates 8 copies (4 at the Bodleian).
Price: $1,750.00 Free International Delivery