Short message to a ‘true friend’ after opera debut appearance sells at Berlin auction house.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Jonathan Franks
On May 2, 1786, the day after the first performance of his opera The Marriage of Figaro in Vienna, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sent a friend a set of punch glasses, with a short note: “Dear friend, whenever you drink punch out of small stemmed glasses, remember your true friend.”
The glasses have not survived, but the note has, and it surfaced in specialist auction house Stargardt’s (20% buyer’s premium) spring sale of autograph manuscripts in Berlin on March 12-13. It realised a substantial €60,000 (£51,725), double the estimate.
As in previous auctions, music manuscripts registered the greatest demand. Major interest emerged for Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s eight-page manuscript for five songs with piano accompaniment from 1837, which found a new owner, an American collector, for €75,000 (£64,655) – almost double the guide.
The highest price of the sale, however, was achieved for an extensive collection, 96 pages in all, with the complete composition of Carl Maria von Weber’s cantata Soli Deo Gloria, dated August 1818.
Stargardt was expecting €65,000 but the hammer fell at €85,000 (£73,275).
The new owner is the University Library in Dresden.