12 June 2009
BRUSSELS 1650 -- ZAMPONI, Giuseppe (c. 1619-62, composer) & Ascanio AMALTEO (fl. mid-17th century, librettist). Ulisse all' Isola di Circe. Dramma musicale, in applauso alle nozze augustissime delle maesta di Filippo re di Spagna; et Maria Anna d'Austria. Rappresentato nella sala Regia di Brusselles, l'anno 1650. Brussels: Hubert Anthoine-Velp, 1650.
2o (c. 272 x c. 140 mm, text-leaves and frontispiece mounted or inlaid to match size of unfolded plates to form an album measuring 570 x 355 mm). Etched frontispiece by ROBERT VANDEN HOECKE (1622-68),  56 pages of text, 7 large etchings by B.Q. (signed in reverse on 2 plates) of opera scenes, each within separately engraved architectural proscenium border incorporating a portrait of the royal couple, 6 plates of 3 etchings each of ballet scenes and one additional small ballet etching of Soldati d'Ulisse. (The large plates unfolded and with minor repair tipped into the album, the smaller plates mounted and slightly cropped in a few cases.) 19th-century red half morocco (rebacked). Provenance: Sir William Stirling-Maxwell (1818-78), with his supra-libros and bookplate.
THE FIRST DOCUMENTED OPERA IN THE LOW COUNTRIES, produced with nine scene changes and 13 elaborate machines by GIOVANNI BATTISTA ANGELINI to celebrate the wedding of King PHILIP IV of Spain (1605-1665) with his niece, MARIANA of Austria (1634-96). The ballets by the famous Venetian choreographer, GIOVANNI BATTISTA BALBI, formed an important and integral part of the spectacle. Very rare with all the plates. Berlin 4120; Loewenberg, Annals of Opera p. 14; Stieger, Opernlexikon 1182.
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