Fidelio. Eine Grosse Oper in 2 Aufzügen.
Oblong folio. Engraved piano score with the text. Untrimmed.
First printing of the first edition of Beethoven's only opera; of the utmost rarity. Inscribed on the title page, in Beethoven's own hand, to his benefactor Pasqualati (1777-1830), in whose house the composer then lodged: "Seinem werthen Freunde Baron von Pasqualati vom Verfasser" ("To his dear friend Baron Pasqualati, from the author"). No more than three copies of this first edition bearing Beethoven's autograph inscription are known; the present one is described by Kinsky/Halm as follows: "This copy from the collection of the Society of Friends of the Music in Vienna (cf. no. 893 in the guide-book to the Centenary Exhibition, Vienna 1927) was presented to the conductor Arturo Toscanini by the Austrian Government on 1 November 1934 on the occasion of a performance of Verdi's 'Requiem', directed by him, as a gift of honour (cf. 'Philobiblon' VIII, 6)." - Professionally cleaned with repairs to gutter. Collection stamp of the Society of Friends of the Music in Vienna on title page and verso of final leaf. Beethoven's autograph inscription pencilled across the blank margin of the title page.
The present dedication copy was not publicly shown since the great 1927 exhibition in honour of the centennial of Beethoven's death; it was latterly considered lost (as are the other two dedication copies of "Fidelio" described in the catalogue of Beethoven's works). We acquired it directly from Toscanini's estate in spring 2016.
Literature (all referencing this copy): Beethoven und die Wiener Kultur seiner Zeit (= Führer durch die Beethoven-Zentenarausstellung der Stadt), Wien 1927, 893. Philobiblon VIII (1935), 6. Kinsky/ Halm, Werkverzeichnis Beethoven, 184.