Gobbi, Tito (1915-1984)
Scope:
The Tito Gobbi collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, photographs, audio, artwork, and personal memorabilia.

The manuscripts in the collection is the final draft of Gobbi’s autobiography My Life (1979). Also present are three letters regarding Ida Cook, the ghost-writer who helped Gobbi write his autobiography in English.

Correspondence in the collection is extensive. The letters are all professional in nature, though some are rather personal in tone. All the correspondence is arranged into subject files. Most of the items are letters sent to Gobbi from various individuals and institutions. Also present are many drafts of letters from Gobbi; most of these were actually written by Gobbi’s wife Tilde Gobbi (Matilde de Rensis) and signed by Tito. Some legal and financial material is included with the letters. Prominent subjects include record companies, publishers, theaters and concerts, Italian theaters and concerts, master classes, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, film appearances, radio and television appearances, Opera magazine.

Notable correspondents include Carol Fox, Rudolf Bing, Risë Stevens, Renata Tebaldi, Huw Weldon, David Webster, Bernard Gavoty, Renato Cioni, Issay Dobrowen, Pino Donati, Tullio Serafin, Vittorio Gui, Egidio Ortona, Peter Mennin, Peter Herman Adler, Orazio Frugoni, Harold Rosenthal, and Dmitri Shostakovich
Printed material in the collection includes Gobbi’s opera scores, most with extensive notations and markings. Several have detailed sketches regarding floor plans, scenery, costumes, stage directions, and other aspects of the production.

Titles include Wozzeck, by Alban Berg; Lucia di Lammermoor, by Gaetano Donizetti; Andrea Chènier, by Umberto Giordano; Pagliacci, by R. Leoncavallo; Don Giovanni, by W. A. Mozart; Gianni Schicchi, Il Tabarro, and Tosca, by Giacomo Puccini; Il Barbiere di Siviglia, by Gioacchino Rossini; and Falstaff, Nabucco, Otello, and Simon Boccanegra, by Giuseppe Verdi. Also present are scores formerly owned by Italo Tajo, some with his own notes and markings; these titles are La Wally, by Alfredo Catalani; Adriana Lecouvreur, by Francesco Cilèa; and Rigoletto, by Guiseppe Verdi. The latter work includes notes and markings by both Tajo and Gobbi.

Other printed material in the collection includes theater programs from various performances by Gobbi, either on stage or directed by him (1939-1983); various printed newspaper clippings (1930s-1988) and magazines, including runs of About the House (published by the Friends of Covent Garden; 1963-1984), Opera (1950-1985); Opera News (1965-1984); and Encore, published by the Tito Gobbi International Music Club (only two issues published, 1949 and 1951); items regarding Villa Schifanoia and the Tito Gobbi International Singing Competition (1971-1984); sheet music for “Take the Sun,” a song featured in the film The Glass Mountain (1948); a few items from Gobbi’s campaign for Parliament as a member of the Partito Leberale Italiano; and various other items.

Photographs in the collection primarily consist of black and white prints, with some color prints and slides present. Subjects include Gobbi’s various opera and film roles; Gobbi at various events, competitions, and award ceremonies; family photographs; Gobbi traveling; Gobbi with friends, colleagues, and various others; portraits of Gobbi; and Villa Schifanoia.

Audio in the collection primarily consists of cassette recordings of performances by Gobbi. Titles include Un Ballo in Maschera; Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Lucia di Lammermoor; Madama Butterfly; Cavalleria Rusticana; Don Carlo; Pagliacci; Rigoletto; Simon Boccanegra ; and excerpts from various operas. Also present is a compact disc recording of Gobbi in Tosca .

Artwork in the collection primarily consists of works by Gobbi in various media, including pencil, ink, watercolor, and oil paint. Subjects include caricatures and sketches of various individuals (including Maria Callas, Boris Christoff, and Victoria de Los Angeles); landscapes, cityscapes, and still lifes; stagings for various opera productions; a large painting with images symbolizing Gobbi’s life; eand other subjects. Also present are several drawings and watercolors by Pauline Clark (a fan and friend of Gobbi’s), a study of Gobbi as the character Gianni Schicchi, by Leonard Boden (printed reproduction); and other works by various artists. The collection also includes Gobbi’s paintbrushes, palette, and other art supplies, as well as two clay heads sculpted by Gobbi.

Personal memorabilia in the collection includes several awards; Gobbi’s pipe; a small table cloth with embroidering by Tilde Gobbi, used by Tito in his dressing room on the make-up table; items from theatrical costumes; a theater model with a stage setting for Falstaff, by Gobbi; and various other items.

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Notable Figures
1. Gobbi, Tito
Associated Subjects
1. Music Collections Subject Guide
2. Italian Collections Subject Guide