Bohème by Giacomo Puccini, autograph score, 1895
“The Archivio Ricordi is a cathedral of music, unique in the world”
The Archive is unique for several reasons. The wealth of documents alone is impressive. It consists of around 8.000 manuscript scores, over 10.000 librettos from the 17th to the 20th century, over 15.000 letters from composers and librettists, over 10.000 stage designs and figurines (stage costumes painted on dolls), over 6.000 photographs, posters, drawings and prints. With its diverse inventory, the archive provides unparalleled information about the history and aesthetics of opera in the 19th and 20th centuries — the “golden age” of Italian opera in the 19th century, from about 1830 to 1910, the time of change in the first decade of the 20th century and the following decades until 1945, and the post-war period with its significant innovations to the opera genre in Italy. The archive also tells the history of Italy’s foremost music publishing company, which had an international impact and also was formative in the general history of music.