Printed score of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, as used by Mahler for conducting the Vienna premiere on November 19, 1897. Published in Hamburg: D. Rahter, 1890. Hardcover, 8 x 10.75, 219 pages. Extensively hand-corrected throughout by Mahler in pencil and blue crayon, making various edits, corrections, deletions, and notes for his interpretation of the work. Mahler also noted the names of the actors in black ink next to the cast listing on the first page. In very good condition, with edges worn, hinges reinforced, and a few pages loose or reattached. Originates from the estate of the Wagner tenor Hermann Winkelmann (1847–1912), who had known Mahler personally. After Winkelmann’s death, the present score was given to his son, Eduard Walter Winkelmann, who saved it after the WWII bombing of Osnabruck—one of the few family pieces salvaged from the rubble. It was inherited by his son. Hugo Hermann Winkelmann (1912–2006), and given by him as a present to his daughter Heidelinde. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Hugo Hermann Winkelmann, in part (translated): “This piano score was used by Gustav Mahler for the Vienna premiere of ‘Eugene Onegin’ at the Vienna Court Opera on November 19, 1897. The handwritten entries including text and tonal changes are from Mahler’s hand, as my father told.”
Prior to the Vienna premiere in which Mahler used this score, he had conducted its German debut in Hamburg on January 19, 1892, in the presence of Tchaikovsky himself. Showered with praise, Tchaikovsky attributed the terrific success of the production to Mahler, whom he described as ‘not some average sort, but simply a genius burning with a desire to conduct.’ The ultimate goal of Mahler’s career was to obtain an appointment in Vienna, and he at last joined the Vienna Court Opera in May 1897 as a staff conductor and director-designate, pending confirmation of his appointment as director by the emperor, which he received in October. His production of Eugene Onegin came the following month, and it was performed a total of 20 times during his decade-long tenure with the company. This hand-edited score is a wonderful treasure of operatic history, representing one of Tchaikovsky’s crowning achievements as well as an important moment in Mahler’s conducting career. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.