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MS Russ 46.15

Volkonskaia, Zinaida Aleksandrovna, kniaginia, 1792-1862, collector. Zinaida Alexsandrovna Volkonskaia collection of music manuscripts: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Russ 46.15
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Volkonskaia, Zinaida Aleksandrovna, kniaginia, 1792-1862, collector.
Title: Zinaida Alexsandrovna Volkonskaia collection of music manuscripts,
Date(s): 1807-1847 and undated.
Quantity: 1 collection (4 boxes and 15 volumes (3.2 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in French, Italian, and Russian.
Abstract: Personal collection of music of the Russian princess and amateur singer, containing full and vocal scores of entire operas, of arias and duets, and music albums of the Volkonsky family.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

*66M-201. Purchased from Barone Basilio Lemmerman, Rome, Italy, with the Kilgour Fund and the funds of the Friends of the Harvard College Library; received: 1967 Feb. 14.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Barbara Wolff.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Zinaida Alexsandrovna Volkonskaia Collection of Music Manuscripts (MS Russ 46.15). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Separated Materials

This collection was acquired with the literary papers of Zinaida Volkonskaia: fMS Russ 46 - 46.14, which also includes four small musical compositions by Fidele Bruni, Luigi Orsini, and Achille Tari (fMS Russ 46.8 , item nos. (22), (34), (58), and (65)).

Biographical / Historical

The Russian princess, Zinaida Volkonskaia, moved in political, literary, and musical circles during the first half of the 19th century, and counted among her close friends Alexander I, emperor of Russia, Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol, Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin, Victor Hugo, Stendhal, Gaetano Donizetti, Mikail Sergeevich Glinka, and Gioacchino Rossini. A highly gifted and multitalented artist with an excellent mezzo soprano, Zinaida was host of famous salons, both in her palace in Moscow and later in her villa in Rome, as well as being the featured artist in numerous appearances at private soirées throughout Europe. For further biographical information, see André Trofimoff, La princesse Zénaïde Wolkonsky (Rome, 1966), Maria Fairweather, The pilgrim princess. A life of princess Zinaida Volkonsky (London, 1999), and Bayara Aroutunova, Lives in letters : Princess Zinaida Volkonskaya and her correspondence (Columbus, Ohio, 1994). Aroutunova established ZV's birthdate as 1789.


Organized into the following series:

Scope and Contents

The literary and musical papers were acquired from the Russian émigré and Roman collector Barone Basilio Lemmerman who had purchased them beween 1917 and 1966. This part of the collection, consisting mainly of operatic music from the first half of the 19th century, reflects Zinaida's repertoire and are the original scores from which she and her circle performed. Rossini's opera Tancredi and Cimarosa's Gli Orazi e i Curiazi, works in which she sang the leading role (Verona, 1815 and Rome, 1821), are included in full score, besides the single arias and also duets, her favorite genre in social appearances. Of her own compositions this collection includes the autograph 2nd act and arias of her opera Giovanna d'Arco (printed and first performed in Rome, 1821). Most manuscripts are written by professional copyists, and many disbound from earlier bound collections. Performance markings are mainly vocal embellishments and text alterations. Included also are four musical albums, including compositions of ZV's family. Together with their charming counterparts, the albums of poetry and drawings found in ZV's papers, they bear witness to the breadth of this family's and their friends' culture and talents.

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