View Full Version : For Sale: An 82-piece Operatic Photo and Ephemera Collection!

August 21st, 2014, 08:48 PM
A local friend purchased an operatic photo collection in 2013 at auction in Whitehall, New York. The collection contains 81 pieces, most of which are photographs which revolve closely around the operatic world of Maria Callas and Franco Corelli, but include many other operatic stars from their orbit. The only knowledge that we have concerning the original collector is that he lived in the Hudson Valley of New York State and worked for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. This information came from the Nicholas Deutsch, owner and operator of Nicholas Deutsch Auctions of Whitehall, New York. Whitehall lies at the northern end of the Hudson Valley and it is entirely feasible that such a collection could appear as a consignment in Whitehall.

The owner of the photo collection is not connected to the internet and asked me to catalog the collection and sell it. I agreed so to do, although we disagreed in approach. My friend desired to sell the photos individually on Ebay, and I felt that if possible, the collection should be sold as a collection. I realize that the collection may well be broken apart, but at least, I feel better knowing that members of the Opera Lively family may see it and that some or all of the collection may find a new home among this family.

This is my first attempt at listing such a collection and being unfamiliar with many of the photos, I researched and described them to the best of my ability, but I may have made some errors in identifying opera titles, etc., please excuse me if you should spot errors.

I do not know how to attach digital images of the actual photos, nor understand if it is in keeping with forum etiquette, i.e., I imagine the photos would occupy a huge amount of space, which seems rude! If anyone has an idea how to show the photos, though, please let me know. Or contact me and I will be happy to send scanned images, and for those seriously interested in purchasing, I would guess that the photos could be sent by US Post for you to peruse.

We did not have the autographs professionally authenticated, but we believe they are able to stand up to scrutiny. We are confident of the collection’s integrity based upon its appearance, age and quality, and information gathered from the auctioneer.

The owner wishes to ask for the price of $2,400 for the entire collection – bear in mind that there are three large Callas photos which she autographed, one of which is inscribed to Franco (Corelli). There are many valuable and fine photos of Callas and Corelli as you will see listed in the catalog.

Please take a look at the catalog and feel free to ask any questions whatsoever, I will reply promptly.

Thank you, Luiz, for allowing me to add this information to your Opera Lively forum.



1. CALLAS, 11x14 AUTOGRAPHED, Framed. From the 1958 Verdi "La Traviata" ICA Classics record album
Photo shoot picture (not exactly like the record cover). Maria is wearing a black, off the shoulder gown, long white gloves with her hair centered in a bun at her neck.

2. CALLAS, 8 x 10, AUTOGRAPHED, Framed, in Puccini’s "Madame Butterfly", and dated 1961. This photo has Maria in costume posed in a kneeling position with upturned hands. According to some, this photo was taken at Maria’s home, and is possibly rare even among her autographed photos.

3. CALLAS, 11 x 14, AUTOGRAPHED AND INSCRIBED TO FRANCO (CORELLI?), Framed 1967. Maria is dressed in a dark colored contemporary dress, with pearls and upswept hair.

4. CALLAS, 9 x 13, Framed , and in costume with long hair in Bellini’s, "Norma"

5. CALLAS, 9 x 13, large close-up in costume. Stunningly beautiful -- Possibly as Cherubini’s Medea, I have not seen another photo of Maria like this. The braided hairband cresting her forehead is similar to photo #32, (Norma or Medea?)

6. CALLAS AND CORELLI, 9.5 X 13.5; Both in costume with Corelli standing before Callas wearing a brocaded gown with white shoes, seated on a swing – Callas as Fedora in Umberto Giordano’s opera, "Fedora"

7. Two small vinyl records, 33 rpm., FRANCO CORELLI dressed casually in a dark sweater jacket standing by a light colored, convertible sports car, “A Remembrance from Franco Corelli”
8. CORELLI, 4 x 6 photo, in white tie as Loris in "Fedora"

9. FRANCO CORELLI’S OBITUARY removed from the November 8, 2003 edition of "The Economist"

10. RARE, UNIQUE – HANDWRITTEN, affectionate tribute of sheet music with notes and lyrics, written on onion skin stationery [TO FRANCO] “In Memory of Seoul and Hong Kong, 1981” apparently penned on an aircraft

11. CORELLI, 5 x 7, AUTOGRAPHED, 1961 sitting, dressed in a shirt and sports jacket, PUBLICITY PHOTO

12. CORELLI, 5 x 7, AUTOGRAPHED, standing in short tunic costume (Teatro Al . . . Franco . . . .)

13. CORELLI, 8 x 10,"Turandot", Winnie Klotz photo, Metro Opera Assn., Lincoln Center, Corelli in costume of fur hat,
and long dark cloak

14. CORELLI, 5 x 7, RARE EARLY PHOTO DISCOVERED AS BACKING BEHIND ANOTHER PHOTO! possibly as Pollione in "Norma", 1953, dressed in floor-length white robe, wearing earring, white and brown hair.

15. CORELLI, three 4 X 5 photos of Corelli dressed in costume as Don Carlo taken backstage. In one holding his record album, FRANCO CORELLI IN RECITAL VERIDANO, and two others standing backstage speaking with fans and press -- 1964

16. CORELLI, 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 prints of same photo , in theatrical costume with white collar, sitting in chair.

17. CORELLI, 8 x 10, in costume, looking downward holding something in hands.

18. CORELLI, 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 prints of same photo, wearing black tuxedo with white collar, not smiling, expressive eyes.

19. CORELLI, (2) PRINTS OF RARE PHOTO, wearing a suit and tie, standing outside holding a Nikon camera in hands, Milano, 1965, Rudolph Betz photo.

20. CORELLI, 5 x 7, with combed back hair and mustache, dressed in suit and tie, sitting on the hood of sports car near a garden wall.

21. CORELLI, 5x7, very similar to #20, but a different shot and states, Farabola –RIPB, Vietata, Milano, 1964, 464207/31

22. CORELLI, 5x7, Private photo taken in a home setting, sitting at table with candelabra

23. CORELLI AUTOGRAPHED, 7 x 10 program, “Star Spangled Gala”, May 9, 1991 at the Plaza Hotel, New York City, presented by the Puccini Foundation

24. CORELLI, 5 sheets of 8 x 10 inch advertisements, with handwritten “Opera Auditions” notice on the back of two – facsimile o Franco Corelli’s photo is featured Hudson Opera Theater Gala Benefit, 2.9.91, SUNY at Purchase, New York (an Italian telephone number was penned on the back of one sheet – wish I discovered this 25 years ago!)

25. CALLAS/CORELLI, 8 x 10, Corelli standing before Callas dressed in brocaded gown sitting on swing. (Same as #6, but smaller)

26. CALLAS/CORELLI/AND UNKNOWN SINGER, POSSIBLY BERGONZI, 8 x 10, all dressed in satin costumes RARE!

27. CALLAS, 8 x 10, in costume with black cloak over white dress, right arm extended upward. Bottom printing states CALLAS . . . TEA(tro)

28. CALLAS AND GIULIETTA SIMIONATO, 5 x 7, in costume, "ANA BOLENA", 1957


30. CALLAS, 8 x 10, in costume, upper body shot, dressed in black gown with long hair as "MEDEA"

31. CALLAS AND UNKNOWN FEMALE, POSSIBLY GIULIETTA SIMIONATO, 8 x 10, swept back long hair, long cloaks, seated by rock wall.

32. CALLAS AND UNKNOWN MALE, 8 x 10, Callas with braided hairband and dark robe, and the bearded male dressed in a light colored robe and tunic, holding a staff. Possibly the same performance as photos #5, and #33, "NORMA"

33. CALLAS, 8 x 10, same as above with braided hairband

34. CALLAS, 5 x 7, light colored hair, "La Vestale", 1954, 1955, in an appearance of weeping

35. CALLAS, 8 x 10, same as #34, but larger

36. CALLAS, 8 x 10, similar to #’s 34, 35, but in a gazing downward position with furrowed brow

37. CALLAS, 6 x 9, 3 glossy Bel Canto Exhibit advertisements for the Metropolitan Opera exhibition of memorabilia, featuring Maria Callas in "La Vestale" at La Scala

38. CALLAS, 8 x 10, "TURANDOT", costumed in the famously elaborate pearled headdress, photo by Hurok Attractions, N.Y. 19, N.Y.

was featured in the magazine for his performance as Tristan. It appears to be inscribed, “To
Franco Corelli, for being a great fan, Sincerely Ramon Vinay” (however, I am unsure if it says

40. MAGDA OLIVERO, AUTOGRAPHED, 4 x 7, matted sketch reproduction.

41. MAGDA OLIVERO, 5 x 7, in "ADRIANA LE COUREUR" in dressing room with hairdresser and others; photo by Gerald Fitzgerald/OPERA NEWS, NYC – NOTATED.

42. MAGDA OLIVERO, 8 x 10, standing in gowned costume next to a person in contemporary dress, photo by Erika Davidson

43. UNKNOWN (2), 8 x 10, AUTOGRAPHED photo of a woman dressed in a leopard coat, wearing sunglasses & holding a bouquet of roses who is standing next to a gentleman dressed in a suit and tie. Although the photo is autographed, we cannot determine who signed it -- photo by The Picture Desk, New Jersey

44. SAME UNKNOWN FIGURES AS ABOVE plus one additional gentleman, 8 x 10, photo by Erika Davidson

45. UNKNOWN female, 5 x 7, AUTOGRAPHED, dressed in gown and head dress.


47. UNKNOWN female, 8 x 10, three small shots of same woman with her dog

48. SANTA ?, 8 x 10, AUTOGRAPHED to Frank & Tina, Hartford, CT 3.9.73, photo by Sylvian Ofiara, Manchester, Connecticut


50. UNKNOWN Female, dressed in black gown, dark hair

51. UNKNOWN Male, 8 x 10, man dressed in top coat and top hat, 1850’s era, with book in hands, the name Gratale is penciled on the back of the photo.


53. UNKNOWN FEMALE, 8 x 10, AUTOGRAPHED TO FRANCO, FROM JOANN, dark haired young woman dressed in Victorian era dark skirt, white blouse and striped jacket

54. LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR – GALA PREMIER PROGRAM of November 19, 1992, new production premier – BEVERLY SILLS, Gala Chairman. Beautiful program with sketch of costume on cover

55. ANTONIO BARASORDA, (2) 5 x 7 glossy photos as Carvaradossi in TOSCA , Foto de Rota, Trieste

56. LEONARD WARREN, 8 x 10, as Verdi's, "Simon Boccanegra", 1939 – 1940, Hurak Attractions, 714 Fifth Avenue, New York 22 – Martin Feinstein, Publicity Director

57. MICHIO ITO, post card reproduction, 1926 as Pierrot, photographer Nichaolas Murray

58. MATTEO MANUGUERRA, AUTOGRAPHED, 4 x 5, Photo by J. Hoffmann, Metropolitan Opera

59. FEDORA BARBIERI, AUTOGRAPHED, 5 x 7, dressed in costume as Ulrica in Verdi’s "UN BALLO IN MASCHERA", Teatro Massimo Bellini, Giovanni Consoli, Photographer

60. FEDORA BARBIERI, 5 x 7, costumed in toga and tunic, standing on stairway with lyre in hand, in Monteverdi’s, "L’ ORFEO"

61. ADRIANA MALIPONTE, costumed in gown and the other in a suit, in two small color photos, one is AUTOGRAPHED TO FRANCO, one is NOTATED “Franco”, J. Hoffmann, PHOTOGRAPHER, Metropolitan Opera

62. BIRGIT NILSSON, 8 x 10, in "Salome", Possibly autographed or notated

63. UNKNOWN, POSSIBLY BIRGIT NILSSON in costume, 8 x 10, in costume PHOTOGRAPHER Louis Peres

64. GIULETTA SIMIONATO AS Anneris in Verdi’s, "Aida", 8 x 10, in gown and headdress plus one small snap shot

65. SHIRLEY VARET in costume and elaborate headdress, 8 x 10, Louis Melancon , PHOTOGRAPHER, Metropolitan Opera, NYC



68. UNKNOWN MALE, 8 x 10, dressed in costume as clown Paggliacci

69. UNKNOWN FEMALES (2), in restaurant or banquet setting, 8 x 10

70. UNKNOWN FEMALES (2) , in restaurant setting, 8 x 10

71. UNKNOWN MALE, 5 x 7, and 3 ½ x 4 ½ in costume

72. UNKNOWN FEMALE, 8 x 10, STUNNING PHOTO -- standing in street dress with buttoned front

73. UNKNOWN OLDER FEMALE, 8 x 10 dressed in heavy costume

74. UNKNOWN FEMALE, 8 x 10, dressed in white lacy, brocaded gown

75. UNKNOWN MALE, 8 x 10, dressed in formal attire, “COURTESY OF LONDON RECORDS”

76, 77, 78, UNKNOWN MALES AND FEMALES in DON GIOVANI,, 8 x 10, stage photos by PHOTOGRAPHER Sylvian Ofiara, of Manchester, Connecticut

79. MUSIC SHEETS (5), J. Massenet "HERODIADE, AIR DE SALOME" , AUGOTRAPHED by musicians from performance dated March 15, 1987, (Charles Rosenkrans, Frank Gratale, etc.)

80. Unknown Female, in costume of long gown singing on stage. Possibly Maria Callas as MEDEA

81. UNKNOWN, POSSIBLY CALLAS, 9 ½ X 9 ½ photo of female dressed in costume standing in spotlight on darkened stage, dressed in a Roman or Greek styled floor length robe, wavy hair set back on head with left arm extended straight outward and with her right hand over her heart.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
August 23rd, 2014, 08:11 PM
You're welcome, Nadine. Uploading photos to Opera Lively is not a problem; we got enough bandwidth and we already have thousands of photos uploaded to the site. I'd be careful, though, because anybody anywhere in the world can download images from Opera Lively so if you post good pictures of your friend's photo collection, instead of purchasing them, people will just download them. Maybe you should instead spread a set of the photos on a table and take a distant picture of them.

Me, I'd love to have such a collection but I can't afford the $2,400 price tag, at this moment. I hope someone gets interested and your friend gets the money. By the way, I'd think that our friend Dark Angel, the biggest Callas fan we have here, might be interested. He hasn't seen this thread yet; I'll send him a message to bring his attention to it.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
August 24th, 2014, 12:53 AM
OK, Nadine, our friend Dark Angel told me he is not personally interested, but also gave some advice. He said the unsigned pictures should be of little value since plenty of similar pictures are available everywhere for free. The ones signed by Callas, however, could be very valuable since such pictures are the most expensive ones in the marketplace - Callas is ahead of any other singer in this regard. He gave examples of web sites that sell them, and there are some offered by as much as $2,150 for one photo, so your friend might be better off selling the three Callas autographed photos and might make more money out of these three than the $2,400 asked for the entire collection. The Corelli autographed ones might be of some value as well.