Profiles in History will offer an exceedingly rare manuscript leaf from Bizet's (1838-1875) Carmen in its December 17 auction, A Celebration of Music: The Property of a Private Collector.
The auction will take place in California, offering some of the finest classical music memorabilia including manuscript sheet music, autographs and other materials.
The Bizet manuscript is one of the most valuable lots in the sale, estimated at $40,000-60,000. Carmen is one of the most famous of all operas, yet only one other manuscript leaf has appeared at auction since 1975.
The present leaf is for Act 1 Scene 10, in which Carmen beguiles Jose with a seguidilla (an old Castilian folk song) about a night of dancing and passion in Lillas Pastia's tavern. It is this catalyst that makes Jose agree to free Carmen's hands, facilitating her escape, and landing Jose in jail.
Also starring is the complete manuscript of 1930s composer George Gershwin's By Strauss, with the complete song written out in Gershwin's own hand.
Gershwin's manuscripts are rarely found at auction, and Profiles in History states that the last example of comparable length was sold at auction more than 25 years ago, warranting the $75,000-125,000 estimate.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a musical manuscript from jazz legend John Coltrane for sale.