Paris (AFP) – The first draft of music Mozart wrote for the last act of his opera “The Marriage of Figaro” failed to find a buyer when it went under the hammer in Paris Wednesday.
The manuscript — which experts had billed as “exceptional”, dating from the height of the composer’s career in 1786 — was expected to sell for half a million euros ($578,000).
But a draft of Schumann’s oratorio “Scenes from Goethe’s Faust” did go for 650,000 euros.
The almost complete manuscript of Schumann’s masterpiece “containing several versions from the first sketches until the orchestration” was described as “an extraordinary item” by the French auction house Ader Nordmann.
The manuscripts are part of a vast sell-off by the French state of the collection amassed by the collapsed investment firm Aristophil.
It was shut down amid a scandal three years ago, taking 850 million euros ($1 billion) of its investors’ money with it.
The 130,000 manuscripts and historical documents that Aristophil had its investors sink their savings into are now being disposed of in auctions over the next six years run by Ader Nordmann and three other French auction houses, Artcurial, Drouot Estimations and Aguttes.