Two years ago today, Dario Salvi contacted us at Mills Music Library to say the Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain was looking to produce Franz von Suppé’s 1883 operetta Die Afrikareise (A Trip To Africa) in 2016, and they were in need of orchestral parts, scores, promptbooks, and dialogue books, all of which we had in our Tams-Witmark Wisconsin Collection. Salvi said they had not been able to locate these materials anywhere else in the world, despite having “contacts everywhere.” He was inquiring about the possibility of receiving scans of the material, so they might be able to mount their production. Thus began the correspondence that lead to us digitizing all the materials necessary for the production, which are now also available online via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. Two days ago, the concert-performance occurred at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich, England, with Salvi conducting the Imperial Vienna Orchestra–joined by the Octagon singers, soloists and a cast of eight principals–as previewed in this Eastern Daily Press article. The article mentions that the last known performance of A Trip to Africa was in Italy in 1922. (No review has been posted yet, but watch this space.)
Earlier this year, Salvi and his wife, Hannah, published A Trip to Africa: A Comic Opera by Franz von Suppé, a book of their compiled research, which includes the libretto in English, German, and Italian, as well as an appendix of historical reviews. In his Preface, Salvi thanks “the amazing staff” at University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. We at Mills Music Library are glad to know materials from one of our Special Collections helped Salvi realize his vision of reviving this long dormant operetta.