From the first private writing with Rodolfo Bolcioni for the Teatro Costanzi, through Cavallaro, Luis Ducci, Nardi, Sonzogno, Prince Ceretelli, and Raoul Gunsbourg, to name a few, we want to show the ways in which contracts were drafted and also the changes that occurred over time.
In the beginning we have pre-printed forms prepared by the agencies or companies, signed by the company, the artist and, often, also by the agent, in double or triple originals, indicating all the clauses concerning engagements, the works on the program, the season of reference, the theater, the amount of the remuneration and the timing with which it will be paid, and the agencies’ intermediations, which are compensated with commissions ranging from 5 percent (in Italy), 6 percent (other European countries) to 8-10 percent (in overseas countries).
Printed forms are replaced at first by handwritten or typewritten documents, and with the passage of time theatrical agents and agencies appear less ubiquitous and engagements are concluded by ad hoc, variously articulated instruments where commissions are increasingly flexible and negotiated.
Reported here from the Archive is a chronological collection of the contracts that saw him engaged in uninterrupted seasons in every corner of the world to bring to the stage his various beloved characters who contributed so much to the fortunes and success of opera. We have omitted to highlight the increasing size of his fees but it is well documented that Titta Ruffo came to achieve fabulous earnings, a true “enormity or abnormality” as he writes in My Parabola.