Lillian Russell - Autograph Letter Signed 02/08/1899 For SaleLILLIAN RUSSELL
Russell handwrote, signed and dated this letter to a Mrs. Drake in 1899. In it, Russell invited Drake and a friend to see her in the Offenbach comic opera La Belle Heléne.
ALS: "Lillian Russell", 2 pages, 4½x6½, 1 sheet folded, front and verso, on Russell's monogrammed stationery with blue-grey border. Feb. 8, 1899. Addressed to "Mrs Drake". In full: "My dear Mrs Drake I send you with pleasure the box for Sat. matinee. I hope you and your friend will find some pleasure in La Belle Heléne. Very Cordially Yours". La Belle Heléne was a comic opera by Offenbach about Helen of Troy and Second Empire politics. This letter probably makes reference to a Casino Theatre production of the opera's third and final run on Broadway, which played 68 performances at three venues between Jan. 12, 1899 and June of that same year. The Casino Theatre, at 1404 Broadway, was built in 1882 and demolished in 1930. Russell (1860-1922, born Helen Louise Leonard in Clinton, Iowa) was an American light soprano who won acclaim in operettas by Gilbert & Sullivan and Jacques Offenbach. Known as much for her beauty as for her flamboyant life style, Russell first appeared on stage in the chorus of H. M. S. Pinafore in 1879. She made her first appearance on Broadway in 1880. By 1891, she was the star of the Lillian Russell Opera Company and was one of the most popular singing actresses in New York until her retirement in 1912. Lightly toned. Handwriting and signature are faded in places but legible. Chipped along spine of letter. Folded once and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition.
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