A Cultural Jewel: Ricordi

The Italian music company Ricordi, established in 1808, becomes part of Bertelsmann.

In August 1994, Bertelsmann acquires the traditional Italian music company Ricordi. Established in 1808 by Giovanni Ricordi, it was one of the leading music publishers until well into the 20th century, with world-famous composers such as Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini. In 2004, Bertelsmann contributes the Ricordi label to the Sony BMG joint venture, whose music-publishing business is later sold to Universal (Vivendi). However, all rights to the Ricordi brand and the publisher’s famous archives remain the property of Bertelsmann, and have since been operated as an independent legal entity under the name of “Ricordi & C.,” based in Milan. All of Ricordi & C.’s revenues go to the development and long-term preservation of the archive. Its inventory currently comprises 7,800 original scores of more than 600 operas, some 10 000 libretti, all of the publisher’s business correspondence with composers and librettists, costume sketches, more than 10,000 stage designs and figurines, as well as around 6,000 historical photographs, posters, drawings and prints. The documents allow for tracking the entire genesis of Italian opera in a unique.