Maretzek Italian Opera: Zampa

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Carl Bergmann

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
9 January 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

17 Apr 1867, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Zampa, ou La fiancée de marbre; Zampa, or The Marble Fiancée
Composer(s): Hérold
Text Author: Mélesville


Announcement: New York Sun, 16 April 1867, 4.
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 17 April 1867.
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 18 April 1867, 8.

The theater was filled. Although the audience was unmoved, the soloists performed satisfactorily, as did the orchestra.

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 19 April 1867, 2.

“…With the exception of the masterpieces of Mozart and Meyerbeer, Zampa is the most interesting work that Mr. Maretzek has brought out during the present season. Its performance on Wednesday night at the Academy was only a reproduction, but one which had all the force of novelty, since the too brief career of Zampa last season, be it said to the discredit of public taste, did not suffice to make it familiar to the community of opera-goers. Zampa belongs to a high class of operas, which, always original if never great, impress the world more than respectably. Herold, the composer of this work, had great talents, and within the scope of his style and ambition, has written it ably throughout. Not in every instance absolutely fresh, the music is never quite unindividual or inartistic. Its choruses are sound and striking, and for original outlaw melody in the true piratical romantic style, commend us to the manly air and chorus in the familiar drinking scene. What is known as the Prayer aria is a simple and, we might add, profound melody, than which nothing better could be desired. The instrumentation throughout the work is distinctively fine, and the scenes are generally life-like. Zampa himself is bold and sonorous—a tenor of high rank, as personated by our over-rapturous but somewhat energetic Mazzoleni. Dandolo has some good buffo work, worthy for half a scene or so of a talent like Ronconi’s and Bellini has a tolerably brusque part in Daniel Capuzzi. Alphonse, as performed by a mild tenor like Signor Testa, is fair enough for his music, which in a passage or two is capital. Camille is a good part, but after allowing Madame Poch’s dramatic capacity therein, we must object to her false musical expression. The air in the fourth scene of the first act could hardly have been given with less conception of its genuine beauty; and yet Madame Poch is a leading lady who, as respects stage knowledge and vocal power, does not appear to be a bankrupt. Madame Testa’s part made little impression outside of concerted music, and this reminds us to say that Zampa is especially good in this element. In a manner musician-like and creative Herold has given all of his characters something to say; and he is never ultra-French and volatile. Zampa, as a story, much resembles in its statuesque effect Mozart’s Don Juan, and it is quite apparent in portions of the work that the universality of the great master has influenced him to his credit. This is particularly true of Herold’s orchestra. The statue of the marble lady rises out of the tomb to terrify a bridal train on its way to church, and the orchestra accompanies this apparition with a faint but lively hint of the dance;--something of the same relevant-irrelevant effect may be found in Mozart. Like Don Juan, Zampa is called a comic opera, and both are undeniable comedies in the sense of Dante’s purgatory, but there is every difference between Mozart’s blending of the tragic, comic, and Herold’s; for whereas in Don Giovanni everything contributes to bring out the awful effect of the strong commendatore, in Zampa, on the contrary, the ‘Statue Bride’ is made too familiar, and once, at least, seems a preposterous apparition. But the story possesses a romantic element surpassed by few in the range of opera. So much we have to offer on behalf of Zampa, and in the interest of its frequent repetition.”