Grau Italian Opera: Martha

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Jacob Grau

Emanuele Muzio

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
12 August 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

02 Feb 1863, Evening

Program Details

Barili could be Nicolo Barili, the basso who was in Grau's Havana Opera Company in 1862 (See VBL3, p.470) or Ettore, who also performed with the Grau Company.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Martha, oder Der Markt zu Richmond; Martha, or The Market at Richmond
Composer(s): Flotow
Text Author: Friedrich
Participants:  Grau Havana Opera Company;  Pasquale Brignoli (role: Lyonel);  Augustino Susini (role: Plumkett);  Catarina Morensi (role: Nancy);  Clara Louise Kellogg (role: Lady Harriet Durham);  Nicolo Barili (role: Sir Tristan Mickleford)


Announcement: New York Herald, 12 January 1863, 3.
“We have said but little as regards the shortcomings of our operatic manager [Grau] in the matter of choral assistants, but as he now has a week before him ere he commences again his second grand season, we must impress upon Mr. Grau that his force in the choral department is inefficient, that the choruses are badly sung, not sufficiently rehearsed, and that the want of ensemble destroys the effect of the best operas. This may be remedied, and, in fact, must be attended to, if Manager Grau expects to produce the coming novelties in a satisfactory manner. We are pleased to hear that during this week the promised operas will be well rehearsed. Unless this is done the public will not duly appreciate the grand works announced which require careful and repeated rehearsals. It is not sufficient that the prominent roles should be well sung. The whole opera must be well rendered in order that a proper appreciation and enjoyment of the performance may be assured. We are aware that Manager Grau finds it a hard matter to procure chorus singers, but due diligence will succeed we do not doubt, if a liberal compensation is offered.”
Advertisement: New York Herald, 12 January 1863, 7.
“The Celebrated Havana Opera Company.”
Announcement: New-York Times, 16 January 1863, 8.
“Signor Brignoli is so far recovered that there is hardly a doubt about his being able to resume his position at the Academy, on Monday next, if the season should commence that day. Mr. Grau, the enterprising manager, has been himself seriously indisposed for several days, but is now nearly convalescent.”
Announcement: New-York Times, 17 January 1863.
“We are sorry to learn that Signor Brignoli is still too unwell to warrant Mr. Grau in resuming the season at the Academy of Music on Monday next. There is, indeed, much uncertainty as to when it will be resumed, for Signor Brignoli’s throat trouble is of a kind that must be thoroughly cured ere he can venture on the violent irritation of singing. Eight or ten days are mentioned as the probable duration of the tenor’s forced repose. This hiatus is singularly unfortunate for Mr. Grau, inasmuch as it renders it hardly worth his while to produce ‘Giovanna D’Arco,’ and ‘Robert le Diable’ during the brief season that remains to him.”
Announcement: New-York Times, 26 January 1863, 5.
“Signor Brignoli’s health is steadily improving, and it is hoped that we may yet have a short season of Italian opera, ere Mr. Maretzek arrives from Havana.”
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 26 January 1863.
“What the war has not been able to effect, namely to put a ban on the portals of the muse, one single case of hoarseness, that of the first tenor, Signor Brignoli, has been able to achieve.”
Announcement: New York Post, 27 January 1863, 2.
“Brignoli has entirely recovered from his indisposition, and Mr. Grau is enabled to announce a series of four performances.”
Announcement: New York Herald, 28 January 1863, 4.
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 28 January 1863.
Announcement: New York Post, 30 January 1863, 2.
Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 30 January 1863.
Announcement: Dwight's Journal of Music, 31 January 1863, 352.
“[T]here will be, positively, two or three nights of opera by the Grau troupe.”
Announcement: New York Herald, 31 January 1863, 4.
“[A] large number of tickets are already sold.”
Announcement: New-York Times, 31 January 1863, 4.
“Brignoli has entirely recovered from his indisposition, and . . . Grau has resolved on giving a final week of opera prior to his departure for Boston.”
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 31 January 1863.
Announcement: New York Herald, 02 February 1863.

“Manager Grau is once more enabled to open the Academy of Music. Signor Brignoli and Signora Lorini have entirely recovered from their late indisposition, and are quite ready to charm the lovers of music once more. The desire to hear Miss Kellogg in some lighter opera than ‘Poliuto,’ which was chosen for her debut this season, will be gratified to-night. Miss Kellogg will appear as Lady Henrietta, in the opera of ‘Marta.’ To add to the attraction, Morensi will be the Nancy for the first time, while Brignoli—all the more desired because he has been denied to us—will be Lionel. Susini will be a most effective Plunket. The cast is a strong one, and the performance will doubtless be brilliant.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 02 February 1863, 7.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 02 February 1863, 7.
Announcement: New-York Times, 02 February 1863.

“The recovery of Signor Brignoli enables Mr. Grau to commence a short season of Italian opera at the Academy of Music this evening, when Flotow’s popular opera of ‘Martha’ will be given. The cast in all respects is unexceptionable. In the part of Lady Henrietta, Miss Kellogg has already won one of her best successes, and we may hope that Mlle. Morensi will also deserve the approbation of the public as Lady Nancy, which part she will essay for the first time. Signors Brignoli and Susini are excellent in their several rôles, and the orchestra and chorus will, we are assured, be up to the best standard of the establishment. Mr. Grau’s season is limited by various circumstances, one of the most important being that he must appear with his troupe in Boston on Monday next. It follows, therefore, that the present week is the last we shall have of opera until Mr. Maretzek’s arrival. Mr. Grau’s announcements are always satisfactory, but we should like to know why he has omitted from these gala performances Meyerbeer’s charming opera of ‘Dinorah’—a work which was unwisely withdrawn just as its merits were beginning to be recognized. We trust that Mr. Grau will see the advantage of playing this on Friday evening, instead of ‘Don Giovanni,’ which can hardly be prepared in so short a season.”

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 02 February 1863, 3.
Announcement: New York Post, 02 February 1863, 2.
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 02 February 1863.
Review: New York Herald, 03 February 1863, 4.

“Manager Grau received an earnest last night of the delight of our habitues of the Academy of Music at the resumption of opera. The house was filled, every place being taken, while crowds stood behind the seats. The toilets were unusually fine; in fact it was a gala night. The artists seemed inspired on this occasion, and certainly they never sang better. It is scarcely worth while entering into any details as regards the plot of the opera, Flotow’s ‘Marta’ is so well known to the New York public.

            Miss Kellogg, as Lady Henrietta, sang and acted most charmingly. She entered fully into the spirit of her role and received constant and well deserved applause.

            Mlle. Morensi, who appeared for the first time as Nancy, had all in her favor—her fine contralto, so fresh and pure, an appearance which is certainly eminently pleasing, and the hearty good will and applause of the public, who have voted Morensi an especial favorite. We anticipate a brilliant career for the artist when she has fully attained the excellence of which the promise is now great.

            Signor Brignoli, having entirely recovered, sang the pleasing music of his role (Lionel) with his usual success. The applause bestowed upon his efforts proved how greatly they were appreciated by the public. An enthusiastic and prolonged encore of the ‘M'apparitutt amor’ [sic] was acknowledged by the artist, but not granted, although the demand was certainly one hard to resist.

            Signor Susini was an admirable Plunket. He sang and played with spirit, and was duly applauded.

            We have not space to mention in detail the morceaux which drew forth general applause. The spinning quartette in the second act was finely and spiritedly rendered. Miss Kellogg’s ‘Last Rose of Summer’ was encored with delight, and was most sweetly and effectively sung. We also wish to speak of the romanza which Brignoli refused to encore. It was most pleasingly rendered. In fact, to conclude, the opera was a most decided success, all the artists rendering the music of their roles most effectively.

          Manager Grau has reason to be well pleased with his triumph of last evening.”

Review: New-York Times, 03 February 1863, 5.

Academy of Music.—Mr. Grau’s tenor having recovered his voice, the interrupted season of four weeks ago was resumed last evening. The house, we are glad to say, was completely filled, and presented that brilliant and fashionable appearance which can only be witnessed on gala occasions, when the female world is interested in what is going on. Signor Brignoli on his appearance was received with genuine applause, it being pretty generally conceded that a tenor who sacrifices four weeks of a thumping salary, must have been sick in the serious acceptation of the word, and this circumstance warming the audience to a sympathetic outburst in his favor. We are glad to say that no traces remain of the trouble which has so long deprived the public of the favorite tenor’s services.  He was in admirable voice, and sang with nicer feeling and more careful effect than we have had recent occasion to remark in his efforts.

            The opera (‘Martha’) was given in an extremely satisfactory manner by all the artists in the cast. Miss Kellogg is seen and heard to great advantage in the rôle of Lady Henrietta. The music lies within easy reach of her voice, and the graceful and well-bred ease of her movements reflect the dramatic idea of the courtly lady bent on a little frolic. It is undoubtedly one of the most pleasing parts in the lady’s extensive and well-studied repertoire. Mlle. Morensi was the Lady Nancy, and acted with much spirit, singing also with effect, but with less ease than we shall expect on other repetitions. Of Signor Susini it is only necessary to say that he is, with perhaps a single exception, the best Plunkett we have ever had in this City. He was in fine condition last evening. The whole performance, indeed, was completely successful, and elicited repeated bursts of applause from a house which as we have before remarked, was one of the most crowded and fashionable we have ever seen in Irving-place.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 03 February 1863, 8.

            "Small installments of music now, in these so-considered uncertain days of all things [sic], save taxes, is what is ventured upon; and yet we think that, such are the good dispositions of the public toward anything novel and captivating, a bolder announcement than three nights at the Academy would be cheerfully responded to. There are certainly but few parties—private gatherings for the dance and supper table—going on, and hence there is a large disposable force of people who must spend their evenings somewhere, and why not at the opera, amid the charms of sound and sentiment?

            Martha, rendered last night, to a most ample audience, is a most pleasing production of a Frenchified German. The author has not deemed it necessary to take a family-vault view of living art; but is sparkling, jolly, and with a näif [sic] vein of melody that appeals to the merry hearts of young people [sic]—who are nine out of ten of the props of the opera. Miss Kellogg was pleasant and jocose, and has made good use of her time in regard to the manifold difficult studies needed to make an artist. Signor Brignoli has had a siege of a cold, bronchital-wise; but now under judicious treatment appears to have recovered his unusual state. Miss Morenci [sic] is a clever rising young artist, and gave additional promise last night. The fine bass of Susini needs no eulogium. The satisfaction of the audience was very demonstrative throughout the entire performance.”

Review: New York Post, 03 February 1863, 2.
“Grau’s new season opened very auspiciously last night, with a crowded and brilliant house. ‘Martha’ was well given, with the exception of the choruses, which were so weak as to be scarcely heard above the orchestra. Miss Kellogg sang with her usual taste, and was encored in the ‘Last Rose,’ which she repeated in English. Morensi and Susini gave great satisfaction. The return of Brignoli after his illness was heartily applauded, and excepting in his great air, ‘m’appori,’ where he failed to make his usual strong point in the words ‘Marta! Marta,’ he seemed to sing as well as ever.”
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 04 February 1863, 1.

"The reopening of the Academy of Music, Monday night, was a veritable festival. An elegant crowd filled the room, eager to enjoy the pleasure which bad luck had deprived us for three weeks due to a contretemps.

The performance of Martha was, moreover, excellent. Brignoli sang with a voice of which illness seems to have renewed and strengthened the freshness. miss [sic] Kellogg, Mlle Morensi and Susini shared with him the repeated applause from one end of the evening to the other."

Review: New York Herald, 09 February 1863, 8.
“[A] triumphant operatic week we have just gone through. We have had ‘Martha,’ ‘The Vespers,’ ‘Don Giovanni,’ ‘Norma’ and ‘Les Noces de Jeanette.”
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 09 February 1863, 1.

"The flutter caused by the almost monstrous pairing of Barnum's two dwarfs isn't, by any means, the only manifestation of the American people's facility for enthusiasm and for its penchant to try to forget the adversity of the times. The short opera season that marked last week is another example, scarcely less striking, although less abnormal. The four farewell performances given by M. Grau produced four of the handsomest receipts ever in the memory of the Academy of Music . . . .  Martha, Les Vêpres, Don Giovanni,  Norma  found the public more eager than in the most prosperous days of yore.They are four of the best representations in the history of the Academy of Music. It is accurate to say that all these operas have been staged and produced such in a way as to justify the public's assiduity. Except for the disadvantages inseparable from having such diverse productions organized in such a short space of time--inconveniences to which one must begin to become accustomed--the three evenings and the matinee were satisfying on all points. They applauded Brignoli, reappearing with his voice fresher than ever, though not having recovered all its power;. Amodio coming without warning to the role of Don Juan which he had neigher ever sung nor even seen played by others; Susini, with his acting so simple and so intelligent; Mlle Kellogg, with her singing so correct in its coldness; Mme Lorini, always the excellent singer; Mlle Morensi, of whom the present already holds so much, in awaiting the promises of the future; finally, Mlle Cordier, who transported us to France for an hour, acting Les Noces de Jeannette with the charm that she brings to all her roles. If, at moments, the critics felt themselves tempted to find fault here and there, they were disarmed by the thought that it's a question of saying goodbye for a long time to these artists who, on the whole, gave us the best ensemble company this winter that we've had in these past years."

Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 14 February 1863, 364.
“‘Marta’ [was] given on Monday. . . . By this time you have had an opportunity of hearing ‘Marta’ and judging for yourself as to the merits of its performance.”
Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 21 February 1863, 375.
Only a mention that it was performed.