15 February 2016
“Amusements. Musical. Massaniello [sic] was given at the Stadt theatre last night before an immense audience. It is the most celebrated of Auber’s works, and the music is brilliant, sparkling, exhilarating and remarkable for the clearness and simplicity of its dramatic effects even in scenes of the greatest bustle and confusion. The charming barcarole, the market chorus, the chorus of fishermen, the beautiful finale to the third act, the bacchanalian song and Masaniello’s aria are the chief beauties of the opera. The German version is by no means favorable for displaying those beauties in an attractive light, and the cast last night was rather weak in some vital points. It was well received, however, and in general commendably sung.”
If one does not have too high expectations of the opera performances at the Stadttheater, one will be satisfied. The ensemble is clearly eager to do the best with what they have. The repertoire so far has been favorable. Last night’s performance was, despite not being flawless, quite acceptable. Himmer was a perfect Massaniello and Rotter also performed quite well. Chorus and orchestra still displayed some insecurity; however, this did not create major disturbances. The beautiful a Capella prayer in the third act had an effective and nicely nuanced performance by the chorus. This opera will most likely be repeated.
…There were a lot of flaws and violations in the performance.
“German Opera is going on in a modest way at the Stadt Theatre, where Tell, Masaniello, Freyschütz, &c., &c., are given by most of the old company to fair audiences, more with the hope of consolidating the thing for future career, than of brilliant profits now.”