Maretzek Italian Opera: Norma

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
29 February 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

30 Sep 1867, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Bellini
Text Author: Romani
Participants:  Euphrosyne Parepa (role: Norma);  Fanny Natali-Testa [contralto] (role: Adalgisa);  Emilio [tenor] Pancani (role: Pollio);  P. [bass] Medini (role: High Priest)


Advertisement: New-York Times, 28 September 1867, 7.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 29 September 1867, 7.
Announcement: New-York Times, 30 September 1867, 5.
Review: New York Post, 01 October 1867.

“It was in ‘Norma’ that Madame Parepa-Rosa last season first became known to our public as an operatic prima donna.  This new trail of her power was watched with a good deal of friendly interest, for it was not certain that the reigning queen of the concert-room could maintain her high position on the stage.  The trial was not only satisfactory, but terminated in a new triumph for the admired singer.  Last night she again essayed the same part of the same opera, and more than sustained herself.  It seemed when she was singing in the ‘Casta Diva’ as though she had never been in such perfect possession of the affluent resources of her wonderful voice.  Her acting, too, especially in the imprecation scene, was full of passion and vigor.  Signor Pancani sustained the part of Pollio faithfully and with fine dramatic effect.  Signor Medini was excellent as the high priest.  Madame Testa, as Adalgisa, won deserved applause for her singing of passages demanding fervid execution.”

Review: New-York Times, 01 October 1867, 5.

“The representation of ‘Norma’ at the Academy seemed to be entirely enjoyed last evening, and what is more to the purpose of the management, there was an exceedingly fine audience present to enjoy it. It was in “Norma” that the superb voice of Mme. PAREPA-ROSA first won the admiration of a New-York operatic audience. Her reception on the present occasion was just as flattering as that on the night of her début at the Academy. There was little difference to be observed in the general characteristics of her performance. The quality and resonance of her voice were displayed to the highest advantage in the famous ‘Casta Diva’ with its brilliant pendant, ‘Ah! bello a me ritorno’—the subdued enunciation of the slow movement, in which every note had its value, being even more remarkable than the vigorous delivery of the cabaletta, that bravura upon which endless modern Italian ‘cabalettas’ have been built. To the dramatic exigencies of the great finale of the first act, (at the Academy the divisions of the opera place this scena in the second act)—where the fickle Pollio, (Sig. PANCANI, is confronted with such terrible energy by Norma, Mme. ROSA is fully equal, and she has completely under her control the power indispensable to its effective realization. With a wonderful intellectual appreciation of the pathetic address to her reconverted lover, ‘Qual cor tradisti,’ Mme. ROSA terminated her performance with a climax in all respects legitimate. That the Adalgisa of Mme. TESTA, judged from a musical point of view, was all that could be wished, we need hardly add. Sig. PANCANI made as much of Pollio as can be made of a character almost as uninteresting in a musical as in a dramatic sense. It was a manly Pollio in bearing and in tone. Sig. MEDINI sung the part of the High Priest like a genuine artist, as he appears to be. Another word about ‘Norma’ would be superfluous.”

Review: Courrier des √Čtats-Unis, 02 October 1867.
“The performance of Norma was not one of the most favorable to M. Pancani. Is it a persistent cold, or is his voice actually worn out? If it’s a matter of a temporary indisposition, M. Pancani, in his own interests, should let the public know. He’s a good comedian, he sings well, he is likeable and receives a warm welcome, but his voice seems to be “where are the snows of yesteryear?” It’s a strange thing, that tenors endowed with a good voice generally don’t know how to sing, while those who are consumed with the technique of singing generally don’t have a voice.
Without Madame Parepa, the performance of Norma would have been a bit compromised. But the great artist sang like no singer has sung in New York since Alboni, and no coolness on the part of the audience could be maintained before such a talent. M. Medini, in the role of Orovese, confirmed the good impression that he had given of himself in the Barber. The chorus wasn’t perfect. It would be difficult to be otherwise, since M. Maretzek hasn’t given the same opera twice since the beginning of the season. Thus, six operas have already appeared on the posters, and we see Trovatore announced for this evening, and Faust for Friday. Eight lyric works of the first order in less than two weeks! This variety is necessary to attract a crowd, but the execution can’t be as polished as one would desire. This consuming activity harms the details.”
Review: Courrier des √Čtats-Unis, 03 October 1867.

“We have to repair an omission. In our account of the performance of Norma at the Academy of Music, we neglected to mention Mme Natali-Testa, who returned as Adalgisa. Mme Testa was perfect on all points, and she shared Mme Parepa’s acclaim in the second and third acts. Mme Testa especially has merit for singing the role of Adalgisa with such perfection, as it is not written for the register of her voice.”