Maretzek Italian Opera Company: Don Giovanni

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Carl Bergmann

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
12 February 2019

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

29 Mar 1867, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Dissoluto punito, Il; ossia Il Don Giovanni Libertine Punished, The; or Don Giovanni
Composer(s): Mozart
Text Author: da Ponte


Announcement: New York Post, 25 March 1867.

“The Arion Ball takes place on Wednesday night, so that there will be no opera after Tuesday until Friday.”

Announcement: New York Post, 27 March 1867.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 27 March 1867.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 27 March 1867, 6.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 27 March 1867, 8.
Announcement: New York Post, 28 March 1867.
Announcement: New York Post, 29 March 1867.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 29 March 1867, 8.
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 29 March 1867.
Review: New York Post, 30 March 1867.

“Amusements. Italian Opera. ‘Don Giovanni’ was produced last evening for the third time with the very complete cast that has made the presentation of this splendid work one of the events of the season. The Academy was densely crowded with a very fashionable audience, and all the familiar airs met a hearty recognition that was as genuine as well deserved. We have already spoken of the manner in which ‘Don Giovanni’ was sung on its first production here. We can now say in addition that last night’s performance was in every way an improvement on the first. Mme. Parepa-Rosa, of course, achieved her usual success, and at the conclusion of the brilliant and difficult ‘letter aria’ was called twice before the curtain, receiving also quite a floral tribute. Miss Kellogg, as the arch Zerlina, was her own inimitable self, and created the usual enthusiasm into which young New York especially goes over this character. Miss McCullough made an acceptable Donna Elvira, and Bellini was the daring Don Juan to the life.  Ronconi’s Leporello impresses us more and more every time we see it as a remarkable piece of acting. To thoroughly enjoy it full attention must be given to his every movement, even when engaged in some trifling aside. He throws himself more completely into the character than any Leprello [sic] we have ever seen, and never for a moment is false to the conception (which is different from many that have been taken) of the jolly servant of the dashing gallant. In addition to the abject cowardice which every Leporello assumes as part of the character, he has infused into the part a spirit of petty maliciousness which a servant of his nature would seem to catch naturally from the greater wickedness of Don Giovanni. Thus, when he recites to Donna Elvira the story of Don Giovanni’s love adventures, his face is tortured into all sorts of grimaces, expressive of exquisite delight at the pain he knows he is inflicting. So also when he is discovered in the Don’s dress, he does not go down on his knees with the great roar of terror that we have so often heard other actors give, but quietly looks first one then another in the face, evidently keenly enjoying the astonishment and vexation with which they find out their mistake. The scene with the Commendatore is another examplification of this. But it is needless to particularize further. Suffice it to say, that after appearing three times as Leporello, the last of which was the best, we regard Ronconi’s delineation of this part as the finest this great buffo has given us since his appearance here, and we greatly regret that owing to the withdrawal of Madame Parepa, ‘Don Giovanni’ will not probably be again given during the season.” 

Announcement: New-York Times, 30 March 1867, 4.
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 31 March 1867, 4.

This opera celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, and it still enchants its audience today as it did back then. Even here this work is chosen over others again and again, and the event always turns into a gala for which the elite of society gathers. The casting for the four leading parts was very fortunate. Regarding Parepa, there certainly were predecessors who performed with more passionate strength in their voice and who were more lively, but no one ever equaled her in her firey verve and her ‘soulful’ approach to this role. It is impressive that even in the most emotional scenes, every tone is pure and accurate and of the sweetest sound. Next to her, Kellogg excelled as “Zerline”. She had never played with such grace and loving flirtatiousness, never with such seductive sweetness in her voice. Her voice seems to have gained in fullness and strength and has lost its harshness in the high ranges.The anticipation to experience Ronconi as “Leporello” for the first time was big; and he did not disappoint. Although he can not live up to Formes’ strong and immensely resonant deep bass, Ronconi charmed us with his sense of humor and simplicity. Bellini as “Don Juan” was excellent as he always is in serious roles. Less satisfactory was McCullough’s “Elvira”. The sound of her voice is pleasant; however, she is too much of a beginner to sing such difficult parts as this.

Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 06 April 1867, 558.

The opera was a big success. The house was completely filled. The German and German-American press consider both Don Juan performances as ‘the best the Italian opera has offered in several years.’