Théâtre Français: Songe d’une Nuit d’Été

Event Information

French Theatre

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
16 March 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

13 Nov 1866, 7:45 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Midsummer night's dream
Composer(s): Thomas
Text Author: Leuven, Rosier
Participants:  Paul de Surmont (role: Lord Latimer);  Elvira Naddie;  Jeanne Laurentis;  Monsieur [tenor] Anthelme;  Jean Vert (role: Falstaff)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 11 November 1866.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 11 November 1866, 7.
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 11 November 1866.
Announcement: New York Herald, 12 November 1866, 5.
Announcement: New-York Times, 13 November 1866, 5.
Review: New York Herald, 14 November 1866, 5.

“Midsummer Night’s Dream was repeated last night at the French theatre before a rather small audience. It was placed on the stage with the same cast as before. The overture is not so effective as that of Thomas’ other works, being more like a set of quadrilles than a well-constructed operatic work. In the first act the procession of the cooks and the chorus of the servants of the inn were excellent. Falstaff might truly exclaim, ‘What a sight, what a royal spectacle,’ as he complacently reviewed the army of dishes and white-aproned cooks. In addition to the many other absurdities of the libretto, M. Vert added another by dancing a pas seule, an accomplishment which we were not aware the original Falstaff could master. Mr. Vert’s voice contrasted greatly with his admirable acting, being in worse condition than we ever heard before. It grated harshly in the beautiful trios with the Queen and Olivia, ‘Pourquoi vous en defender,’ and ‘Votre petit cour s’est rendu.’ M. Anthelme should not force his fine voice too much, as it gives it a hard metallic tone at times which appears foreign to it. This is a fault that M. Surmont carefully avoided in his role of Lord Latimer. The manner in which some parts of the dialogue, even one line at a time, are set off with little scraps of delicious music shows much skill and cleverness in the composer. The hunting song in the second act is like a German wald lied, and it was very well sung. In the romance of Shakespeare, ‘Qui suis je,’ the bird-like warblings of Mlle. Naddie, in response to the poet, were received with a torrent of applause. Her execution of the roulades, trills, cadenze, &c., in this scene was faultless. The Virgin Queen, with all her greatness, would be nonplusses to find such a flight of notes set down to her. Of Mlle. Laurentis it is unnecessary to say more than to endorse our opinion of her singing and acting at the former representation of the opera.  The management should see to lessening the Babel of noise that takes place behind the curtain during the entr’actes, and adopt some other plan of signaling the orchestra besides stamping and clapping hands on the stage.”

Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 14 November 1866, 8.

The French Opera is slowly gaining more ground in New York. At first the French people received the opera with skepticism; however, at this time there is much interest. Last night the theater was well filled. The performance was satisfactory; the chorus and orchestra played better than ever before and the stage design was most appropriate. The soloists were almost without exception acceptable, especially Monsieur Vert. His performance of ‘Fallstaff’ [sic] was effective in the singing and the acting areas despite the ‘Frenchness’ of his interpretation.