Manager / Director:
29 August 2018
“The revival of the ‘Star of the North’ last night attracted a very large and brilliant audience at the Winter Garden. It is not often that we are able justly to say of a performance that it was admirable throughout, and it would be strange indeed if an opera requiring so extensive a cast and such elaborate preparation of scenic and general mounting could in every minute detail be perfect. But we doubt if at any time an opera has been produced in this City with such absolute success, or so entirely to the satisfaction of the audience, as this. The rôle of Catharine was made familiar to the New-York public last year by the charming vocalism of Miss Kellogg, whose great success in that character was one of the events of the season. Antonucci, too, invested the romantic sketch of the great Czar with a personal interest. The cast on this occasion included these favorite artists in their original rôles. Miss Hauck as Prescovia, Bellini as the Corporal, and Baragli as Danilowits. In the first act the author has crowded many gems for solo and concerted effort—notably a grand chorus, a duo between Catharine and Peter, another between Catharine and Prascovia, and a charming solo adieu by Catharine. Miss Kellogg was in excellent voice, and, as though inspired by an inferential rivalry, seemed determined to eclipse her former self. She sang with her usual clearness of enunciation, but with a brilliancy of execution that received, as it deserved, the instant and hearty recognition of the audience, her adieu resulting in a peremptory call before the curtain. Miss Hauck on this occasion made technically her début before a New-York audience. Her reception was of course encouraging and courteous in the extreme. Her appearance is remarkably prepossessing and her dress admirably adapted to the display of her peculiar beauty. Her first notes convinced the audience that Maretzek's judgment was, as usual, correct, and that in this lady he has found an artist who in time will rank among the foremost. Her power is quite equal to her brilliancy, and experience will beyond a doubt develop in her an artist quite equal, if not superior, to any we have yet had. Time is all she needs, and time she will, we devoutly trust, be afforded. In the duet with Miss Kellogg she shared the enthusiastic applause that followed their brilliant running, and participated in the encore which was vehemently demanded. Bellini's assumption of the comparatively insignificant role of the Corporal challenged attention, and we were quite prepared to find an exaggeration as complete as was his Crispino. But while his outreisms provoked the laughter of the popular part of the audience, they could not spoil the magnificent rotundity of his voice, or detract from the thoroughly enjoyable rendering of his score. In the second act, the scene in the tent of the Czar was unimpressive. The improvement in Miss Kellogg's acting was peculiarly noticeable throughout the entire act. She invested it with a degree of interest unusual with her, and devoted quite as much energy and attention to that part of the rôle as to the mere vocalization. Bellini made the most of his part, and at times too much of it. Antonucci was entirely excellent from first to last. Miss Hauck interpolated a romanza by Meyerbeer in the third act, which deserved the enthusiasm it created. Too much praise cannot be awarded Maretzek for the care and expense he has bestowed upon the dresses and general mounting of the opera, nor for the very remarkable cast which interpreted it.”
"Meyerbeer’s thrillingly characteristic Opera the ‘Star of the North,’ was performed by Mr. Maretzek’s Company last evening, at Winter Garden, before a large and very fashionable audience. This Opera has always been a favorite with operatic habitués, both for its dramatic power and the wealth of quaint, yet beautiful melody, which pervades not only the solos, but chorus [and] orchestrations.
The Opera was strongly cast last night, presenting, with other fine artists, two of the principal Prima Donnas of the company, Miss Louise Kellogg and Miss A. M. Haucks [sic]. There was much interest attending the simultaneous appearance of these two young American artists, one matured by [a] few years of experience and popularity, and the other nearly in her novitiate. We have before noticed Miss Kellogg’s rendering of the character of Katherina, but we noticed on this occasion many points of improvement over her previous performances. Her voice seemed firmer, the lower tones somewhat fuller and richer, and her execution more articulate and brilliant—her tours de force being thrown off with great accuracy and bravoura. She sets the character with her usual grace and naivete. One of the most certain points of her rendering of the music was the closing of the first act. She sang the beautiful aria and ritornello with exquisite grace and rare pathos, and with admirable lightness and delicacy of execution. It was altogether a charming performance.
Miss Hauck made her first public appearance in New-York last evening. She is young, pretty and very graceful. Well trained and a very apt and piquant actress, she has great natural advantages which experience will speedily teach her how to use to the best advantage. She has a very light, but very melodious and flexible voice, which has been very highly cultivated, and over which she has very excellent control. Of course being new to her profession, she misses points and effects which one with more experience would seize hold and make much of. But in mere vocalism she is already well advanced in her art. Her singing and acting throughout the opera were worthy of the warmest commendation. The duet in the first act between Kellogg and Hauck was the most marked effect of the evening. It is very varied both in singing and in action, and the ladies gave to it all the required expression and dramatic effect, and sang it with a grace and brilliance of execution which commanded a most unanimous and decided encore.
The rôles sustained by Bellini and Antonucci were the most striking features of the evening. They were both in admirable voice, and they entered fully into the spirit of the strange and grotesque characters which the poet and Meyerbeer have so strongly worked out. Bellini was savagely humorous and sang finely, and Antonucci was barbarically rude and bearish, and also sang finely. The other characters were ably supported by Baragli, Reichardt, and others.
The choruses were well sung—some of them so well as to call forth well-merited applause. The tenors are specially excellent, and the ensemble is good throughout. The orchestra was carefully handled, but the coloring was coarse. This portion especially needs well-considered contrast, as there is to it so much that is boisterous and noisy. It requires at once perception and a master hand to do justice to the source.
The opera as a whole was a decided success, and will doubtless be repeated.”
The event was sold out. Miss Hauck proved to be a very skillful singer with a light, high, though soft and pleasant voice without lacking strength. Technically she was also quite skillful and even her acting was quite advanced wrapped in a rather fragile, petite body. It is not surprising that she was – next to Kellogg – the ‘Etoile’ of the evening. She was rewarded with much applause and many flowers.
Bellini was much better as ‘Corporal’ than the singer last year. His acting was exaggerated at times; however, this weakness is easily forgiven when listening to his excellent singing. Kellogg’s finale aria was brilliant and received with enthusiasm. The space limitations of the stage caused problems in the mass scenes of the chorus and extras which are necessary for this opera.
This opera was exceptionally well cast. The attraction was the debut of the young, American singer Miss Hauck. She is young, pretty, graceful, and possesses a pleasant, flexible yet not full voice, which she manages very well. Her confident and skillful acting and her well trained musical performance hardly reveals her beginner status. Her highlight was the duet with Kellogg in the 1st act, in which she impressed with dramatic play and a brilliant performance. The audience requested a repeat of the duet. Without doubt the young singer will become another ‘star on opera heaven,’ if she keeps up with her education.
All in all the performance of this opera was perfect in all aspects.