Manager / Director:
H. L. [impressario] Bateman
Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]
Price: $1; $1.50 reserved
7 December 2017
“The work on Steinway’s new hall progresses so satisfactorily that there is now no longer a doubt about its completion within the course of the next fortnight. It is an edifice worthy of the City and the liberal and eminent firm that has erected it. Mr. Bateman and his celebrated troupe inaugurate the hall on the 29th inst., when Mme. Parepa will make her rentree after her recent trip to Europe. An old favorite of the public, Signor Brignoli, will also make his reappearance. The gentleman sang last week in Boston and made a new success. He sang Hallon’s ballad of ‘Good-bye, Sweetheart,’ in English, and thereby created a sensation. His voice is described as possessing all its original sweetness. Mr. S. B. Mills, the pianist, is one of the great attractions of the troupe. He has introduced several new compositions, playing them faultlessly.”
“Signor Brignoli will appear at the inauguration of the magnificent new Steinway Hall, at the end of this month.”
“The new music hall erected by the Messrs. Steinway in the rear of their marble building on Fourteenth street will be opened for the first time on Monday, October 29, by Mr. Bateman’s excellent troupe of artists. Signor Brignoli, Madame Parepa, Signors Ferranti and Fortuna, Messrs. Carl Rosa, S. B. Mills and J. L. Hatton, and Mr. Theodore Thomas’ splendid orchestra will be the leading attractions at this hall at its opening. Messrs. Harrison and Bateman purpose inaugurating this winter a series of tri-weekly popular concerts at Steinway Hall, Irving Hall and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.”
“Mr. Bateman begs to announce that the above new and spacious edifice will be opened to the public on the evening of October 31.”
“The Bateman troupe have returned to this city from their tour to Boston, Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia. In every place they have met with great success, and in Washington the enthusiasm of the audience, among whom were General Grant and several distinguished members of the diplomatic corps, accorded them an ovation. They will inaugurate the new Steinway Hall on Wednesday night in a programme of rare excellence. Madame Parepa, Signors Brignoli, Ferranti and Fortuna, Messrs. Mills, Hatton and Rosa, and Mr. Thomas’ orchestra, all form a strong array of talent. Brignoli will sing M’appari, from Martha, and a romance of Donizetti’s. From Madame Parepa we shall hear the cavatina, Bel Raggio, from Semiramide, and the Nightingale’s Trill.”
“The Bateman troupe will open the new Steinway Hall tomorrow evening. The programme of the concert is very interesting.”
“The seats for the grand concert, which is to be given to-morrow evening, at the new Steinway Hall, are selling rapidly, and the prospect is that one of the most brilliant audiences ever assembled in a New York concert-room will assist in the inauguration of this new temple of music. The concert will be one worthy of so important an occasion. We have already published the programme for the evening’s performance, and it is unnecessary to say more.”
Detailed venue description of the new Steinway Hall.
“This splendid hall will be opened this evening by the Bateman Concert Troupe. To judge from the immense demand for seats, the hall will be filled to its utmost capacity. The programme of the opening concert is a very heavy but varied one, comprising some of the best selections from the different schools. Madame Parepa, Brignoli, Ferranti, Fortuna, Hatton, Mills, Rosa and Thomas’ orchestra will assist in the inauguration of this temple of music.”
Includes a description of the physical dimensions of the hall. “Two important musical events took place last night, namely, the first public opening of the new Steinway Hall and the debut of the new Bateman concert troupe. The hall is built in connection with and immediately in the rear of the piano warerooms of Messrs. Steinway & Sons, on East Fourteenth street. The main entrance is through the elegant marble portico on Fourteenth street, which is supported by four Corinthian pillars. A flight of stairs conducts to the ground floor of the hall proper, and on the right of the main entrance there are separate stairways leading to the balconies, each being independent of the other. Surmounting them is a spacious vestibule, well lighted and ventilated. Through this vestibule, which extends from the ground floor to the roof, two grand entrances lead into the main floor of the hall. The dimensions of the new Steinway Hall may be recapitulated as follows: - Its depth including the addition which may be used or dispensed with at pleasure, through the medium of sliding partition doors is 123 feet, its width 75 feet, and its height, 42 feet. The entire building from foundation to roof, is thoroughly substantial. The foundations are the solid bed of rock which extends from Irving place to Fifth avenue; the basement walls are of solid granite, three feet in thickness; the brick walls to the roof are two feet eight inches in thickness, with heavy external supporting buttresses, and the whole of the walls, from cellar to ceiling, are laid in solid cement. In addition to the strength of the exterior walls, the main floor of the hall is supported by two walls beneath it to give it more strength, and render it impervious to the objectionable features of excessive vibration and elasticity of floor. On the western side of the hall there is an additional building on Fifteenth street, containing the artists’ dressing rooms and the bellows, windchest and heavy work of the organ. The seating capacity of the hall is 2,500 hundred, the seats being roomy and comfortable, and permanently fixed in iron frames. There is ample standing room for 500 more people if needed. The means of ingress and egress are very capacious, the doors on Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets opening outwards, and enabling the hall to be cleared by its numerous stairways in a very short time. No attempt at frescoing the hall can be made until next summer, when it will be decorated in the highest style of art. The steam generator for heating the building is placed in an outside building at some distance from the hall to preclude the possibility of accident. The hall is lighted from the roof by two enormous sunlights imported from London. Want of space compels us to give but the main features of this splendid hall. It is a creditable monument of the enterprise and public spirit of the gentlemen who built it at their own expense, and supplies a want that has been keenly felt in the metropolitan musical world.
The only thing about which there could be any doubt last night were [sic] the acoustical qualities. It was, of course, impossible to judge of those before the opening night, when the hall would be crowded. Last night nearly every seat in the hall was filled, and there were many persons ranged along the aisles and vestibule, unable to procure seats. The acoustics of the hall exceeded even the most sanguine expectations, and in every part of the hall the rays of sound seemed to form a focus. The Bateman troupe appeared after a successful tour in the neighboring cities, and came with the highest recommendations. They did not disappoint the audience, but, on the contrary, exceeded all anticipations. Signor Brignoli received a perfect ovation, both before and after his Martha solo, M’appari. He was encored in it and also in Donizetti’s romanza. He fully sustained his reputation of being the best tenore di grazía in America. We never heard Madame Parepa sing to such advantage as in the luxurious, regal music of Semiramide. Again, in the Nightingale’s Trill and ‘Five o’clock in the Morning,’ her voice seemed fresher, fuller, sweeter and finished to more evenness and delicacy. Her portamento and execution of bravura passages show the finished artist. Mr. Carl Rosas’s best and most successful piece was the Souvenir d’Haydn, by Leonard. His great breadth, power and clearness of tone were manifest in this charming selection. Mr. Mills played the first movement of Schumann’s only piano concerto and Liszt’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of his earliest works. Messrs. Fortuna and Ferranti made their first appearance before a New York audience. The former has a light, pleasing baritone voice and the latter is a good buffo singer, only that his Largo al Factotum was by no means what we expected. There is probably too much and too extravagant mercurial spirits about him when he undertakes Rossini’s charming music for an American audience.
Mr. Thomas’s orchestra played the magnificent overture to the Tannhauser, the Spohrish Jesonda [sic] overture, and the Torchlight March. They played well. We must certainly accord the highest praise to the piano accompaniments of the genial, clever composer, J. L. Hatton, which added much to the merits of the singers he accompanied. On the whole, the début of the Bateman troupe was a success, and augers well for their season in New York. They will appear again to-night in Steinway Hall.”
“We have frequently taken occasion to speak of the progress made in the erection of the new Steinway Music Hall, on Fourteenth street, which was formally opened last night by a concert worthy of the elegant and substantial hall in which it was given. The anticipations with regard to the suitability of this hall for musical purposes were fully realized, and it must be conceded that – through the enterprise of the Messrs. Steinway – New York has at length an auditorium which for size, convenience, ventilation and fine acoustic properties, has no superior in the country. The loudest orchestral swells produced no disagreeable resonance, while the most delicate vocal or instrumental tones were distinctly audible in every part of the house.
The turn out was worthy of the occasion. Every seat on the main floor and in the balconies was taken, and a large number were compelled to stand during the performance. The audience was one of the best that we have ever seen in a New York concert room. The concert was remarkable for the variety of its excellences. Madame Parepa, Brignoli, Mills, and Carl Rosa, are, of themselves, sufficient attractions to fill any concert room, and, in addition, we had the pleasure of listening to two new candidates for public favor—Signors Fortuna and Ferranti.
The greeting accorded to Signor Brignoli, on his first appearance last evening, was unusually enthusiastic, and apparently embarrassing to the recipient of the demonstration of good will and admiration. He seemed to have caught a little extraordinary inspiration from the audience, and sang with more than his usual fervor and feeling. By his first song he proved himself worthy the splendid recognition he had obtained in advance, and confirmed again those who believe, with us, that his voice –within a certain range—is the best tenor that can now be heard anywhere. He received the honor of two unanimous encores, and responded to each. The serenade from ‘Don Pasquale’ was rendered by him, in response to the second encore, in his happiest manner.
Madame Parepa followed, and was received with almost an equal degree of enthusiasm. At first somewhat embarrassed, she soon fully recovered herself, and was herself again—her intonations as rich and delicious as ever, and her mastery of difficult passages perfectly evident. The encores demanded of her were hearty and genuine tributes, such as are seldom given.
Carl Rosa has made evident progress toward the full mastery of the difficulties of his art, but has not yet attained it to such an extent as to be able to show in his performances that degree of sentiment and inspiration which alone can move an audience. Mr. Mills was, as he always is, a favorite; his splendid, even, and firm execution entitling him to the foremost position among American pianists. We must confess, however, that his rendering of Lizst’s arrangement of Mendelssohn’s ‘Wedding March’ failed to satisfy us. The mechanical execution was absolutely perfect, but the soul was lacking.
Signor Fortuna made a good impression, although his singing has too little life and fervor. Signor Feranti, on the contrary, is energetic and demonstrative to a fault, but has unquestionable ability as a buffo. On the stage—where he belongs—this fault would, perhaps, be a positive merit. As it was, his comic efforts were keenly appreciated and applauded, and relieved the more serious portions of the concert.
Mr. Theodore Thomas’s splendid orchestra performed three pieces with their usual ability and exquisite taste. More than this need not be said, for when this orchestra does its best, it achieves all that can be done by any orchestra in the country.”
“The Steinway Hall, recently erected by the enterprising piano-forte firm of Steinway & Sons, at the rear of their marble palace in East Fourteenth-street, was dedicated to its proper uses last evening. Mr. Bateman’s concert troupe—in every way worthy of the occasion—inaugurated the new building. The good omens were abundant. The house was crowded with an appreciative and thoroughly-musical audience. The progamme left nothing to be desired. It was both miscellaneous and select; appealing alike to the popular and the eclectic taste. The performance in every way was satisfactory. Lastly, but not lessly, the hall gave general satisfaction.
The rewards of such an enterprise are small. Any other investment of a considerable capital would have paid Messrs. Steinway & Sons better than this. They have proposed to themselves to supply a want, and they have done so. The thought of a pecuniary return could never have entered their minds, for there can be no pecuniary return. But they have provided a place where musical entertainments of any magnitude may be given, and that is precisely the place that New-York needed. In this point of view they are public benefactors. May they be happy.
We have already published a sketch of the new edifice, and it is necessary to go over the ground again. The hall makes a very favorable impression on the spectator. Its height is conspicuous, and its entrances and vomitaries (the latter being on Fifteenth as well as on Fourteenth-street) are numerous and elegant. There are – beside the great floor – galleries on the southern end of the hall capable of accommodating many hundred people. They are gracefully curled into their places, and are thoroughly lighted and ventilated. From any seat in these galleries a complete view of the platform can be obtained. Looking from the platform itself, the appearance of the hall is exceedingly imposing, resembling rather an opera house than a simple establishment for concerts. Behind the galleries are extension rooms, cosy and convenient, and for purposes of rehearsal, (between the young of both sexes,) exceedingly acceptable. The floor of the hall is 128 feet in length by 75 feet in width. It is level, with ample room in the aisles for ingress and egress. The seats are comfortable, shutting up easily and leaving space for human creatures to pass between them. In the matter of ventilation Messrs. Steinway & Sons have been eminently successful, although it is even yet premature to speak on this point. Ordinarily the gas-burners increase the warmth of the building. Here they are made to act as ventilators. They are placed in the roof, and surrounded by glittering crystals, present a gay appearance. The lights are contrived to consume the foul air, and so keep up a constant change of atmosphere, resembling in this respect an open grate. Nothing at present has been or can be done in the way of decoration. The walls are white; the paneling brown. Where the former have become thoroughly dry they will be frescoed; by that time, too, the new organ will be in readiness. The instrument now used is from St. Thomas’ Church. Some additions have been made to it by its original builders, to which we shall at the proper time refer. A substitute is always out of place, and the peculiar position of this new organ in the new hall seems to be no exception to the rule. The acoustic qualities of the building are unexceptionable. We visited every section of it and could hear distinctly, and with a fullness which we seldom expect and rarely find in a large building.
The programme last night introduced several new artists to the public, and restored others to us whom we are always glad to see and hear. Mme. Parepa made her rentre, and at once established her former pleasant relations with the public. The superb cavatina from ‘Semiramide’ Bel raggio has never been given more effectively. The brilliancy which the music requires, the accuracy of phrasing, and the richness of voice were all there. In the second part the lady sang Ganz’s ‘Nightingale’s Trill’—being on both occasions warmly applauded and encored, declining it in the first insistence, but submitting to it in the second, and substituting ‘Five O’clock in the Morning’ for the former popular song. The lady was in excellent voice. So too was Signor Brignoli, who was received with such favor that for a minute or two the performance could not proceed. The gentleman’s friends have not forgotten him; nor—while he sings as he did last night—are his enemies likely to do so. Signor Brignoli has rarely been in better voice. His command of the mezzo-voce is still superb, and in the management of the fuller tones he is far more artistic than heretofore. He is yet the best tenore di grazia we have ever had in America. The romanza from ‘Martha’ merited the encore it won, and so also the romanza from Donizetti, which was again encored. Signor Fortuna possesses a good presence and an agreeable voice. Signor Ferranti is an excellent buffo, animated and quick, and thoroughly awake to what the audience requires. His success was complete, and we shall be mistaken if he does not speedily become a great favorite with the public. Mr. S. B. Mills was the solo pianist. In the first part he played a movement from Schumann’s concerts in A minor with that perfection of touch and equality of articulation which he alone possesses. He was recalled, but declined an encore. In the second part Mr. Mills played Liszt’s transcription of the ‘Wedding March,’ by Mendelssohn. It was in this that he made his first impression on our public, and it is yet one of the most brilliant numbers of his repertoire. After its performance Mr. Mills was twice recalled. The enthusiasm was unbounded. Mr. Carl Rosa played a couple of solos with splendid feeling. The hall was somewhat moist, and it was not, therefore, possible for stringed instruments to keep in tune. We cannot accurately estimate Mr. Rosa’s execution in consequence, but it seemed to indicate a marked improvement. He is a conscientious and studious artist. It follows that he must always improve. The orchestra, under Mr. Theo. Thomas, was admirable.”
“The new Concert Hall had the good fortune to be inaugurated by that most admirable and popular artist, Mdlle. Parepa, supported by so many excellent artists. The following is a description of the plan and dimensions of the hall as furnished for general information:
The main entrance alike to these warerooms and the grand Music Hall, is through the elegant marble portico on Fourteenth-st., which has a width of 17 feet, and is supported by four Corinthian columns, forming a handsome vestibule, the floor of which is of Italian marble tile, of Mosaic pattern, and lighted by an elegant prismatic lantern. Here the ticket office is located. From this vestibule on the ground floor two separate stairways, each seven feet wide, lead directly to the ground floor of the hall proper, into a spacious vestibule 42 feet in height from the floor to the roof, which is lighted and ventilated with the perfection of modern art. From this vestibule two grand entrances lead into the main hall, and two separate stairways conduct to the two balconies, each being independent of the other.
The dimensions of the Steinway Hall are: Length, 123 feet; width, 75 feet; height from floor to ceiling, 42 feet. Connecting with the main Hall, on the same level of the floor, directly opposite the stage, is a large room, 25 feet wide and 84 feet long, running to the front wall on Fourteenth st., which can be opened into or shut off from the main Hall, at pleasure, through the medium of sliding partition-doors, affording room for 400 persons.
The entire building, from foundation to roof, has been erected in a manner thoroughly substantial. The foundations are the solid bed of rock which crops out between Irving place, across Union-square to Fifth-ave. The basement walls of the building are of solid granite, three feet in thickness, thence to the roof the brick walls are two feet eight inches thick, with heavy external supporting buttresses. The whole of the walls, from foundation to roof, are laid in solid cement. In addition to the unusual strength of the exterior walls, the main floor of the Hall is carried by two supporting walls beneath it, extending directly from the foundation. The timber is all of extra size and strength, the floor has been thoroughly deafened by filling the spaces between the beams with non-conducting matter, thereby rendering the Hall imperious to the objectionable features of excessive vibration and elasticity of floor.
The front on Fifteenth-st. is built of the finest Philadelphia front brick, with brown-stone trimmings, and finely ornamented pillars and caps. There are two balconies (one above the other) at the end of the Hall toward Fourteenth-st., which extend on either side of the room about one-third of its length only.
The platform and stage are placed at the Fifteenth-st. end of the Hall, and extend entirely across it. Connecting with the Hall and stage on the westerly side there is an additional building on Fifteenth-st., containing four elegant artists’ dressing rooms, the upper story being devoted to the bellows, wind chests, and some of the heavy work of the organ, which at present is located in the northwestern corner of the Hall, while the grand organ, when finished, will occupy the entire space from sidewall to sidewall.
The organ used for present purposes has been purchased from St. Thomas’s Church, and had 32 stops. It has been thoroughly remodeled by its original builders, Messrs. Hall & Labaugh [sic], who have added to it eight new registers. It will be completed by the beginning of December next.
The seating capacity of the hall is as follows: 1,300 seats on the main floor, 800 on the two balconies, and 400 seats in the extension room – in all 2,500 seats, all being permanently fixed iron-framed arm-chairs, cushions with ruby leather – the seats being more roomy and more comfortable than in any other public building in the country. There is ample standing room for 500 additional persons, if needed. The aisles are unusually wide, as are also the spaces between the rows of seats. The means of ingress and egress are of the most capacious character, there being two additional exit doors, each seven feet wide, on either side of the stage, leading directly into Fifteenth-st. The doors on both Fourteenth and Fifteenth sts. all open outward, allowing the hall to be cleared by its numerous stairways in three minutes, if necessary.
No attempt at frescoing the hall can of course be made until next Summer, when it will be decorated in the highest style of art; meanwhile the walls are hardfinished, with a pearl tint, the ceiling being pure white. The hall is heated entirely by steam, on the most approved principles admitting of the most perfect regulation of temperature. The steam generator is placed in an outside building some distance from the hall.
The New Steinway Hall is illuminated by two of De Fric’s patent sunlights, imported from London at vast expense. These sunlights, the merits of which have been fully tested in a large number of public buildings in England, light the Hall from the ceiling, illuminating the room perfectly by a brilliant flood of light, which is softened and rendered highly agreeable to the eye by rows of crystal prisms encircling the reflectors.
The following firms have been engaged in the construction of the Hall: Mason work, Marc Eidlitz; carpenter work, Isaac Lewis; timber framer, Hess & Son; slate roofer, W. Conolly & Co.; plastering, Power Bros.; gas fitters and importers of the patent sunlights, Geo. H. Kitchen & Co.; chair manufacturer, B. Koechling; iron work, M. Grosz & Son.
The appearance of the Hall when lighted up and filled as it was on this occasion, is one of comfort and cheerfulness. We do not admire the shape of the room, we should have preferred a semicircular roof, and also rounded ends, as in St. James Hall, London, which is probably the most perfect hall in the world. We think also that the second gallery might be dispensed with good effect to the appearance of the hall. It would lessen the seating capacity, of course, but we believe it would help the hall, both in appearance and in sonority. The outlines of the galleries are essentially inelegant, but they have the one excellence of affording to the visitors the most delightful seats in the house. The seats are really delightful, ample in width and in the space between the rows. The lighting, too, is essentially beautiful. Calm and diffusing, copious and without glare, it is altogether the pleasantest means of illuminating a public building that we have yet seen. It would be unfair to criticize the details of the hall in its present unfinished state. When the hands of competent artists shall have thrown over the walls and ceiling the charms of the pencil, directed by fancy and art, its appearance will be very different, some of its asperities will be smoother down, and its proportions will appear as better harmonized.
Judging from what we heard last night, its acoustic properties will prove entirely satisfactory when the walls are fairly dry. At present the vibrations are rather slow, they lack the brightness which is found in a thoroughly finished and well-seasoned building; but, considering the exacting trial of last night, the acoustic properties were bravely developed. This new Concert Hall is creditable in every way to the business enterprise of the house of Steinway & Sons. They have supplied a great public want, they have spared no expenditure to make it worthy of the purpose, and we are satisfied that in a pecuniary point of view alone they will find their enterprises nobly rewarded.
The novelty of the Hall fully divided the attention of the public with the old favorites and the new artists, but Mlle. Parepa received a very cordial greeting. She looks handsomer and younger than when she left us a few months ago. Her voice is as fresh as ever, and her management of it is as correct and artistic, but she did not seem as certain in her use of it. She seemed in the first act as though afraid to trust it in that new locality, and her intonation was not so generally true as usual. In the second act, however, she recovered all her artistic aplomb, and sang one of her specialité songs deliciously, exciting the warmest enthusiasm and commanding an uproarious encore. She is on all points a delightful artist, and fascinates the public by the rich melody of her voice, and her perfect mastery over all the vocal resources. This evening will doubtless find her in full possession of that artistic ease which enables her to glamour and charm all her hearers.
The appearance of Signor Brignoli was the signal for the heartiest and most cordial applause that we ever saw awarded to an artist in a concert-room. The applause rose and fell, and rose again and again, so that Brignoli seemed to be painfully embarrassed; but it seemed to cheer him on to his labors, for he sang his first song most charmingly. His voice is as beautiful as ever, but it gives evidence of more careful and intelligent culture. He attends more carefully to the nuances of vocalism; he carries his voice better and his duresandos on holding notes are artistically executed and wonderfully effective. Of course, he won a unanimous encore. In his duo with Parepa he seemed a little lazy, from sympathy, perhaps, for Parepa was lazy too, but his second song he sang with so much grace, finish, and sentiment, that he was greeted by an encore which he was compelled to acknowledge, and replied to by the Serenade from Don Pasquale, most delightfully rendered. We are happy to be able to record, at last, that New-York has heart enough to acknowledge an old favorite. The reception of Brignoli afforded the only proof of that fact that we have witnessed for 25 years.
The two new singers, Ferranti and Fortuna, are very excellent artists. Fortuna has a good voice, which he uses artistically, although he is not remarkable for his colorings. Still he sings gracefully and with good finish, and will certainly become a favorite with our public. Ferranti is uproariously demonstrative; he is full of humor and he does not attempt to conceal it, but overflows with gesticulation, grimaces and vocal expletives. He has too much animal life, and will bear a good deal of toning down. He sings with spirit and animation, and seemed to give unqualified delight to his hearers. In his parlando singing he requires more lightness and velocity, but he is sure to win his way to the favor of the public.
Carl Rosa gives evidence of careful study. He has certainly improved since we last heard him, both in the roundness of his tone and the brilliancy of his execution. But he is still cold, unmoved and unsympathetic, and he will never achieve that free, broad tone by which passion alone can be simulated while he allows his bow to hug the strings so closely and so continuously. He plays well, but rather with the uncertainty of the scholar than the passion and bravoura [sic] of a master.
Mr. S. B. Mills played the first movement of Schumann concert [sic] in A minor, superbly. His grasp of the instrument is certainly splendid. Self-assured and unerring, he keeps every passage clear, and makes every note tell. He interpreted his author faithfully, preserving all the delicate coloring, and throwing into the broad effects more abandon than usually distinguishes his manner. In all respects his performance was masterly, and fully deserved the cordial applause which it received.
Mr. J. L. Hatton accompanies elegantly and judiciously, but he may not know that preludizing is out of fashion in our concert rooms.
The orchestra was badly arranged. The brass instruments were raised so high above the others that in the forte passages the violins were utterly inaudible. This was particularly noticeable in the finale of the overture to the Tannhauser, when not one note of the wonderful, streaming, falling figure for the violins could be distinguished. Either the stringed instruments were too weak or the brass was wofully [sic] misplaced. The fault should be remedied this evening, in justice to the works to be performed.”
(More venue description.) Brignoli and Signora Parepa were welcomed with enthusiasm. A new singer, Signor Fortuno, has a pleasant, yet not strong baritone voice. He sang his romance with taste. Signor Ferranti is a skillful basso-buffo whose characteristic voice is more appropriate for the stage than for a concert hall. Nevertheless he was received enthusiastically and had to sing another aria after he had finished his Figaro aria. All in all the concert was a splendid success.
[This article is located in the advertisement section.]
New Venue description of the Steinway Hall –Steinway & Son’s Steinway Hall was built as an extension behind the marble building where the pianos from them are presented to the interested buyer. It is located behind the building 71/73 East 14th Street between Union Square and Irving Place. The hall covers the entire depth between 14th and 15th street. The main building has a 100-foot long front. The entrances and exits are elegant and spacious, so the hall can be cleared within 3 minutes – all doors open up to the outdoors.
The hall is 123 feet long, 75 feet wide and 42 feet high. The building is very sturdy and solid. There are 2,500 seats which are elegant, well cushioned and made of solid iron. In addition there is standing room for 500 more people. The seats are wider and more comfortable than in any other venue in the United States.
The hall is heated with steam which is generated in an adjunct building outside. The ventilation system is the most modern that currently exists as is the lighting system. It consists of two colossal ‘sunlights’ which are situated on the roof top and which were patented in London for Mr. Defries & Son and have been successfully tested in large halls. This venue will be an honorable temple of art for first class musicians and performers.
“The inauguration of Steinway Hall and [of] M. Bateman’s concerts took place Wednesday with great luster. The hall is spacious, elegant, airy, and the acoustics are admirable. The balconies are superb and can contain hundreds of spectators. The creation of this new hall is a real benefit for New York’s musical art, which was badly off for room. It was worthily inaugurated by the elite artists who make up M. Bateman’s company.
We have met again in Mlle Parepa the incomparable singer whom we admired last year. It’s impossible to have a voice that’s more powerful and more flexible at the same time. All her selections were encored, but it was in the cavatina from Semiramide that she outdid herself: she left Mlle Marchisio, who had had so much success in Paris, very far behind. The applause was so tremendous that, if the hall had been less solid, she would certainly have caused it to crumble.
M. Brignoli shared the evening’s honors with Mlle Parepa. When he entered, he was saluted with prolonged bravos, homage earned from his past success in New York. He divinely sighed the romance from Martha, which couldn’t agree better with his voice and his skill. M. Brignoli’s voice appears to us to have grown in timbre and force. In feeling and talent for vocalization, this excellent singer has nothing more to acquire, and he’s kept these eminent qualities to the highest degree. Those who haven’t forgotten the fashion in which M. Brignoli sang Il [sic] Ballo in Maschera and the aria Il mio Tesoro in Don Giovanni saw them again with unmixed pleasure. Those who didn’t know him learned to appreciate in him one of the best singers of the current Italian school.
Let’s not forget either M. Ferranti, nor M. Mills, nor M. Carl Rosa, the last above all, who has made great progress and today plays the violin like a master.”
There could not have been a better performance for an opening of a venue; the performance was flawless. The ensemble consists of many high-class performers. On top is Mme. Parepa with her excellent voice and training. She sings an aria as confidently as a ballad, always with perfect pitch. It is true, however, she lacks the depth of emotion and a sense of poetry. She seems to be a thoroughly trained, practical English woman. There is realism in all she does: solid, diligent, strong yet somewhat sober. She is an excellent concert-singer and exceeds the skill of others, because she is capable of excelling in both “bravura aria” and “getragener Gesang [sustained singing]”. Her bravura aria can be performed more skillfully (Mme. Artot and others have clearly more skill), yet Parepa possesses a stronger voice. Moreover, she only accepts parts that she can master.
S. B. Mills is another highly skilled performer; his performance is not exceeded in America or Europe. His skill is solid even in very difficult passages. He gives every tone justice. His touch is strong and accentuated, not as lyrical and melodious as known from other players. Moreover, he usually chooses to perform very good music. His knowledge of Chopin, Schumann and Beethoven is as deep as of the spirited fantasies by Liszt. He captivates his listeners from beginning to end; however, he does not reach deep into our souls. Therefore we advise him to stay with good music rather than the trivial, because he lacks individuality.
Another member of the ensemble is Carl Rosa, the violinist. He is an efficient, talented performer who has progressed greatly since we heard him the last time. He is still very young, and he justifies our most beautiful hopes of a rising artist. We also want to mention the gentlemen Brignoli, Ferranti and Fortuna. Brignoli used to be the favorite of the Academy of Music. His beautiful voice was accompanied with a grand nonchalance with which he presented his arias. Back then he had little taste, but excellent skills. Now he has more taste, but his skill has suffered. However, he is an honorable artist with a very good education.
Ferranti is the clown of the ensemble; with tails and white gloves. “He seasons the offered entrees with humor and fills his assigned place with honor”.
Fortuna’s baritone voice is not too strong. His education is good, though, so he never creates disharmony with his presentations.
Last we want to mention Thomas and his orchestra. Both have a solid place in the ensemble. With their instrumental pieces they create variety in the program.
“Steinway’s Music Hall was inaugurated on Oct. 31st by the Bateman Concert Troupe. The hall was very uncomfortably filled by the fashion of the city. The concert was a success, each artist being favorably received. Brignoli was received with great demonstrations of applause, which was kept up for several minutes. He was encored in his song of ‘M’appari,’ from the opera of ‘Martha,’ and he had the good sense to repeat the romanza. Formerly he always refused to answer an encore and was taught, for so doing, a lesson by the Bostonians that he has not forgotten. He was never in better voice than now. Mad. Parepa received quite an ovation, and sang in splendid style ‘Bel Raggio’ from ‘Semiramide,’ a duo with Brignoli, the song of ‘The Nightingale’s Trill,’ ‘Five O’clock in the Morning,’ and in the quartet from ‘Don Pasquale.’ Parepa is undoubtedly one of the best concert room singers in the country. The rest of the entertainment was very pleasing. The new hall was erected by Messrs. Steinway & Sons, and is built in connection with, and immediately in rear of, their warerooms, Nos. 71 and 73 East Fourteenth street, between Union Square and Irving Place, with a frontage on Fourteenth street of 50 feet, extending clear through the block to Fifteenth street, where the building has a frontage of 100 feet. The main entrance is through the marble portico on Fourteenth street, which has a width of 17 feet, the floor of which is of Italian marble tile, of Mosaic pattern, and lighted by a pedomatic lantern. From this vestibule on the ground floor two separate stairways, each seven feet wide, lead directly to the ground floor of the hall proper, into a spacious vestibule forty-two feet in height from the floor to the roof. From this vestibule tow entrances lead into the main hall, and two separate stairways conduct to the two balconies, each being independent of the other. The dimensions are: length, 123 feet; width, 75 feet; height from floor to ceiling, 42 feet. Connecting with the main hall, on the same level of the floor, directly opposite the stage, is a large room, 25 feet wide and 84 feet long, running to the front wall on Fourteenth street, which can be opened into or shut off from the main hall, through the medium of sliding partition doors. The basement walls of the building are of solid granite, 3 feet in thickness; thence to the roof the brick walls are 2 feet 8 inches thick. The front on Fifteenth street is built of Philadelphia brick, with brown stone trimmings, and ornamented pillars and caps. There are two balconies (one above the other) at the end of the hall towards Fourteenth street, which extend on either side of the room about one-third of its length only. The platform and stage is placed at the Fifteenth street end of the hall, and extends entirely across it. Connecting with the hall and stage on the westerly side there is an additional building on Fifteenth street, containing four dressing rooms, the upper story being devoted to the bellows, wind chests and some of the heavy work of the organ, which is located in the north western corner of the hall, while the grand organ, when finished, will occupy the entire space from sidewall to sidewall. The seating capacity of the hall is as follows: - 1,300 seats on the main floor, 800 seats on the two balconies, and 400 seats in the extension room – in all 2,500 seats; all being permanently fixed iron framed arm chairs, cushioned with ruby leather. There is ample standing room for five hundred persons, if needed. The aisles are unusually wide, as are also the spaces between the rows of seats. The means of ingress and egress are good, there being two exit doors, each seven feet wide, on either side of the stage, leading directly into Fifteenth street. The hall is illuminated by two of De Fries’ Patent Sunlights.”
Parepa provided truly sacred music with her pleasant and versatile voice. Mills comes closest to Parepa in his skill. His excellent technique is merely the means to interpret a marvelous piece of music; it is not dominant in his talent.
The other members of the Batemann ensemble cannot live up to Parepa and Mills. Although Brignoli’s voice is of unusual beauty, his performance misses ‘soul’. Fortuna’s strong voice and Ferranti’s comedic sense are not convincing enough.
The violin playing of Rosa needs more strength, more ‘crispness’ and especially more calm to underline his otherwise excellent technique and give the sounds the sweetness still missing, which was especially noticed in the accompaniment for Parepa.
“On the last day of October, Steinway’s new music hall was ‘inaugurated’ by the first concert of the Bateman series. A large, well built concert room has long been needed in New York; and the enterprise of the Messrs. Steinway has now supplied this want. The acoustic success of the hall is complete, the seats are roomy and comfortable, and the new (sun) light very natural and agreeable. As Boston people are fully acquainted with the merits of Mr. Bateman's concert troupe, it will be unnecessary for me to say anything on that subject; Madame Parepa’s glorious voice, Signor Brignoli, Messrs. Rosa and Mills have been gladly heard here again, while the success of the new candidates for popular favor, Signori Ferranti and Fortuna has been no doubt satisfactory to these gentlemen. Hatton's pianoforte accompaniments are quite refreshing; so good an accompanist is a rara avis. The orchestra portions of the programme are very pleasant additions.”