Maretzek Italian Opera: Roméo et Juliette

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
26 September 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

25 Nov 1867, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Gounod
Text Author: Barbier, Carré
Participants:  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Minnie Hauk (role: Juliette);  Enrico Testa (role: Tybalt);  Antoinette Ronconi (role: The Page);  Emilio [tenor] Pancani (role: Romeo);  P. [bass] Medini (role: Friar Lawrence);  Ettore Barili (role: Gregory);  Fernando [bass-baritone] Bellini (role: Mercutio);  Giuseppe B. [basso] Antonucci (role: Father Capulet)


Article: New York Post, 22 November 1867.

“The insurrection of the chorus singers at the Academy is at an end. The revolters have grounded their arms and formally surrendered to the constituted authorities, who will next week go on with the remaining part of the musical campaign as though nothing had happened. As will be seen by the published card in another column the strikers have apologized, sought reinstatement in their former places and have promised to do better for the future.”

Article: New-York Times, 22 November 1867, 4.

“Mr. Maretzek, it will be seen elsewhere, makes the announcement that his rebellious choristers have struck their flag, have gone to their knees, and in a card from them which he publishes, the inharmonious singers beg pardon of the public and their manager—the ‘misunderstanding’ being over, therefore the opera is to go on. The season will be resumed on Monday next, when ‘Romeo and Juliette’ is to have its second representation . . . .” 

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 22 November 1867, 6.

In a letter addressed to Maretzek, which was printed in the ad announcing the next opera performances, the chorus members ask the director to “forget” [quote] the misunderstanding from last Monday and to not interrupt the opera season. They assure him their cooperation, and hope the audience will forget the situation as soon as possible.

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 22 November 1867, 6.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 22 November 1867, 8.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 23 November 1867.

Includes a card from the choristers ending their strike. “We, the undersigned, as a deputation of the members of the Chorus, with full power from all of them, do hereby request you to forget the misunderstanding of Monday last, and beg you to continue the opera season, assuring you of our good will and co-operation. Hoping the public may also forget the occurrence and appreciate our efforts in future, we remain, respectfully yours, G. Banfi, S. Vitale, L. Schneeberger, G. Milano.”

Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 24 November 1867, 4.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 25 November 1867.
Announcement: New-York Times, 25 November 1867, 5.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 25 November 1867, 8.
Review: New York Herald, 26 November 1867, 7.

“The Academy of Music was opened again last night, for Italian opera. The manager and his chorus singers have arranged their difficulties, and all went on smoothly again. Gounod’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was repeated, with Pancani as Romeo and Miss Hauck as Juliet. There was a good house notwithstanding the disagreeable weather, showing that Italian opera is such a favorite amusement in New York that it is only necessary to have first rate artistes and good operas to be successful. With regard to this particular opera we have already spoken of its merits and adaptation to a New York audience when it was brought out on last Friday week for the first time in this country. There is probably no subject in the whole range of dramatic literature better adapted for the highest display of lyric wit. But, while there are many gems in this opera, it does not come up on the whole to the idea the public have of the beautiful creation of Shakspeare [sic].To do even Gounod’s composition justice a stronger company is required than the one now performing at the Academy. It is but fair to say, however, that the second representation was an improvement upon the first. Pancani’s performance was admirable, and highly appreciated by the audience. Though but a short time here, this artiste has made an impression upon the opera-goers such as few can boast of….”

Review: New-York Times, 26 November 1867, 5.

“Last night Gounod's new opera, ‘Romeo e Giulietta,’ was performed by Mr. Maretzek's company, for the second time in New-York. It was expected that the postponement of this second performance from last week, on account of the war between the choristers and the management, would have excited public interest to a great extent. No such result appeared, and the audience that was present seemed to be rather unimpressible. Both these facts might have been owing to the weather, and not to the lack of appreciation by the people of Gounod's opera, Mr. Maretzek's efforts to please, or the victory achieved by the management over its rebellious chorus.    

The opera itself was sung infinitely better than on the first night of its representation. The rôles were filled by the same artists, with the exception of that of Mercutio, which was rendered last evening by Sig. Bellini. He made a more interesting exponent of the dramatic conception which Mercutio represents, and a sufficiently musical delineation of the musical idea. His chief air, ‘Queen Mab,’ in the first act, was not marked enough to gain an encore, or any great amount of applause. We have yet to hear the singer who can render this music perfectly. Bellini came nearer the true mark than his predecessor, however, and nearer, perhaps, than any one on our stage could. Sig. Antonucci , in the rôle of Capulet, was faithfully correct, and gave the hearty, jocund music of the ball-room scene with superb effect. Sig. Pancani's Romeo had its previous merits and its previous faults. His voice runs too frequently into the baritone to be pleasant in a lover, and such a lover as passionate as Romeo should be. For this reason, his share of the garden duet which ends the second act was far from perfect. Miss Hauck's Juliet was exceedingly pleasing, and her rendering of the music chaste and delightful. Her light-hearted and child-like warbling of the principal aria in act first [sic] was the best received effort of the evening, and although warmly re-demanded by the audience, was prudently reserved. The refractory and now repentant chorus was received in blank silence by the audience and permitted to sing and subside without notice.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 26 November 1867, 5.

“The second performance of Romeo and Juliet, last night, confirmed us in the opinion we had previously expressed of that beautiful work. It is the most poetical of modern music, and if there is any taste or discrimination in the opera-going public of America, will be more thoroughly admired the oftener it is heard. With comparatively few striking airs, as one can readily catch and carry away, it is, nevertheless, rich in melody, and intensely emotional. The performance last night was better in several respects than the first one. Signor Pancani was in his best voice, and surprised even his friends by the comparative freshness of his tones. He is a careful artist, and sings with good taste and expression, and his voice last night showed less than usual the effect – of time, shall we say or of hard usage. Miss Hauck had a flattering reception. We praised her performance heartily when the opera was first brought out, before the war of the chorus, and have nothing to alter in the judgment we then expressed. Signor Bellini, we need hardly say, proves an important addition to the cast, and in the ‘Ballad of Queen Mab’ has a good opportunity for the display of his powers. For the rest we have only to add that Antonucci was admirable, and that the subordinate parts were sung very much as usual. The weather naturally interfered somewhat with the number of the audience, but considering the unfavorable circumstances, it was a good one.”

Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 30 November 1867, 264.

“The event attracted a large audience. The opera does not live up to Gounod’s Faust. . . . Certainly one has to see the opera in order to participate in the conversations of the educated folk. However; this work will not be remembered for long. Maretzek deserves recognition for staging this new opera faster than other opera houses other than Paris and London. Maretzek’s version offered elaborate costumes and scenery. Due to the unexpectedly rushed departure of Anastasi and Peralta, Pancani and Hauck did not have much time to prepare their leading parts. However, here this opera has a much better cast than the Paris opera. The singers of ‘Romeo’ and ‘Capulet’ in Paris had worn-out and too small voices. Hauck’s voice did not seem appropriate for ‘Juliet’, because there is sharpness in her forced high range. Pancani did his best; Bellini, Antonucci and Medini did perfectly as well as did the chorus.”

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 02 December 1867.

“At the opera, the performances of Roméo et Juliette marched lamely along. . . .”