La Grange-Brignoli Italian Opera: Il trovatore

Event Information

Pike's Opera House

Manager / Director:
Max Strakosch

Giuseppe Nicolao [cond.]

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
29 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

06 Feb 1868, Evening

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Troubadour
Composer(s): Verdi
Text Author: Cammarano
Participants:  La Grange-Brignoli Italian Opera Company;  Pasquale Brignoli (role: Manrico);  Domenico Coletti;  Adelaide Phillips (role: Azucena);  Domenico Orlandini;  Anna de La Grange (role: Leonora)


Advertisement: New-York Times, 02 February 1868, 7.
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 03 February 1868, 8.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 05 February 1868.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 05 February 1868, 8.
Announcement: New-York Times, 06 February 1868.
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 06 February 1868.
Review: New York Herald, 07 February 1868, 5.

“Amusements. Pike’s Opera House.—‘Isn’t it glorious?’ ‘Which, Julia, this pretty birdcage, or this populous assemblage of ‘fair women and brave men?’ or this never failing opera of the ‘Trovatore?’ or the general or special execution thereof? ‘Why, I mean all of it together, the pretty birdcage, populous audience, the opera and the execution thereof,’ And Miss Julia was right; for this beautiful house, packed from parquet to dome with an unusual proportion of pretty women, a grande tenue, is an inspiring sight. The house was inspired, the artists were inspired; but what was the secret of this grand assemblage? La Grange and Brignoli, and Miss Phillips, too, in the ‘Trovatore’ together, are the answer to this question. Leonora, after all, is the great rôle of La Grange, and she did it gloriously. Miss Phillips as Azucena, also brought down the house with a spontaneous recognition of her admirable execution. Brignoli seemed as if fresh from this wonderful fountain of Ponce de Leon and its charms of perpetual youth. Yes, he was fairly inspired. Orlandini astonished us with his enthusiasm. He was never so thoroughly warmed up to his work as last night, and (always good) never did it so well. Altogether, we have never from its first introduction seen or heard the magnificent ‘Trovatore’ more delightfully performed. Strakosch was in raptures, Pike was radiant with joy, and thirty-five hundred people or more will hear us out in this—that last night was the festival night of the season.” 

Review: New York Post, 07 February 1868.

“The attendance at Pike’s Opera House last evening was immense. Many went away unable to get even good standing room, and every seat was occupied. The crowd was equal to that of the opening night. Then the motive which induced many to go was curiosity to see the new opera house, and assist at its formal consecration to lyrical uses. Last night the attendance was called out solely by the general desire to see and hear Lagrange, Phillips and Brignoli in ‘Trovatore,’ an opera which, as generally performed has lost its interest from numberless repetitions. With Lagrange as Leonora, Miss Phillips as Azucena, and Brignoli as Manrico, however, the case was changed. It is safe to say that these three characters have never been so nobly sustained here before, in the same performance. Either one of them would rescue the representation of ‘Trovatore’ from the commonplace; combined they really constitute a marked event in the history of the opera.

There is no occasion for further criticism of the performance of ‘Trovatore’ by the Strakosch company, save to say that the substitution of Brignoli for Massimiliani was all that was needed to make it uniformly remarkable in the leading parts, and that the opera was given with much greater evenness and effect in the concerted pieces than when first performed this season. Brignoli was never in more perfect condition for singing than he is now. His graceful and unpretending method was never more winning; his notes were never more perfectly clear, rich and limpid, and his sustained notes and beautiful crescendo and diminuendo were never more wonderful. All his failings were last night freely forgiven by the thousands who were enchanted by his vocalization. We have already expressed freely our admiration of La Grange’s Leonora, which is perhaps the most exquisite, although not the greatest, of her characters, and of Miss Phillips’s Azucena, which merely as a piece of acting, can only be compared with the great characters of Ristori.” 

Review: New-York Times, 07 February 1868, 4.

“The repetition of the ‘Trovatore,’ with Signor Brignoli in the cast, attracted the largest and most brilliant house of the season. The almost forgotten banner, with the inscription of ‘standing room only,’ was once more hung out on the outer walls; but they came notwithstanding. It is quite evident that Mr. Strakosch has two public favorites, Mme. La Grange and Signor Brignoli. New-York is glad to see either or both—but especially both. Last night they sang together for the first time, and hence the result which we have recorded. There is hardly anything to be said of the opera. The subject is entirely exhausted. It will suffice that the performance was in every way excellent. We have recently spoken of all the singers in the distribution except Signor Brignoli, and of this artist it is hardly possible to speak, inasmuch as he was the first and has constantly remained the best. He was in good voice, and in the slow movements sang with that exquisite delicacy, purity and correctness of intonation which he alone possesses. The fiery aria of the third Di quella pira was given with much spirit, and would have been encored but for the precipitous entry of the chorus, which put an end to the applause. The tower scene of the last act was rendered with rare dramatic feeling by Mme. La Grange, and Signor Brignoli's serenade fell—as of old—mellifluously on the ear. The performance, indeed, was uniformly good.” 

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 07 February 1868, 4.

“The appearance last night of La Grange, Brignoli, and Miss Phillips in the opera wherein they won, if not their earliest triumphs, at least their first really affectionate appreciation from the public of New York, was one of the most agreeable events of Mr. Strakosch’s agreeable season. The best Leonora, the best Manrico, the best Azucena we have ever had, these three artists are the standards by which, for the last twelve years, we have measured every new singer who has attempted the interpretation of Verdi’s most popular characters; and to hear them once more singing together the songs they sung in those bright days when the luckless Troubadour was fresh and Non ti scordar di me was turning young brains crazy, was like carrying us back to the palmy days of the old Academy (if it ever had any palmy days), where an opera season did not always entail disaster, and there was sometimes a balance in the manager’s treasury. It is seldom that three such excellent singers can be heard together in parts which they have so thoroughly identified with their fame. Madame La Grange sang in the Trovatore only a little while ago, and we remarked then how little of her former power and sweetness time had taken away, and how brilliantly she displayed that marvelous culture and that exquisite taste which we remember in this opera more perhaps than any other in which she has ever sung. We have nothing to add to what we have already said of her Leonora, except that with each repeated performance her excellences seem to be more generally appreciated. Brignoli last night in resuming a rôle with which he is so closely identified that it almost seems as if he was born for the express purpose of twanging a guitar, and being shut up in a tower, and broiled in a fiery furnace, was received with exuberant manifestations of delight, which he acknowledged with his usual grace, and justified to the utmost by singing superbly. We doubt whether he ever did Manrico better in his life, and in some parts he certainly surpassed his earlier performances. His voice showed all its original sweetness, and his style displayed occasional evidences of improvement. Of the other characters we need only say that in the hand of Miss Phillipps and Orlandini they were treated with entire care and success. The house was full to overflowing; all the available standing room was occupied, and the receipts, we are informed, even exceeded those of the opening night.”