Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
Max [impressario] Strakosch
Giuseppe Nicolao [cond.]
Price: $2 reserved; $1.50; $.75 family circle; $10, $12, and $20 boxes
29 August 2018
“A season more brilliant has never been known even in this City of triumph and successes, and the director congratulates himself, in spite of the oft inclemency of the weather and other disadvantages well known, he has been enabled to present the standard works in such variety and with such perfection of cast as to win not only the most flattering support from the public, but the cordial recognition from the critical press.
In this occasion, Mr. Strakosch is glad to announce that, having secured the lease, for a brief period, of the Academy of Music, he is enabled, in deference to the universal desire of his patrons, to transfer his troupe from Mr. Pike’s Opera House to the scene wheron the contemporaries of this own great artists have won their brightest fame. . . . The enthusiastic reception . . . has induced the management to announce it for repetition on the openining night, with its powerful cast, new and magnificent dresses, appointments, etc.”
Long ad concerning the Strakosch opera troupe.
“The sale of seats commenced yesterday, and progressed rapidly.”
“First joint appearance in the Academy of Music…since their return from Europe, of the prima donna, Mme. Anna de La Grange, and the admired tenor, Signor P. Brignoli.”
“The opera is ‘Il Trovatore,’ with casts as heretofore–one of the best we have had here for many years.”
“Academy of Music.—Italian Opera.—The first gun of the great operatic war of the present season was discharged at the Academy last night. Max Strakosch was the gunner, and the target was an immense quantity of stockholders and the profanum vulgus, all arrayed in opera cloaks and satin. The boxes, stalls and dress circles of the Irving place opera house were crowded, and frequent were the plaudits and bouquets. A Mr. Verdi supplied the opera, the venerable ‘Trovatore,’ and the great attractions were the truly great La Grange, who gave an inimitable personation of the unfortunate Leonora; Miss Adelaide Phillips, who seems to have been marked out by nature as a revengeful gypsy; the designing Orlandini, who surpassed himself in his attempt to portray the wicked Count de Luna, and Brignoli, who represented the perplexed lover in his own peculiar manner. La Grange is indeed great in the “Trovatore.” Every aria and recitative received its due dramatic treatment at her hands, and in the immortal Miserere scene she showed that she was the brightest star of the operatic firmament. The “Trovatore” seems to be gifted with perpetual youth. There is not in the wide realm of Italian opera another work which is more dramatically treated, and in which there are more popular and artistic points. The orchestra was entirely too loud last night, and drowned some of the best numbers in the opera. Mr. Nicolao should tone down his increased force in order to give the singers a change of being heard.”
“Mr. Strakosch’s new season at the Academy opened most auspiciously last evening with ‘Il Trovatore.’ The weather was favorable and the house was crowded with an audience of the best character. The principal singers were in excellent voice, and sang with even more than ordinary spirit. It is possible that the recollection of the past triumphs won in what has been for some years the especial home of Italian music in New York, inspired the singers with an especial enthusiasm. At all events the performance of ‘Il Trovatore’ was characterized by a degree of lyric energy, sentiment and force of expression deserving of the abundant marks of favor with which it was received. We have already expressed our high appreciation of the manner in which this well-worn opera is given by the Strakosch company, and need only add that the performance of last evening excelled any of those given during the season just closed at Pike’s Opera House, which is very high praise.
The chorus has been strengthened and improved, and the musical force of the orchestra has been increased. We wish that we could conscientiously chronicle an improvement in Mr. Nicolai’s style of conducting. Under his impatient control the orchestra often hurried the singers, and sometimes materially interfered with the solfter vocal passages by too great prominence. Mr. Nicolai has so many of the qualitites of a good conductor, that it seems a pity that he should be so often carried away by his enthusiasm. [Announces upcoming performances in the city and Brooklyn.]
The enjoyment of the last act was very much impaired by the ill-bred and annoying conduct of several persons, male and female, who took occasion to go out before the fall of the curtain. To say nothing of the lack of courtesy shown by them toward Madame Lagrange, Miss Phillips and Signor Brignoli, there was a culpable offensiveness toward those who desired to enjoy the entire performance undisturbed. If these breaches of good manners, and of the rights of others, continue and multiply, it may become necessary to have the doors closed, except between the acts and after the performance.”
“Mr. Strakosch commenced his short season at this house last evening. The opera was ‘Il Trovatore,’ and the caste the same as before. Madame La Grange and Signor Brignoli were is capital voice, and sang superbly. There was an increased orchestra and chorus.”
“The reopening of the opera-house in Irving place, and the return of our well-remembered favorites, La Grange, Brignoli, and Miss Phillips, to the scenes of their early triumphs, was celebrated last night by one of those rare good audiences, imposing in numbers, radiant in gay costume, and prodigal of applause, such as it is a genuine pleasure to look upon. Mr. Strakosch, in leaving Pike’s new theater, has not, as some feared he would, left his prosperity behind him. The crowd which besieges his doors in the old opera-house proves that the attraction in the new one was not the splendor and freshness of the building, but the excellence of the singers. The familiar faces of the habitués of the Academy, rarely or never seen on the other side of the town are once more radiant in the lobbies and bloom in the balcony. The boxes rustle with the accustomed silks, and once more the rippling smile runs around the rows of pretty faces. The welcome extended to the popular artists has been as cordial and as substantial under the auspices of the stockholders as under those of Mr. Pike, and the omens point thus far to a successful season. The performance last night was admirable. La Grange, Brignoli, and Miss Phillips are so well known in ‘Trovatore’ that criticism on their singing would be superfluous. They are the best representatives of their respective parts whom we have ever seen. Brignoli had an inspiriting reception from his many old friends, and to see his graceful form staggering under nosegays, and politely struggling with La Grange to modestly cast off the honor of the scene was a sight worth at least the price of a reserved seat. He was in fine voice, and well deserved his abundant laurels. Orlandini was unusually good as Di Luna, and his Il balen called forth an enthusiastic encore. He lacks the rotundity of voice to which we are somewhat accustomed in the belligerent Count, but his tones are agreeable and sufficiently strong, and he is an artist of admirable culture. The chorus and orchestra have both been enlarged; the former has improved by the change, and the latter has done just the reverse. The principal efforts of Mr. Nicolai, the conductor, were apparently to drown all the voices, in which he often succeeded; and to keep the chorus and the instruments together, in which he often did not succeed.”
The event was very well attended. The singerss, who we reviewed before at Pike’s Opera House, exceeded their former performances yesterday. La Grange moved the audience to enthusiastic applause several times with her excellent vocal performance.