Pike's Opera House
Manager / Director:
Lafayette F. Harrison
9 August 2017
“Mr. Harrison certainly exhibits a commendable enterprise in bringing out on the operatic stage new candidates for public favor. His season has been a short one, but since it began three new singers have made their first appearance at Pike’s Opera House. First, we had Madame Agatha States, who produced a decided impression, and at once took an honorable rank. Next came Madame Lumley, whose success was less manifest, but who is certainly an addition to the operatic stage. Last night another candidate, entirely unheralded, presented herself in the light and festive opera of ‘Crispino é la Comare.’
The name of the new prima donna is Madame Izora Elder. We understand that she is a Boston lady, who has for some years devoted herself to the study of music at home and abroad, but never before last night had sung in public, either in opera or in the concert room. Certainly her appearance as she came on the stage as Annetta last night did not indicate the novice. As far as her acting went, she could safely challenge comparison with many of our veteran operatic artists. Of small figure, lithe, easy, graceful and full of action, she must have suggested to every one a resemblance to Miss Kellogg, whose style of rendering the part of Annetta she seems to have studied carefully and to great advantage. She could not have taken a better model, for Miss Kellogg has appropriated the part of Annetta as exclusively as Ronconi has that of Crispino.
As a singer we cannot speak so favorably of Mrs. Elder. It is hard, however, to judge of her from last night’s performance. The first trial in operatic singing has frequently been discouraging to young singers who have afterwards become famous, and even experienced singers need some practice before they can accustom their voices to a new auditorium. In spite of both these serious disadvantages the friends of Mrs. Elder have reason to congratulate her, and to hope for more assured success in the future. Her voice is not of the best quality, however, being thin and deficient in the sympathetic quality. It had a good range, and a capacity for difficult feats of execution.
Mrs. Elder’s reception was enthusiastic, the flower business exceeding anything we have seen before this season. In fact, the friendly demonstrations were somewhat overdone. Mrs. Elder may become a Kellogg, but she is not yet, and Kellogg herself would have felt embarrassed by the shower of bouquets, which required the united efforts of Mrs. Elder and Ronconi to carry off in two loads. Of the rest of the performance it is needless to say anything more than that Ronconi, Bellini and Antonucci retained their old parts, and sustained them as they alone could. A nobler trio was never assigned to the performance of ‘Crispino.’”
“Mrs. Izora Elder, who made last night her first appearance on any stage, is an American young lady who comes to us from Boston, unheralded and unpuffed. The result of her perilous venture is challenging a place by the side of Kellogg, Harris, Hauck, and the various other light sopranos whom this country claims the credit of having produced and educated, ought to fill her friends with confidence. She has made an agreeable impression, and if she has not shown herself an accomplished artist, she has exhibited a good deal of the material out of which accomplished artists are made. Her voice has a high range and considerable power; without being particularly mellow, it is pleasant and sometimes very sweet. After a little more cultivation it will undoubtedly become much sweeter, and the tendency to sing out of tune which is the result not so much of a defective ear as of a defective method, and probably, in a considerable degree, of nervousness, will be corrected. There is something winning in the voice; there is something very winning too in her appearance; and her acting is charming. It is rare to find a debutante so much at her ease on the stage, and so full of vivacity. The part of Annetta in ‘Crispino,’ which she chose for her first appearance, is one in which Miss Kellogg and Miss Hauck are both admirable, and that Miss Elder, coming so soon after them, should be able to satisfy an audience, is very much in her favor. The other parts last night were filled by the same artists who took them the last time the opera was played, and with whom our readers are already familiar. Ronconi, Bellini, and Antonucci were in unusually fine spirits, and their famous trio in the third act excited even more than the usual uproar. Ronconi made a good deal of fun not on the bills, when he led Mrs. Elder before the curtain at the end of the first act. A shower or roses fell upon her, or to abandon metaphor, some 15 or 20 bouquets and baskets were passed up by the ushers; and the ludicrous expression of the great buffo, as he staggered off the stage with the enormous loads (he had to come twice for them, his pathetic appeal, in dumb show, to the audience not to send any more, and his frantic attempt, when his arms were full to cram one large bouquet into his pocket, convulsed both the house and the stage with laughter.”
…The voice of the debutante is small and thin, yet pleasant sounding. Her acting skills are much better than last week’s lead singer Mme. States. Some of the main scenes of the opera were performed quite well by Elder, and thus received applause.
“ . . . Mlle. Elder, a lady who has had the advantage of the best instruction both in this country and in Europe, made her first appearance on any stage in the difficult character of Annetta, in ‘Crispino é la Comare,’ on Thursday. She astonished every one by the easy gracefulness of her bearing, and the facility which she undoubtedly possesses to interpret character. Mlle. Elder possesses also a true soprano voice, capable of the finest execution, and of clear, tender, expressive intensity. With the freer delivery which will come from experience, she can readily assume the rôles of Miss Kellogg, and we are sure with satisfaction to the public. Her first appearance was an ovation, the stage being literally strewn with flowers. . .”