Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
Frederick [manager] Rullman
Price: $1.50 reserved; $1; $.50 family circle; $8 boxes
28 August 2017
“During the present chaotic condition of Italian opera here any attempt to supply us with operatic representations would be welcomed. Last night, the ‘Artist’s Union,’ consisting of a few of our well-known operatic singers, gave ‘Martha,’ at the Academy. Miss Hauck, Madame Testa, and Signors Lotti and Antonnucci took the leading parts with their usual ability. Miss Hauck never appeared to better advantage than as Lady Henrietta, and her singing of ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ showed a perceptible improvement, deserving the hearty applause it received.”
“The glad Easter Tide set in strong yesterday. The Academy of Music opened its welcome portals, and at the New-York Theatre three pretty girls perplexed themselves with the story of the beautiful Helen. The attendance at the last-named establishment was good, but at the Academy it was poor. ‘Martha’ was played with familiar and thoroughly good artists—the orchestra being under the direction of Mr. Carl Bergmann.”
“A combination of artists, having agreed upon three performances of grand opera during Easter week at the Academy, commenced the series on Monday night with the charming opera of ‘Martha.’ The Lady Henrietta (or Martha) of the evening was Miss Minnie Hauck, the Nancy was Mme. Natalie Testa, while Signor Lotti appeared as Lionel, and Antonucci as Plunkett. There was a very full and efficient orchestra under Carl Bergmann and a fair chorus—better, indeed, than we have sometimes had after more deliberate preparations. Miss Hauck gives the sweet music of ‘Martha’ very sweetly, Mme. Testa gave the music and the saucy coquetry of Nancy in the right spirit, and Lotti and Antonucci filled their respective rôles, if not brilliantly at least neatly and satisfactorily. The house was not full, though a much better house than we had expected for an improvised entertainment with nothing new in it. The artists mentioned were liberally applauded, singly and collectively, and the piece went off smoothly and gracefully. Miss Hauck has the voice of which a famous singer will surely be made with only a few years’ more experience. Her ‘Last Rose of Summer’ was exquisitely done.”
“We’re in arrears with the Academy of Music. Monday evening, we heard Martha there with great pleasure. M. de Flottow [sic]’s work, which is an excellent comic opera of the second order, has the immense attainment of being sung all the time: its’ of a very successful Auber, with the difference, nevertheless, that exists between the master and the imitator, between the original and the pastiche.
Mlle Hauck, who filled the role of Martha, has grown a lot in the past year, in stature if not in talent. The debuts of this young singer had been created to conceive great hopes for her: they anticipated a new Kellogg in her, with a more expanded voice, rounder and more powerful. But in order that Mlle Hauck should have fully realized these hopes, she should have studied a lot, and above all she should have been well guided. We don’t know whether Mlle Hauck studied or not, and if she studied, how she studied, but we’re judging the results and for certain the graceful artist does not yet possess what she promised at her debuts. By good fortune, she’s so young that there isn’t, so to speak, any lost time, but it would be deplorable for her and for the skill that she believes herself to attained, and also if she persists in the defective technique of voice production that she seems to have adopted for some time now.
In Martha, Mlle Hauck is frigid. Mlle Kellogg, who was cool [in the same role], was incandescent lava by comparison. The melody of The Last Rose of Summer was sung in, so to speak, an automatic fashion, without the slightest sensitivity. At times, the artist let her voice founder: she should be careful. In acting and performance, you shouldn’t demand more from Mlle Hauck: her youth and her inexperience excuse her fully with respect to that.
Mme Natali-Testa (Nancy) is, on the contrary, a consummate comic actress. She possesses liveliness, wit, [and] craft. As a singer, we can’t sound her praises more: her voice is one of the most beautiful contralto voices we’ve ever heard in America, and the singer uses it with perfect talent.
M. Lotti was created and put on this earth expressly to sing the role of Lionel. His voice and his whimpering demeanor fit perfectly with this doleful, outcast, contemplative role. Lionel despairs all the time, and moans as as to break hearts of stone. M. Lotti, who has tears in his voice, sang all the numbers in his role with great feeling, and they made him repeat, not without cause, the famous romance in the second act, which he sobbed with a lot of sentiment. M. Antonucci, in the role of Plunkett, showed himself to be both a singer and a perfect comedian; he had to sing the verses of his drinking song over again, and gave us one more time the opportunity to admire his beautiful voice. The orchestra, under M. Bergmann, was excellent. The chorus left something to be desired.”