Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
Frederick [manager] Rullman
Price: $1.50 reserved; $1; $.50 family circle; $8 boxes
29 August 2017
“‘Fra Diavolo’ was agreeably produced at the Academy last night, with Miss Minnie Hauck as Zerlina, Madame Natali Testa as Lady Rochford, Bellini as Lord Rochford, and Lotti as Fra Diavolo. Miss Hauck’s songs were clear and sweet as usual, and her vocalization as careful and well sustained. She yet needs ease in the part, which was shown by her stiffness while singing and dancing in the chamber scene.
Madame Testa has a good knowledge and habit of the stage. The Lord Rochford of Bellini afforded a very good contrast, in many respects, to that of Ronconi, who makes the part one of his specialties. The latter dresses an English gentleman like a dapper little cockney of the period, in short nankeen pantaloons and very long straps. Bellini produces a comic effect by his beard and wig, but in no way infringes upon good taste. He did not grimace in an equal degree with Ronconi, but rendered the addle-headed nobleman none the less humorous by his aspect, and the business introduced.
Signor Lotti, neither in aspect nor costume, was very effective as Fra Diavolo; while in disguise as an officer his face was denuded of all Mephistophelian attributes. These, with all other peculiarities of the character, are partially preserved. The part does not require great exercise of vocal power.”
“The sparkling and ever fresh opera of ‘Fra Diavolo’ was well performed last night, at the Academy of Music, Miss Hauck, in the character of Zerlina, adding another to her list of successes, and charming the audience not less by her careful and effective rendering of the music than by her graceful and spirited action and pretty appearance. She has taken the part several times in other cities, but never before in New-York, and from the agreeable impression which she made last night, we have no doubt it will become one of her most popular personations. Lotti, as Fra Diavolo, was very good in some scenes, and once or twice made a decided hit; but he is not physically so well fitted for the part as other tenors to whom we are accustomed, and was at times quite weak. Bellini’s Lord Rocburg provokes comparison of course with Ronconi’s, which it does not equal in drollery, though it is full of a different sort of fun, and vocally he is far better than the favorite buffo. An allusion which he made in the vernacular to a drink that he called ‘fwhiski punch’ was keenly relished. Madame Testa’s Lady Pamela is familiar to us, and merits commendation. Dubreuil and Weinlich were excellent as the two ragged brigands, the acting of the former gentleman being especially good. The chorus and orchestra, and all the secondary parts, were quite satisfactory.”