Articles on canceled season of Mapleson’s troupe and assorted current operatic news

Event Information


Manager / Director:
Jacob Grau
H. L. [impressario] Bateman
Max Strakosch
James Henry Mapleson

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
18 January 2019

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

07 Sep 1868
11 Sep 1868
12 Sep 1868
14 Sep 1868
16 Sep 1868
17 Sep 1868
18 Sep 1868
20 Sep 1868
26 Sep 1868
27 Sep 1868


Article: New-York Times, 07 September 1868, 4.

[Part of larger article reviewing and announcing many performances by a variety of performers.] “For a wonder, there has been nothing new on the subject of Mapelson this week. A faint little paragraph from the provincial columns of the London Orchestra states that the impresario intends to give a few performances at the Alexandra Theatre, Liverpool, before his departure for America. It gives the names of the artists, some of whom will not come here. Anything, you see, will do for New York, where Kellogg and Tietjens are sure to captivate the masses, but something different is required for an intelligent British audience. We were wrong, by the way, in saying that Mr. Mapelson would not bring a chorus with him. He has engaged five singers, who will serve as the nucieus [sic] of a ‘grand chorus from Her Majesty’s Theatre.’ What on earth the fifth one is expected to do, we cannot imagine. The whole affair looks like a cheap bungle. The only redeeming points about it are that it restores us to Miss Kellogg, and introduces us to Mme. Titiens [sic] and Mr. Sautley. Otherwise it is clearly a speculation, with gain as the definite object and end."

Article: New York Post, 11 September 1868, 2.

“There is no reason to doubt that about the middle of next month Mr. Mapelson will fulfill his promise of a season of Italian opera at our Academy. We shall enjoy the pleasure of welcoming back our old favorite, Miss Kellogg, whose London laurels will be as nothing compared with the hearty and even affectionate greetings which await her here. We shall, for the first time, see and hear Tietjens, who is pronounced the first dramatic singer of our time, and who, although no longer in the freshness of youth, is still in the full possession of a voice remarkable for its richness and resources. We are also promised Sautley, the best tenor in England, at all events.

“So far all is very well. But we trust that Mr. Mapelson will not depend too exclusively on the attractions of these great artists. The standard of requirement for operatic representations in New York is far higher than it was ten years ago. A few great soloists badly supported cannot satisfy the just demands of our public. The inferior parts must be at least tolerably filled, and the chorus and orchestra must be adequate in numbers and of more than merely respectable quality. After listening to the large and well-trained chorus in Mr. Bateman’s company, few will care to visit the Academy often, if the choral music is weakly or imperfectly rendered, and Mr. Thomas’s superb orchestra has educated the public taste to such a degree that an insufficient orchestral force will not be tolerated in grand opera. 

“We trust that Mr. Mapelson, or his representatives here, will see to it that there shall be no deficiencies in either of these respects.”

Article: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 12 September 1868, 88.

Everybody is waiting for Mapleson. It is still not clear if he and his opera will come and perform at the Academy of Music. He has sent a manager to check out the situation and to give him enough information whether his endeavor has a guaranteed chance to be successful. Too many others have failed to create continuing success at the Academy of Music. The singers Tietjens and the tenor Santley can certainly guarantee to satisfy an even demanding audience as the New York one is. Nothing much is known about the other opera members except for Kellogg, who will be part of the cast.

Meanwhile Maretzek retreated to the West. His opera ensemble will perform in Italian and German language in Chicago on the 28th. Later on he might perform the long awaited opera Loreley at Pike’s, Booth’s or Niblo’s.

Strakosch has not joined Maretzek as initially planned. He will come here with a new ensemble and give performances with Mrs. L’Arronge. It is not known who will be in his ensemble.

French opera we will have in abundance. Bateman has two ensembles and Grau has also one. Each impresario announces his ensemble as the best of course… Rubinstein will not come. He asks for 100,000 Francs in gold as a security before he begins his long journey across the ocean.

A young pianist from Leipzig, Mr. von Inten, has recently arrived. We will hear him perform in the winter season. He has already arranged a series of quartet soirees with Poznanski and Ulard.

Article: New York Herald, 12 September 1868, 4.

“The curtain is about being lifted which is to present to us the fall season at the theatres, whether it be brilliant or dull. We have no reason to suppose that the season will not be an unusually brisk one. Neither politics nor the fever of the Presidential campaign is likely to damage its success very much, because there is such a variety presented to the public that it cannot resist the charm. The ill-fated Academy has now a chance of redemption which its stockholders should not neglect. Season after season it has groaned beneath the weight of Bohemians, real and counterfeit, who clung to it as the old man of the mountain did around poor Sinbad’s neck. Now that the real Bohemian is out West, giving Italian and German opera among the Sioux and Cheyennes, and the counterfeit portion of the confraternity are busy in their investigations of oyster stews and small beer, the stockholders should pluck up courage and give Mapelson assistance and encouragement in his essay upon the New York public. We know not whether the London impresario has the pluck, energy and talent to carry him safe through the stormy season that Italian opera generally encounters in this city; but we do know that if he gives us opera in proper form, with good artists and plenty of them, well trained chorus and orchestra, appropriate mise en scène, unmutilated operas, and above all with due regard to the convenience and free inclinations of the public he will have as much cause to thank us as had Dickens, who went away with a quarter of a million dollars in his pocket. What may be done in the way of Italian opera depends also a gread [sic] deal upon Mr. Mapelson’s judgment in the selection of the company which he is bringing over here. We have heard something of the artists he has engaged, and a few of them at least have a favorable record. He has Titiens [sic], the first lyric artist in Europe. He has been unsuccessful in securing Mlle. Milsson, the Swedish warbler, and we are informed that he is bringing back Miss Kellogg, with her American popularity endorsed by European fame. 

“Surely no one can complain of a dearth of opera of all shades and grades during the coming season.” Goes on to review upcoming programs at other theaters throughout the city.

Article: New-York Times, 14 September 1868, 4.

“The Conundrum of the period—is Mapelson coming? has not yet been solved. The week indeed has been without its usual quantity of Mapelson, and musical people are beginning to mope for Cohen or Jarrett, or some one who can speak definitely on the subject of that important person. One or other, or both of these gentlemen, representing Mapelson, will be here in a day or two, and then the secret will out. In the meanwhile we are glad to know that Miss Kellogg is on her way home. She will receive a hearty and sincere welcome. Tietjens is announced to sing at various places in England up to October, and Mapelson has entered into engagement almost up to the new year. These points we gather from the English papers, whence also we ascertain that Tietjens is to receive $20,000 in gold for her three months’ engagement in America. This would amount to, say, $10,000 a month in currency, or more than $800 a performance. It is quite refreshing to meet with a moderate rumor like this. Patti never sang for such a trifle under the management of Strakosch, but they manage things better in France.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 16 September 1868, 4.

Brief. “Mr. Mapelson’s troupe has arrived.  It consists of Miss Kellogg and Mr. Max Strakosch.”

Article: New York Post, 16 September 1868, 2.

“The return of Miss Kellogg is the marked event of the week in our musical world. She comes back laden with laurels won bravely and fairly in a difficult field, having extorted from the keenest as well as the most prejudiced of critics a succession of verdicts ranging all the way from approval to unqualified admiration. With her London reputation, based as it was on her success in a great variety of the most trying characters, she might easily have chosen whatever new fields of conquest on the Continent seemed most attractive, but has chosen, rather, to return among her old friends, who have watched her career from the beginning with an interest almost affectionate and with a pardonable national pride.”

Article: New-York Daily Tribune, 16 September 1868, 5.

“Miss Clara Louise Kellogg arrived in this city yesterday morning in the steamship, Russia, from her brilliant and successful tour in Europe, accompanied by her parents and servant. On the arrival of Miss Kellogg and party, they proceeded to the Westminster Hotel, where soon after she was warmly welcomed by many of her friends, who congratulated her upon her safe return. In the evening Mr. James McHenry, one of the principal officers of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad, who had accompanied Miss Kellogg and party on the steamer to New-York, gave a private dinner in her honor at the Westminster Hotel. Mr. McHenry presided. The party was very select. [Lists some attendees.] The affair was a very pleasant one, and lasted until a late hour. At the conclusion of the dinner Miss Kellogg and her parents departed for her home in Fifth-ave.”

Article: New York Herald, 17 September 1868, 6.

“In the coming opera season Italian opera, it seems, is to be conspicuous only by its absence. Mapelson has decided not to come to New York until next year, and has written a request to be released from his engagement with the stockholders of the American Academy of Music. One reason, perhaps the principal reason, assigned for this important change in the programme is the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of securing first class tenors. A tenor has always been a rare bird, and now that Mario is too old, that Stigelli has just died in his Italian villa, and that Mazzoleni has buried himself alive in his, Mapelson despairs of finding a successor for either of these eminent artists, and is constrained to decline competition in New York with opéra bouffe under the energetic and successful management of Bateman and Grau. These enterprising impresarii will therefore have it all their own way this fall and winter, unless, indeed, Signor Albites should be encouraged by his numerous friends and admirers again to enter the field and to renew the proposition which he lately made to the stockholders of the Academy of Music. If they conclude an arrangement with him it is to be hoped that he will carefully avoid all the quicksands on which his predecessors have been shipwrecked. Especially will it be indispensable for him to profit by the happy experience of Manager Grau and Manager Bateman, who have conclusively proved how heartily the New York public appreciates a determination to supply it not only with celebrated and gifted leading singers and actors, but with stock companies admirably qualified to support them. Grau and Bateman have already reaped the first fruits of the harvest which only skillful and liberal management as theirs can promise. They are beginning to roll in wealth that California or Peru might envy, and ere long we shall doubtless have the pleasure of chronicling munificent contributions from them to our various city charities, while we shall be subjected to the painful necessity of publishing occasional news of the melancholy privations and wanderings among our Western Indians to which a very opposite policy has condemned that ill-fated Bohemian, Max Maretzek. 

“If neither Mapelson nor Albites shall open the doors of the Academy of Music during the approaching season, perhaps the Howard Mission may secure the vast and cavernous building for noonday prayer meetings, which Allen, and Hadden, and Slocum, and Maretzek and other ‘wicked men’ in New York, will be cordially invited to attend.”

Article: New York Post, 17 September 1868, 4.

“Until the last moment we were reluctant to believe that all of the pleasant promises of Italian opera for the coming season held out by Mr. Mapleson [sic] were delusive, but the painful fact must be admitted; the Academy stands no immediate opportunity of serving the purpose for which it was said to have been erected, and if we have Italian opera at all, it will be due to some combinations which have not yet assumed even embryonic reality. The reasons assigned for Mr. Mapleson’s [sic] withdrawal are various—the unwillingness of Santley to come here, and the impossibility of finding a substitute, among others. Probably the real reason as that the enterprising manager found that he could do better at home. When he again promises to bring us an operatic company, we shall remember how faithfully he keeps his promises. Meanwhile we must depend on Mr. Max Strakosch, under whose auspices Miss Kellogg is to sing, for some sort of combination before the season shall close. If he could get Miss Kellogg, Parepa, La Grange and Miss Phillips, with Brignoli, Orlandini, Bellini, Antonucci, Hermanns, and a good corps of supporters, we might have grand opera yet. Perhaps, however, we must wait until either Mr. Grau or Mr. Bateman shall agree to leave opera bouffe to the other, and bring out a really first-class company for Italian opera. Either one of these eminent managers has the reputation abroad which would enable him to secure the best talent, and both have the qualities essential to successful management.

“At present it looks as though we should have to depend entirely on the gay music of Offenbach, of which we shall have a satiety next month, when the respective adherents of Grau and Bateman shall rally at the French Theatre and Pike’s Opera House, and fight it out on that line if it takes all winter.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 18 September 1868, 5.

Brief. “Miss Clara Louise Kellogg arrived home in the steamship Russia.

Article: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 20 September 1868, 4.
Article: Dwight's Journal of Music, 26 September 1868, 319-20.

“Mr. Mapelson, after all, is not to bring his opera company—not even the abridgement promised—to New York. The Citizen informs us:

“Max Strakosch has arrived in this city, bringing Miss Clara Louise Kellogg and a very complete company of artists, with whom he will shortly commence a concert season. Miss Kellogg is in fine health and voice, and her thousands of friends will welcome her back to America. During the past season she has been the operatic star of Her Majesty’s Theatre, in London, and has established an unbounded popularity abroad. It is understood that Miss Kellogg is engaged to Maurice Strakosch for four years from this time, and that she is under the direction of his brother, Max Strakosch, for the present season, in America, after which she goes abroad again for fresh triumphs. 

“This puts the Mapelson business at rest, so far as America is concerned, this Winter—indeed, the London papers announce that he will take his company to Dublin. He intended to come here, but rumor says that he was outflanked by Maurice and Max Strakosch, who would at once have occupied Mapleson’s abandoned field, and have given Italian opera in Covent Garden, in London, and thereafter in the Provinces. With this prospect, Mapleson [sic] concluded, on the whole, that he had better remain in his own bailiwick, rather than to try the uncertain field in a new country, leaving a sure harvest for his competitors at home. The Academy directors win this city have been officially notified that Mapleson cannot come.”

Article: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 26 September 1868, 120.

Mapleson decided not to come. Strakosch came instead and will give concerts and opera performances out of his own pocket and at his own risk. Kellogg came with him on the steam boat. The article is not clear if she was hired by him. He will begin the Italian opera season with Mrs. LaGrange on October 20th.

The French opera seems to grow with Bateman and Grau continuously competing. Bateman has big plans; however, we are not allowed to publish them yet. He has tireless energy and much passion for his endeavors with his two complete ensembles of excellent performers.

Grau on the other hand is keeping up well with Bateman. Grau has a quiet strength behind his efforts. He is the loveliest and gentlest “lion”, diligent, organized, and effective. Even under pressure he keeps his equanimity. Grau has renovated the French opera house for approximately $25,000, and he plans to perform opera buffo there. However, every single one of Bateman’s operas has had lavish scenery, decorations, and costumes which is hard to compete with.

There is not much to say about the German opera. The few touring companies are known for their ‘screaming’. LaGrange’s efforts to form a German opera ensemble seem not to be fruitful. She would certainly have the support of the German papers.

Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 27 September 1868, 4.

Brief and unspecific. “Strakosch will give an operatic presentation with Kellogg, LaGrange, Lotti, etc., in the New York Academy of Music.”