Manager / Director:
Howard [composer] Glover
Play With Music
26 March 2018
Saturday farewell matinee for Howard Glover, “the popular musical conductor at Niblo’s.”
“Mr. Howard Glover, the English composer, introduced to us on Saturday afternoon, at Niblo’s Theater, an operetta of his own entitled, ‘Once too Often.’ It has been known for a good many years to the English public, but we believe has never before been played in America. The plot is slight but amusing, the dialogue sprightly enough, the characters only four. Briefly, there is a rakish young French nobleman, a professional lady killer, who with the assistance of a comic baron undertakes for a wager to entrap a lady into a fictitious marriage, but is himself drawn into a real one. Several of the airs are pleasing and well-written, but there is a flavor of antiquity about much of the music, and generally it is deficient in the sparkle and animation which are essential for a good comic opera. With competent performers it would make an agreeable impression, but it certainly was not fairly interpreted on Saturday. Miss Fanny Stockton and Miss Lizzy Wilmore, who took the ladies’ parts, were by no means equal to the occasion. The voice and culture which satisfy an audience in a ‘carpenter’s scene’ of a fairy spectacle, or admit the fascinations of illuminated legs will not always suit even the most trifling sort of an opera. The acting of both ladies was vigorous, without being really vivacious. Mr. Arthur Matthison, as the hero, did the best he could with a small tenor voice. Mr. G. F. Hall has an excellent bass; and knows how to sing, and will no doubt do well on the English lyric stage, on which, we believe, he is now only a novice.
The operetta was followed by a shocking affair, described in the bills as Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, with dances and pantomimic illustrations by Jarrett & Palmer’s ballet troupe. It is the work, we are informed, of Mr. Costa—and may heaven forgive him for it! To sum it up as shortly as possible: the ballet, during the progress of the symphony, execute various dances and posturing which are to be taken as illustrating the pastoral scenes indicated by the music. Of course it was altogether ridiculous. There were some real rakes and pitchers, a real pitchfork, a real spade, and other implements of husbandry, all picturesquely intermingled with two dozen pairs of pink calves, which probably were not real. One damsel in the guise of a boy, created much merriment by trundling across the stage an immense wheelbarrow, which was apparently possessed of an insane impulse to roll wildly down to the footlights. In the storm movement there was sheet-iron thunder to such an extent behind the scenes that the music was inaudible. There was a lavish display of red-fire, utterly regardless of expense, and in the hardest of the rain the short robed shepherdesses and such like girls knelt boldly down in the mud in a manner which, if Mr. Costa had only thought of ‘illustrating’ the symphony with real water, must have been the utter ruin of their stockings. The song of the birds was ‘illustrated’ by three or four young women drinking beer, and the hymn of peace and happiness in the last movement by a rustic wedding. In the midst of the last movement the curtain was let down, and the rest of the symphony was drowned in the confusion of clearing the stage. The result of the whole was a bad ballet, and the destruction of one of the greatest symphonies ever written. The idea would have been of worthy Mr. Vincent Crummles, and if it should ever be imitated we shall expect to see Mr. Church illustrating his picture of Niagara with a pail full of real water.
The performance wound up with a miscellaneous vocal concert. The audience was very small.”
"…The same paper [the Weekly Review] alludes to the very curious programme offered by Mr, Howard Glover for his benefit, at Niblo’s Garden, last Saturday. First comes his own operetta’ (Once too Often)’ with the following characters: . . . Then we are to have Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, with dance and pantomimic illustrations by Costa, performed by Jarrett & Palmer’s Parisienne Ballet Troupe; Scene of the Rivulet: Phillis and Corydon—Mlle. Sohlke and M. Van Hamme. As a fit finale to all this a monster concert is offered. Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony illustrated by the White Fawn Ballet Troupe is new and gives fresh life to theory of Wagner, that in the works of art of the future all the arts ought to concur. Poor Wagner probably never dreamt that his idea would be first applied to an old symphony of Beethoven; just as this master surely never imagined that his lovely musical tone-pictures of rural life would form the theme of modern leg-opera."