Richings English Opera: Faust

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Caroline Richings

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
16 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

10 Jan 1868, Evening

Program Details

Wallace's The Desert Flower was originally scheduled for this performance, "for the first time in America." Its postponement to 01/13/68 was accounted for by the New York Herald advertisement of 01/10/68: "NOTICE.--The public is most respectfully informed that in consequence of the elaborate preparation necessary for the proper production of Wallace's 'Desert Flower,' it is unavoidably pops toned till Monday evening, Jan. 13."

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Gounod
Text Author: Barbier, Carré
Participants:  Richings English Opera Company;  Zelda Harrison (role: Siebel);  Edward S. C. Seguin (role: Valentine);  Mrs. J. A. Arnold (role: Martha);  William Castle (role: Faust);  Sherwood C. Campbell (role: Mephistopheles);  Caroline Richings (role: Margaret)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 05 January 1868, 2.

Advertises Wallace's The Desert Flower "for the first time in America."

Advertisement: New York Post, 09 January 1868.

Follows review of Richings’ performance of Bohemian Girl.

“William Vincent Wallace’s opera of ‘The Desert Flower’ was to have been brought out to-morrow evening, but its production has been necessarily postponed until Monday evening next. Much interest is felt in musical circles in regard to this work, which met withunquestionable success in London, in 1863, but for some reason has never been brought out here.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 10 January 1868, 7.

Full cast list; announces postponement of The Desert Flower.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 10 January 1868, 7.

Full cast list.

Review: New York Herald, 11 January 1868, 5.

“Academy of Music.—The English version of Gounod’s ‘Faust’ was given last night by the Riching’s opera company to an audience more appreciative than numerous. Miss Richings went through the laborious part of Marguerite admirably, and when we consider that she had to bear comparison with other prime donne in the same rôle and in a more favorable language, we must accord her the merit of success. In fact in this, as in all other parts which she assumes, she threw a great deal of feeling into the character. Castle as Faust had an opportunity of using his pleasant voice to advantage, and acted better, perhaps than in any other part which he has attempted this season. In the garden scene he was especially good. Campbell’s Mephistopheles was acceptable enough as far as voice is concerned, but he made no pretension to acting the part. Mrs. Seguin sang and looked the pretty Siebel, as any one can imagine she would. The ‘Flower Song’ was deliciously rendered and obtained a well deserved encore. The orchestra gave the famous ‘Soldiers Chorus’ with great force, which is more than can be said for the chorus itself, which was altogether drowned and lost in the clash of instrumentation, so that whatever merit there was in this morceau belonged to the orchestra, which is to be regretted, because the chorus was fair enough and could have done better if the orchestra only gave them a chance. We would suggest that if ‘Faust’ is produced again a curtailment would be an advantage. The graveyard scene might be left out without damaging the opera.”

Review: New York Post, 11 January 1868.

“‘Faust’ was produced last evening by the Richings company at the Academy of Music. The experiment of adapting the libretto of this familiar work to the English language was, on the whole, a decided success. Mrs. Seguin, however, as Siebel, won the honors of the evening, Miss Richings not succeeding as well as usual in the part of Margaret.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 11 January 1868, 4.

“The representation of ‘Faust’ by the Richings Company last night was much better than most people probably expected it to be. Though it differed in most respects from the popular ideal of that opera, and though there is necessarily something rather incongruous in an English lyrical version of the great German mystery, it would be ungenerous, in view of the merits of the performance, to point out the faults of detail. Mr. Campbell as Mephistopheles was the best of the Company, rendering the music with fidelity and with a fine volume of voice, and acting the part in many scenes remarkably well. Miss Richings is not equal to the poetical delicacy either of Gounod’s or of Goethe’s Margaret, but she delivered the part with care and correctness, and displayed the best qualities of her sonorous organ. Mr. Castle sang very sweetly; and produced an extraordinary impression by his marvelous costume. Mrs. Seguin was a very charming Siebel; she and Mr. Campbell were by much the best of the company last night. Her husband as Valentine was satisfactory. The chorus, we fear is incorrigible. The orchestra was more subdued than is its wont. The master or mistress of the robes has an original mind, the chorus being habited in a marvelous mixture of strange dresses, and the breast of Mephistopheles being ornamented with an appalling comic face in black cloth, fastened upon a scarlet and yellow background. Small faults apart, the performance was a meritorious one, and well worth the repetition which is promised for this evening.”