Pike's Opera House
Manager / Director:
Giuseppe Nicolao [cond.]
29 August 2018
“The Strakosch company begin their third week at Pike’s Opera House with fine prospects of success. So far, although Brignoli has been unable to sing, the houses have averaged well, and the impression produced by the performances has been on the whole satisfactory. The pleasure of hearing two such thorough artists as Madame La Grange and Miss Phillips has been a compensation for some indifferent singing in their support, and has been appreciated generally and keenly. By Friday night it is confidently expected that the unwillingly absent tenor will be able to complete the trio of great singers which constituted the strength of the company. Among the new attractions promised is that of the first appearance of a soprano of whom we have very favorable reports, which is likely to occur some time during this week or next…”
“Pike’s Opera House.—Brignoli is still on the sick list, and his case, we are sorry to say, is something more serious than the convenient certificate of an obliging physician usually attritubed to operatic aliments. Meantime Massimiliani proves himself equal to every requisition, whether called upon three or six times a week. As for La Grange, everybody knows that in answer to her name and place in the programme she is never missing, and so she is looked for as a matter of course, and ‘Traviata’ last night, with the cast of last week, was so nearly the same in its execution as to need no further remarks. The house was very good, considering the weather, and considering the fact that the old Academy stockholders find it hard to reconcile themselves to the doctrine of ‘equal rights’ to the public at large in the matter of opera seats, after having so long enjoyed themselves the exclusive right to all the best seats in the house. But Pike in doing away with this crippling monopoloy has done a good thing, and the experiment must succeed or the Italian opera must fall in this democratic metropolis absolutely. This beautiful new house has so far been the only novely offered to attract the public, and it is a great attraction; but when the public have seen it something more will be demanded to draw and hold the habitués of the opera—we shall want new singers, new combinations, new productions, something new, one way or another, from night to night. This, we understand, is the plan of operations resolved upon as soon as this new house, with old operas and singers of many campaigas among us, shall have ceased to satisfy the cashier. For the next season at Pike’s, therefore, we shall look for a list of operas and singers that will draw the town and country, and give us in the manager the living personification of ‘the happy man.’”
“The repetition of ‘Traviata’ at Pike’s Opera House last evening calls for no extended criticism, inasmuch as the second performance differed from the first merely in the substitution of Signor Randolphi, as Germond [sic]. This baritone made an exceedingly favorable impression. The quality of his voice is, however, better than his method, which is somewhat uneven and sometimes bad. Madame La Grange afforded fresh reasons for the admiration of her Violetta, being in excellent voice.”
“Verdi’s opera of ‘La Traviata’ was given here last night. The cast was the same as heretofore, with the exception that Signor Randolphi played the part of Germont. The gentleman has a beautifully sympathetic voice, and when he can command his voice sings well, but last night was not successful in commanding it. Mme. La Grange was excellent, and of the other artists it is unnecessary to speak, having spoken of them so recently. The performance was in every way acceptable.”
“The small crowd Monday evening at Pike’s Opera, where they did La Traviata again, must doubtless be attributed to the bad weather. This second performance, meanwhile, was much better than the first. M. Massimiliani, completely recovered, rediscovered the beautiful voice for which he is known. This artist, since we saw him at the Academy, has made immense progress as an actor. Today, he knows how to inhabit and animate the stage, and he lacks neither warmth nor pathos. Monday, he was quite remarkable in the third and fourth acts. M. Massimiliani, whose modesty scarcely contended with the overweening conceit of certain competitors, is one of those artists who should be kept among us at any price. He’s a true tenor, and tenors are so rare that we must preserve, with jealous care, those that we do have. He doesn’t have a white voice, like this one here, and he doesn’t baritone, like that one there: he’s the real powerful tenor of modern operas.
M. Randolfi, whom we’ve heard in some concerts, debuted at the opera in the role of Germont. His voice is too shrill for the theater, and subject to quacks. Besides, M. Randolfi sang out of tune a bit too frequently. He would be wise to stick to concerts.
Mme de La Grange made them applaud her staccato in the first-act aria, at the end of which they called her back. We didn’t like her final convulsions of agony in the fourth act very much. These exaggerated roles of dying have their place in a hospital, but not on the stage: they reminded us of the hoarse cries exhaled in a similar situation, at the dénouement of Elizabeth, by Mme Ristori, who, in the matter of good taste and appropriate standards, is not a model to follow.
Neither the chorus nor the orchestra merited praise….”