Cercle Français de l’Harmonie Annual Masquerade Ball: 3rd

Event Information

Academy of Music

Adolphe Gaffre

Price: $5

Event Type:

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
22 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

23 Jan 1868, Evening

Program Details

Orchestra comprised of one hundred musicians.

Other works performed included selections from La biche aux bois, L'Exposition universelle, L'El Dorado, Les fils de l'enfer, and Le chateau de fleurs.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Offenbach
Composer(s): Strauss
Composer(s): Musard


Advertisement: New York Herald, 01 January 1868.

At midnight the celebrated Grand Quadrille Diabolique, with calcium illumination, together with gorgeous transformation tableaux and other surprises. Performers to include the Japanese troupe Hay-Yah-Ta-Kee.

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 01 January 1868, 6.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 05 January 1868.

“Orchestra of 100 musicians will execute the latest dancing and promenade music composed by Offenbach, Strauss, and Musard: from La grande Duchesse, La biche aux bois, L’Exposition universelle, L’El Dorado, Les filles de l’enfer, Le chateau des fleurs, La belle Helene.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 06 January 1868, 7.
Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 20 January 1868.

BAL MASQUÉ. CERCLE FRANCAIS DE L’HARMONIE. Thursday, 23 January at the Academy of Music (by invitation). The new Japanese royal troupe HA-YA-TA-KEE!!! Composed of 31 members. Japanese dances. You’ll find dominos and costumes from the house of PHILIPPE and PETRILLO, 3 Union Square, at the Academy.

Announcement: New-York Times, 21 January 1868, 4.

“The Cercle Français de l’Harmonie, whose carnival reunions last year were among the most notable and enjoyable events of the ball season, will give their grand bal masqué at the Academy of Music, Thursday. There will be introduced, during the progress of the affair, some very novel features. Several gorgeous processions, too, will be had, and the troup oe Japanese performers, under the leadership of Ha-ya-ta-kee will execute some national dances. The music, which is to be almost excluseivly Offenbachian, is to be discoursed by an orchestra numbereing one hundred musicians, and the dancing will be carried on with the spirit prevelant at all the gatherings of our Gallic residents. The success of the reunions of the Cercle in the past is a guarantee that its members will secure a full share of enjoyment to their guests on Thursday night.”

Announcement: New York Herald, 23 January 1868, 6.

Announces ball; no preview of music. “…Belles transform themselves into Swiss peasant maidens, Lucretia Borgias, Queens of the Night, Indian squaws, Mary Stuarts and forsaken Leahs, and their masculine admirers become bandits, Ethiopians, Mephistopheles or, perhaps, uncanny animals of the wood and prairie. The scene at night is highly picturesque. From the balconies of the Academy one looks down on a surging sea of humanity presenting more colors than Joseph’s coat or the never-ending changes of the kaleidoscope. The crash of the orchestra is heard and the entire mass is set in motion. As the strains of one of Strauss’ waltzes floats through the building the crowd of dancers on the floor ersembles a huge snake, whose bright scales glitter in the gaslight and whose sinuous folds envelop every luckless dancer that ventures within their reach.” Concludes with brief list of upcoming balls.

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 25 January 1868.

“The masked ball given by the Cercle Francaise de l’Harmonie took place at the Academy with great brilliance. The multitude, between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., was enormous. Glittering costumes abounded. There were numerous Grand Duchesses: the most distinguished was Mme S……n. We saw two Boums and two or three Fritzes. Among the men, there were too many black dress-coats. In revenge, many women distinguished themselves by magnificent attire or ingenious disguises.

The [French] women were moderately animated. Our American colleagues found them too reserved. Without complaining about this excess of deportment, we are of the opinion that a masked ball authorizes a bit more freedom. To speak out, the ninety Americans who were present only came to the party to dance the cancan: their newspapers testified to it. But then, the cancan was only danced two or three times, and separately. But what success was obtained by the intrepid dancers! Mlle Reillez received as many bravos as at the theater. M. Leduc (Prince Paul) was encored, just like he is after his verses in the Gazette de Hollande, and he had to repeat his number.

The American admirers were a little disappointed with respect to their favorite dance, and it must indeed be recognized that, in a masked ball, the cancan by itself is entertaining. The difficult thing is to preserve it within appropriate boundaries, and not make it fall apart like a tulip by being too boisterous. On the other hand, a masked ball is not made for old folks or little girls, and the mask doesn’t have a reason for being if it doesn’t permit some liberties. If so many women like the masked balls so much, it’s because there they can depart from the stiffness commanded by society, and because the mask allows them to hear, without blushing, some jokes that are a bit spicy or disclosures that are a bit worldly.

The decorations for the interior of the hall were perfect. We admired the splendid guards and the courteous musketeers. We can’t praise the arrangements for supper as much: the management of it was excellent, but what wasn’t, was the food. The wines weren’t drinkable. If we make this observation, it’s because the Circle isn’t absolutely in this mishap for a mere trifle; it will suffice for them to be more demanding on another occasion.

To sum up, the merry-making by the Cercle Francaise was a genuine success. We hope that it will happen again, and we wish that encouragement would come from all sides for this first French society that has brought in as much money for us as only German societies have done up to now.”