Pike's Opera House
Manager / Director:
Giuseppe Nicolao [cond.]
24 August 2018
“The performance of ‘La Favorita’ last night introduced Miss Phillips to a New York audience in a new character. The public who have attended the operatic representations of the Strakosch troupe have been surprised and delighted to learn, what has for a long time been acknowledged in Europe, that in Miss Phillips we have a singer and actress of the highest order. In Azucena, Nancy and Rosina Miss Phillips has exhibited a dramatic and lyrical genius of the most varied character. In each and all she has displayed a versatility and power not excelled by artists who have made a specialty of any one of these characters. Last night Miss Phillips added Leonora to her list of triumphs. It was a triumph in the best sense of the word. The opera of ‘La Favorita,’ of all the Italian school of music, expresses the abandonment of passionate love, and the part of Leonora is written within the range of a mezzo-soprano voice, and it would seem expressly for the rich and melodious organ with which Miss Phillips is gifted. The aria of ‘O, Mio Fernando,’ was rendered with a purity of tone, a perfection of execution, and exquisite tenderness of expression which received the warmest applause, and a call for repetition which would not be denied. But perhaps Miss Phillips never exhibited her dramatic power and the immense resources of her voice more grandly than in the last scene, when, fainting with suffering and fatigue, she seeks rest at the cross in front of the cathedral door. As the solemn chant of the choir within fills the air she falls upon her knees in worship; but when the voice of Fernando is heard, above the chorus, the staff falls from her hand, she drags herself towards the steps of the church, her face expresses in swift transition, recognition, hope, life; and when the tones of her lover’s voice can no longer be mistaken, she rises to her feet and with supreme exultation bursts forth in a single prolonged note, which expresses the ecstasy of joy and love as can be portrayed only by music, and can only be interpreted by a great artist. In the action and singing of this scene, Miss Phillips fulfilled the highest conditions of the dramatic and lyrical art. Throughout the opera she was admirably assisted by Brignoli, who was encored in the aria ‘Spirito gentil,’ and by Orlandini, who sang Alfonso with feeling and fidelity. Susini, as the priest Balthazar, was in excellent voice, and filled well a character for which his physique and manner fit him. Madame Milner, who is a new comer, needs only to get used to the footlights to be a valuable addition to this company. The trying aria in the opening to the first act was sung by her with much taste and knowledge.
As usual the chorus and orchestra performed with painful independence of each other. Mr. Nicolai [sic] will learn after a while that simple piano rehearsals will not answer. These concerted pieces with a chorus cannot be properly sung without careful rehearsal with the orchestra.”
“Mr. Max Strakosch's success at Pike’s Opera House, which now seems to be assured, has certainly not depended upon the weather. In this particular he has been more unfortunate than he had reason to expect even at this inauspicious season of the year. The house too has been submitted to a severe test. Had it been out of the way to the fearful extent indicated by interested parties (the morally certain) that the attendance would have shown it. But the matinée on Saturday was crowded, and the attendance on Monday was exceedingly large and fashionable. The Eighth-avenue and Twenty-third-street were lined with carriages.
Last evening when ‘La Favorita’ was produced, the storm was as pitiless as ever. There was, notwithstanding, a brilliant audience, and the beautiful house looked charming. Signor Brignoli made his second appearance in the principal tenor rôle. It has always been a favorite with him—the music lying within easy reach of his voice, and the elegiac melody of the last act (spirito gentil) bringing it to a touching and appropriate end. He was in capital voice, and was evidently cheered and gratified at the reception which attended him. We doubt if he has ever sung the part with greater taste or purity. Miss Adelaide Phillipps was not in the same excellent trim, laboring obviously under a cold. She recovered herself toward the close, and by her graceful and spirited setting contributed in no small degree to the excellence of the performance. Sig. Orlandini was hard and unsympathetic, but nevertheless succeeded by strength of lungs in winning the approbation of a large part of the audience. It is proper to say that it was an extremely good-natured audience, and evidently had determined to enjoy itself.”