Bateman French Opera

Event Information

Pike's Opera House

Proprietor / Lessee:
H. L. [impressario] Bateman

Manager / Director:
H. L. [impressario] Bateman

Price: $1 to all parts of the house, except boxes

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
15 January 2019

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

21 Dec 1868, 2:00 PM
21 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM
22 Dec 1868, 2:00 PM
22 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM
23 Dec 1868, 2:00 PM
23 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM
24 Dec 1868, 2:00 PM
24 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM
25 Dec 1868, 2:00 PM
25 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM
26 Dec 1868, 2:00 PM
26 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Matinee scheduled for Friday cancelled because of Tostee’s accident. American debut of Chanson de Fortunio.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Bavard et Bavard; Schwaetzer von Saragossa
Composer(s): Offenbach
Text Author: Nuitter [Truinet]
Participants:  Aline [soprano] Lambelle (role: Ines);  Mme. [soprano] Duclos (role: Beatrix);  Lucille [vocalist] Tostée (role: Roland);  Monsieur [baritone] Duchesne (role: Sarmiento);  Monsieur [tenor] Lagriffoul (role: Christoval);  Monsieur [tenor] Leduc (role: Torribio)
aka Fortunio's Lied
Composer(s): Offenbach
Participants:  Irma Marié (role: Valentin);  Monsieur [tenor] Leduc (role: Friquet);  Aline [soprano] Lambelle (role: Laurette);  J. M. [tenor] Francis (role: Fortunio)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 18 December 1868.
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 19 December 1868, 7.
Announcement: New York Herald, 21 December 1868, 6.
Announcement: New York Sun, 21 December 1868, 2.
Announcement: New-York Times, 21 December 1868, 4.

“The indefatigable and exhaustless Bateman produces another of Offenbach’s works to-night, called Le Chanson de Fortunio.  It is a melodious and amusing trifle, and will precede the very successful opera bouffe of Les Bavards.  Mlle. Irma, who has won the hearts of New-York, sustains the principal rôle, and it may be mentioned here that it was in this same rôle that she first made her appearance in opera bouffe.  The operetta is cast admirably, and will, undoubtedly, win the usual success of Mr. Bateman’s productions.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 21 December 1868, 7.
Review: New York Herald, 22 December 1868, 7.

“Last evening Mr. Bateman treated the public to a bottle of champagne. ‘La Chanson de Fortunio’ opened it, and while thus drawing the cork the audience were worked up to the liveliest emotions by the charming acting and singing of Mlle. Irma, Mlle. Lambele and the favorite Leduc. ‘La Chanson’ was a fit prelude to the dash and sparkle that followed in ‘Les Bavards.’ In this the flow of good humor and determination to please on the part of all the talented actors gave the audience a treat which, from the rapturous applause which frequently burst forth, fully satisfied all. The house was crowded and new laurels added to those already worn by Offenbach through Mr. Bateman. The pas de quatre which closed the evening, although prolonging the entertainment, was danced with rare skill and grace.”

Review: New-York Times, 22 December 1868, 6.

“A thoroughly charming little operetta in one act called “La Chanson de Fortunio” was produced here last evening.  The music, of course, is by Offenbach, and belongs, we take it, to a period when the can-can did not occupy the composer’s mind.  The melodies are large, fluent, and graceful; the concerted pieces are admirably constructed—the duo in particular being a perfect gem—and the choruses in the brief collegiate way in which they are introduced, serve as a relief to the singer—a chorus, in fact, simple, and as a chorus is apt to be under such circumstances, amounting to nothing.  We give the plot of the piece below . . . [plot summary].

“The music of this little operetta is simply delightful.  Mlle. Irma was the Valentin, and she sang exquisitely, displaying an ability vocally which we hardly thought she possessed.  She was supported excellently, and the trifle passed off as one of the most agreeable surprises of Mr. Bateman’s season.”

Review: New York Herald, 23 December 1868, 10.

“This magnificent establishment was again filled—as doubtless it would be for a year to come if the Erie Railway company and Manager Bateman were, like Barkis, ‘willin’”—with a delighted and excited public to see ‘La Chanson de Fortunio’ and hear Mlle. Irma in her pleasant rôle, sustained as she was by those favorites, Mlle. Lambele and M. Leduc. ‘La Chanson’ was followed by that most witty, most sparkling and most brilliant of French musical conceptions, ‘Les Bavards,’ in which Mlle. Tostee, with a fervor that, if not genius, is nearly allied to it, sustained her original part of Roland. ‘La Chanson de Fortunio’ and ‘Les Bavards’ are put upon the stage in superb style. The scenery is perfect and the costumes new, correct and costly. Two grand companies in two of Offenbach’s most champagny opéras bouffes, a magnificent double chorus, closing with a star ballet troupe, led by the beautiful danseuse, Mlle. De Rosa, in a complex yet harmonious and attractive Terpsichorean movement, are the all-powerful attractions at this establishment at present. It is hardly necessary to say that these draw houses that are ‘to repletion full,’ to the enrichment, we trust, of the enterprising manager, whose disbursements are necessarily large in gold and in greenbacks.”

Review: New York Post, 23 December 1868.

“The latest Offenbachian production at Pike’s—‘La Chanson de Fortunio’—has been most favorably received by the patrons of the house.  It is a preposterous little plot, hinging upon the fact that a certain chanson sung by a youth makes all the lady hearers of it fall in love with the singer.  The music is really charming, and the vivacious acting of Irma does a great deal to ensure the popularity of the piece.  ‘Les Bavards’ is performed every evening.”

Review: New York Herald, 24 December 1868, 3.

“There was a Christmas aspect throughout the building. The feeling was hearty and unanimous at Bateman’s superb display of opéra bouffe. The two exquisite Offenbachian productions, ‘Les Bavards’ and ‘La Chanson de Fortunio,’ elicited the same sentiment as when first presented, that of unbounded applause. Yet a little melancholy prevailed. Tostée did not appear. The inimitable actress met with a somewhat serious accident ere last evening when descending the stairway, by which she was prevented delighting the many holiday seekers who congregated to witness her incomparable flourishes. Mlle. Irma admirably supplied her piece as Roland. It is announced that in consequence of Mlle. Tostée’s unfortunate mishap there will be no matinee at Pike’s to-morrow.”

Review: New York Herald, 25 December 1868, 8.

“At Pike’s Opera House last evening it was evident that Offenbach is becoming a decided favorite everywhere; and if so, he may thank Manager Bateman for a good share of his popularity in New York. The crowds of holiday faces that testified their appreciation of the excellent manner in which ‘Les Bavards’ and ‘La Chanson de Fortunio’ were placed upon the stage spoke volumes of satisfaction and enjoyment.”

Announcement: New York Post, 26 December 1868.

Mlle Tostée will be unable to appear for some time because of her fall; Mlle Duclos will substitute for her tonight.

Review: New York Herald, 27 December 1868, 3.

“The attractions of the matinée were ‘Les Bavards’ and ‘La Chanson de Fortunio,’ and in the evening ‘La Grande Duchesse,’ Mlle. Duclos sustaining the principal rôle. How many of the audience will crowd the stores of music publishers in quest of the principal gems from the above has not been estimated, but judging from the rapture with which the productions were received, it is clear that Offenbach added many scores of admirers to his long list. The house, brilliantly lighted and well filled in every part by an appreciative and fashionable audience, was a spectacle scarcely to be rivalled. Mlle.  Duclos’ interpretation of the Duchess was well received, but the inimitable Tostée was unquestionably missed.”

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 28 December 1868.

“[Begins with verses from a play by Musset, le Chandelier, and follows it with dialogue; then proceeds to talk about how wonderful the original play was and how Offenbach and Crémieux have changed it to take place in the following generation. Gives synopsis.] . . . . I say that it’s a sacrilege and an outrage to the memory of Musset to have so cruelly depoeticized [Musset’s] beautiful creation of Fortunio. We surely know that youth isn’t eternal, that illusions fly away, that reality blows cold upon many dreams. We know all that; but it isn’t any less true that a type as fine, as pure, as poetical as that of Fortunion can’t be transformed into a grotesque caricature. A character has its unity, its wholeness. In the Almaviva of la Mère Coupable [the Guilty Mother, third play in Beaumarchais’s trilogy], one easily recognizes he who was the tender Almaviva of The Barber of Seville. No! Fortunio the enamored of Jacqueline could never become Master Fortunio of the operetta. Kill him, but don’t dishonor him.

“If I’ve abused the librettists severely, I have only praise for the music and the interpreters. Nothing more ingenious, more fresh, more distinguished, more amorously coquettish than this score. It’s Offenbach of the right sort. All the pieces were hits; it’s art, a bit composite perhaps, but you feel the invigorating breath of inspiration; the orchestration is also very delicately wrought. The composer has gone down a deplorable path too often, and we’ve too often reproached him for it, to not make a point of recognizing with pleasure and sincerity that this little mini-score distinguishes itself by the freshness and originality of its melodies.

“You wouldn’t expect in hearing this music that’s so brilliant and delicate that the same composer could let himself be carried away by stunts, by musical orgies like those he let himself get into by the allure of easy success.

“Mlle Lambelé, charming in the role of Laurette, had the audience at her command right away when she sang, with a lot of liveliness and dash, the verses:

                        Prenez garde à vous, [Watch out for yourself,]

                        Mon cher époux! [My dear spouse!] 

“Mlle Irma Marié’s entrance was greeted by a warm ovation. One feels she’s the queen of the place, and nothing, I believe, will try to take her away from the double empire that she rules with her voice and her beauty. The whole role was just one long hit, one long acclamation for her. First she sang the verses of l’eau Claire in a heartfelt manner. Then she sang the pretty meloey Je t’aime with a deep feeling of emotion and love. But it’s in the great duet, where Fortunio’s song is found, that she settled her success. Of all the pieces that she’s sung since we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying her in New York, it’s this one in which she’s produced the effect for us’ and effect so much more deserving, a success so much more precious, for it’s obtained by absolutely unalloyed pure talents. Without odd eccentricities and even without stunts, can one then please the audience? Yes, certainly, and I bear witness to the flowers, the bravos and the [cries for] encores that assailed Mlle Irma Marié during the whole course of her role, and her charming partner Mlle Lambelé, who, for the occasion, naturally had made herself “blonde as wheat” [blonde comme les blés, a quote from the operetta].

"M. Leduc played the role of Friquet, the little clerk (without doubt named thus ironically) in a most original and most sufficiently comic manner. He sang the verses:

                        C’est moi qui suis le petit clerk [It’s I who am the little clerk very gaily.]

“In all, it’s a hit for the piece and the artists, who, with les Bavards, will make la Périchole patiently awaited. . . .

“[Mlle Tostée fell a few days ago, and needs rest and care.] She was replaced win les Bavards by Mlle Irma Marié who immediately put herself at the disposal of the mamagement in order not to interrupt a piece in the midst of such success. As a good deed always carries repayment, Mlle Irma Marié got an immediate one on the part of the audience. It’s the truth to say that she plays and sings the role of Roland in an admirable fashion. The long bravos that greeted her should be sweet compensation for the excess of fatigue that this unavoidable performance imposed on her.           

                        Tel brille au second rang qui s’éclipse au premier . . . .[He shines in the second rank, who is eclipsed in the first. Voltaire]”