Manager / Director:
Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]
13 January 2019
The year 1868 in regards to music: In the last year, expectations for high quality opera performances were pushed aside by the frivolous music and even more frivolous lyrics of Offenbach’s operettas. The English, German, and Italian opera has not been very competitive, however. The English opera was not able to offer quality performances, quality cast, and good management from the onset in the United States. The Italian opera did not do well last year either. Maretzek and Strakosch worked with the leftovers of earlier opera ensembles, which performed the old, well-worn repertory with partly young and inexperienced singers, and thus failed to successfully compete with the French opera. The fragments of the German opera attempted also to resurface; however, they could only manage to tour around. Only new singers and a new repertory can rescue the opera for the future, and hope exists, it will happen maybe next season. For this winter season we gave up any expectations.
Regarding concerts, the virtuoso concerts have vanished almost completely. Only “Ole Bull” is the exception, because he is such a significant appearance in the music scene.
(…) Some of the few very gifted and near being a virtuoso we heard this year, we mention Alide Topp, Oscar Pfeiffer, Mills, Carl Wolfsohn, Wenzel Kopta, and Ferdinand von Inten.
Orchestra concerts dominate nowadays. The Philharmonic Society has improved again as was proven by the good programs and performances under Bergmann’s direction. Last year’s most successful concerts were Thomas’ summer concerts and symphony soirees, which had excellent programs.
Good music instructors exist in high numbers at this point in America, and they are easily found. The position of a music instructor is an honored one here as opposed to in Germany, where they hardly get by. A music instructor is treated with respect as a true gentleman by the students and their parents. The thriving number of music institutes, given the sophisticated sounding name: conservatory, give instruction for very affordable prices even for the people of little means.
The German-American [choral] singing society experienced much progress last year with several choral festivals, another one in the planning, and the foundation of the North East Sängerbund.