Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
1 March 2019
“La Grange as ‘Norma.’ It would be difficult for the average music lover to imagine an operatic experience without a Norma. This dear, familiar lyric drama has been heard by every opera-goer of the present generation, and its melodies are like the welcome faces of old friends. Every prima donna who makes the slightest pretensions to the higher phases of lyric art essays Norma, and usually with success; for the music of the part is so varied, and the melodies so entrancing, that the audience is pretty sure to be pleased, even when the acting is not quite up to the requirements of the part.
“We have had some admirable Normas in this country. Grisi stands pre-eminent in a part peculiarly associated with her name. Zucchi was very fine as the unhappy priestess, and as far as mere vocalization is concerned the ample voice and brilliant execution of Parepa did full justice to the music.
“La Grange finds in Norma one of her noblest triumphs. If in mere vocal power she is, at times, lacking, all this is more than atoned for by the fervor of her action, the exquisite grace of her gestures and attitudes, and the extreme finish of her vocalization. Throughout the entire opera she reveals in every passage the consummate artiste. Her rare talent and subtle appreciation of the sentiment of what she sings enable her, for instance, to transmute the well-worn melody of Mira Norma into something which seems as fresh as if it were really a novelty instead of the most hackneyed duet in the whole range of music. The audience last night fully appreciated the grace, culture and genius which brought to the Norma of the evening so deserved a triumph.
“Miss McCulloch sang with great taste and skill last night, and Antonucci and Boetti were also very effective. The same may be said of orchestra and chorus, so that the whole performance was most enjoyable. As to the scenery, it is enough to say that ‘Norma’ has never yet been put upon the stage in this country with any regard to consistency in this respect.”
“The latest production of Bellini’s beautiful opera reminds us, perhaps by way of contrast, of the history of its first performance in this country. To some of our readers the recital may be interesting; to most of them it will certainly be new. The greater portion of those who took part in it have now passed away, and to those who think that artistic triumphs are reserved only for our day the comparison may be instructed: [continues with remarks regarding the first performance thirty years ago]”