Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
12 August 2013
“The first week of Manager’s Grau’s second seasons has been shorn of its promised splendor by the illness of two favorite artists–-Brignoli and Mme. Lorini. Through their indisposition it was impossible to give the operas ‘I Vepri Siciliani’ and the ‘Trovatore.’ with Lorini for the first time as Leonora, the music of which role she sings most delightfully. It may not be amiss here to state that both the artists in question were really ill, and not prevented from appearing by any caprice or misunderstanding. We positively know that they were so ill their appearance was impossible. The public, ever ready to grumble at the caprices of operatic performers--and with good reason, they are generally a spoiled lot--will understand that artists--paid each representation, and not by the week or month are not likely to sulk when it will cost them a handful of 'greenbacks' and hence it will be readily understood that in the instances we have reference to the individuals were incapacitated by severe illness. Artists who have signed engagements for long seasons are those who coquette with the public, not our artists, who have such short and uncertain seasons with them--'le jeu ne veut pas la chandelle'--which, freely translated, means 'It don't pay.'
We have said but little as regards the shortcomings of our operatic manager in the matter of choral assistants, but as he now has had a week before him ere he commences again his second grand season, we must impress upon Mr. Grau that his force in the choral department is inefficient, that the choruses are badly sung, not sufficiently rehearsed, and that the want of ensemble destroys the effect of the best operas. This may be remedied, and, in fact, must be attended to if Manager Grau expects to produce the coming novelties in a satisfactory manner. We are pleased to hear that during the week the promised operas will be well rehearsed. Unless this is done the public will not duly appreciate the grand works announced, which require careful and repeated rehearsals. It is not sufficient that the prominent roles should be well sung. The whole opera must be well rendered in order that a proper appreciation and enjoyment of the performance may be assured. We are aware that Manager Grau finds it a hard matter to procure chorus singers, but due diligence will succeed we do not doubt, if a liberal compensation is offered.
Miss Kellogg, whose first appearance for the season was made last week in the opera of ‘Il Poliuto’ was most successful here and in Brooklyn. In the latter place she was esprcially so, as was testified by the contiued applause of the audience. We have already noticed the performances at such length that it is not necessary we should here enter into further details. We will merely add that the public will undoubtedly be pleased to hear the young artist in some other role.
We wish to commend heartily the performances of Signor Maccaferri during the past week. He came to the rescue as a forlorn hope, appeared in operas without rehearsals–-in fact, sang at a moment’s notice, and sang well, but we deem this artist in a fair way to lose his voice if he keeps on straining after effect by such tremendous display of vocal power. He will break his voice in some of those loud attempts, which are less pleasing than his lower notes, if only from the effort which is so visible.
Signor Amodio deserves praise as a painstaking artist who sings and acts his roles with an evident desire to make the most of them. He has a fine voice, of sufficient power, and must see to it that he does not injure its efficiency by too great a strain upon it. He neither can nor should sing every night. He has won a sure hold upon the public, which proves its appreciation of his talent by bestowing great applause upon his efforts.”
“The season at the Academy of Music came to an end on Saturday, owing to the continued and severe indisposition of Signor Brignoli. There was a successful matinee on that day, and the reverses of the week were, we hope, recovered. That the mere continuance of an opera season should depend on the health of a single artist is, we must admit, a rather unfortunate condition of affairs; but with no recourse save Signor Maccaferri, every one will confess that Mr. Grau was judicious in postponing his fortunes to a more opportune moment. Under the most auspicious circumstances, the risks of management are sufficiently onerous--the margin for possible profit being remarkably small. With the certainty of constant disappointments, there could hardly be a reasonable expectation of a favorable issue to the experiment, and Mr. Grau wisely resolved to wait until Signor Brignoli was in a condition to resume his position in the company. It is expected that on Monday next the season will be recommenced. In the meantime the artists will employ their time in making the necessary rehearsals of ‘Giovanna D’Arco’--a work in which Miss Kellogg and Signor Brignoli will both assume new rôles.”