Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
6 April 2019
Academy of Music previously let for Mon., Feb. 22.
“There were at the Academy of Music last night more empty seats than there should have been at so fine a performance of Meyerbeer’s ‘Star of the North.’ The opera, it is true, was freely cut, the buffo part of Gritzensko being but a mere shadow of its former self, and in that state scarcely worthy the attention of an artist like Orlandini. The tent scene, also, lost much of its vivacity by the omission of the couplets for the vivandieres. Apart from these omissions the presentation was very satisfactory. The burden of the opera fell upon La Grange, and she sustained it nobly. After the aria which so beautifully closes the first act, she was heartily applauded and called before the curtain. A fioturi passage in the last act was promptly encored, and in the trio for voice and two flutes the consummate artist gave thorough evidence of her transcendent vocal skill.
“La Grange was well supported by Orlandini, whose full majestic voice is always satisfying to the ear; and tamely by Brignoli, who always plays the part of Danelowitz as if he were uttering ‘in choice Italian’ the Toots motto,’It’s of no consequence.’ Miss Durand sang very prettily the music Prascovia, showing good vocal training and an ease on the stage that argues well for future celebrity.”
“‘L’Etoile du Nord’ is unquestionably one of the largest comic operas ever written for the stage—being considered comic. At the dingy Opera Comique in Paris, where it was produced, it taxed the resources of the establishment, and there, it must be remembered, the manager has artists buried in strange places, as a dog has bones, and can dig them out whenever there is a craving for them. The history of the opera, indeed, has been one of hunger and occasional satiety. It requires everything and is not worth its requirements. The music is beautiful and strongly colored with the boreal light of the North. It is more characteristic and less solemn than any music written by Meyerbeer; the contrasts and action are quick, but—it requires perfection of performance. Without this ‘L’Etoile du Nord’ is a lumbersome bore. The leading artists last night were nearly all good, but the ensembles were scratchy and the stage management bad, inasmuch as it mobbed everything without making a picture. The scenery, let us add, was atrocious. It is, we believe, the property of the Academy of Music, and constitutes a part of the stock of that valuable concern. It is not worthy of a lager-beer garden.
“The Cathernia of Mme. Lagrange is well known to the public. It was one of her earliest and one of her best parts. In the rendition of the rôle she displayed her usual conscientiousness. Signor Antonucci, as Peter the Great, without perceiving the slightest dramatic bearing of the part, was vocally good, and Messrs. Brignoli, Orlandini, &c., may be included in this category. The Prascovia was represented by Miss Durand, a young lady who, we venture to say, has a career before her. Her voice is pure and clear, her delivery certain and her execution clean and musician-like. In the difficult duo of the second act all these qualities were illustrated, and the result was an encore which delighted the audience as much as it did the artiste. Elsewhere she displayed distinct evidences of training and thoughtfulness.”
“Nobody can complain, certainly, that the present season of Italian opera lacks variety, or that the manager is wanting in enterprise. A large proportion of the works produced thus far have been those which require a good deal of preparation, and much more elaborate stage effects than are needed for the ordinary stock operas, and in the manner of their production there has been little to find fault with. Meyerbeer’s beautiful ‘Star of the North’ was satisfactorily represented last night with a good cast, a strong chorus, a decent array of well-dressed auxiliaries, and an orchestra of which there was no complaint to be made, except that it was often too loud. The Catherina was Madame La Grange. She plays the part excellently, and much of it she also sings extremely well, especially the famous Veglia [?] ciel, at the end of the first act. Miss Durand, is the character of Prascovia, strengthened the favorable impression which she made as Zerlina last season, and her duet with La Grange, the Quindici di, won the honor of an encore. The best thing of the evening was the Pietro of Signor Antonucci. This admirable artist never disappoints us. We cannot say the same of Signor Brignoli. He was the Danilowitz, and seemed uncomfortably oppressed by a sense of the inferiority of his part.”