Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
23 June 2019
“Maretzek’s opera season closed last night in quite a blaze of glory. The attendance was really brilliant, and the toilets more elegant than on any previous night.
“The opera was ‘Traviata,’ with La Grange as the frail heroine, and her performance of the part was in every way a triumphant success. All the brilliancy of execution and dramatic power which characterized this accomplished artiste in her previous engagement here, were again displayed in full force. In everything she was admirable, and it is difficult to say whether the florid vocalism of the Libera son io, the tender pathos of the duet with Germont, or the fearful realism of the death scene—worthy of Ristoni—were the most to be admired. The audience were not slow to perceive that La Grange was herself again, and they rewarded her efforts with enthusiastic applause.
“The prima donna was well supported by the new tenor Boetti, who fully confirmed the favorable impression he made on Wednesday night. Orlandini also sang acceptably.
“The opera troupe will be with us again in February.”
“’La Traviata’ was given last night successfully at the Academy of music. The cast was admirable in every respect. Mme. LA GRANGE has not been heard to such advantage as she was in Violetta, and Signor BOETTI displayed the qualities of a good and practical voice—singing well methodically and with excellent feeling.”
“Traviata, as presented last evening at the Academy of Music was one of the most even and satisfactory performances that Mr. Maretzek has given us during the past fortnight. Madame de La Grange, as Violettta, sung and acted with the skill of a true artist. Her phrasing in the arias “Ah! Fors’e lui,’ and ‘Grad [sic] Dio,’ and ‘Addio del passato,’ was broad and full of meaning. In the scene with Germont (Orlandini) in the second act, as well as during the scene with Alfredo (Boetti) in act fourth, the presence of the other artists seemed but to act as magnets to draw forth the full power of her dramatic talents. Signor Boetti improves decidedly upon closer acquaintance. The rôle of Alfredo is evidently much better suited to his voice and style than that of Ricardo in ‘Un Ballo in Maschera.’ His rendering of the aria, ‘De miei bollenti spiriti,’ was as original as it was excellent. The ‘Parigi o cara’ was delivered with much feeling and taste, and was deservedly and heartily encored. Signor Boetti comes the nearest to a tenore robusto that we have had since Mazzoleni left us, and resembles that artist both in quality of voice, and method of singing. His voice is one, however, that will not bear much straining. Signor Orlandini’s Germont was an acceptable performance. This artist is deserving of praise for the care and conscientiousness that mark all his renderings. The ‘Di provenza’ was given in a pathetic manner, though lacking a little in warmth. Mme. Reichardt appeared as Flora, and Signor Barili as the Doctor. The chorus and orchestra were in good working order, the performers failing only once in keeping the time, in the accellerando [sic] of the finale, in the first scene of act third.”
“ . . . . The season closed with La Traviata. (These two weeks now are called a season in New York!) One is somewhat out of one’s element with this opera; we other French above all who are familiar with the intimate drama, La Dame aux Camélias, of which La Traviata has the self-conceit to be a translation. Traduttore, traditore! [“Translator, traitor!”] All the incidental characters have been cut out; Saint-Gaudens, Gaston, Givray, Custave, Olympe, Prucence, Nichette, etc., all of that has been pruned. The action has been reduced to its simplest expression; you would say a skeleton of a drama, a draft of a scenario botched and scoured, in two tempos and three movements . . .
[Gives a sarcastic, reductive synopsis of the plot.] . . . .
“Such is drama deboned by the Italians who, to give it even more pungency, have put it back two centuries. They’ve replaced the action with velvet doublets and knots of ribbon. Here’s why all this contemporary sentimentalism, all this action full of questions of the hour, is so jarring in borrowed clothing. Those concetti [concepts] ring hollow; those phrases of the demimonde sing out of tune under the proud cloak of Louis XIII’s century. But, let the third act come, and the drama is awakened, seizes you, and leaves you breathless. It’s there where humanity is caught in the act, there is the drama! The play of passions and emotions is eternal, happy or sad, tragedy or comedy, it doesn’t matter. The form changes according to the milieus in which the action is framed; it departs, if you wish, from poetic legend in order to border upon lively realism, but from the moment when society constituted itself, drama has had its grand entrances, and it is there everywhere, in front of us, around us, in us, unsuppressible like life itself.
“The tenor Boetti didn’t find, in Alfredo, a role as advantageous for him as that in Ballo. Orlandini is a good Germond [sic] and Mme de Lagrange, who isn’t the woman for the role in the first three acts, was sublime in the fourth. That anguish is heart-rending; the unheard anguish of that unfortunate [woman] who seeks redemption of her faults through pure love would make stones, and even bankers, weep; it’s a handsome success, more than a success, it’s a triumph for the eminent artiste.”