Bateman French Opera

Event Information

Pike's Opera House

Proprietor / Lessee:
H. L. [impressario] Bateman

Manager / Director:
H. L. [impressario] Bateman

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
2 July 2019

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

30 Nov 1868, 8:00 PM
01 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM
02 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM
03 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM
04 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM
05 Dec 1868, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Union of Bateman’s troupe with his second troupe that has been touring the United States and Canada.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Lieschen and Fritschen
Composer(s): Offenbach
Text Author: Boisselot
Participants:  Lucille [vocalist] Tostée (role: Lischen);  [tenor] Dardignac (role: Fritzchen)
aka Blue Beard; Bluebeard
Composer(s): Offenbach
Text Author: Halévy, Meilhac
Participants:  Irma Marié (role: Boulotte);  [tenor] Aujac (role: Barbe Bleue)


Announcement: Dwight's Journal of Music, 21 November 1868, 352.
Advertisement: New York Herald, 29 November 1868.
Announcement: New York Herald, 30 November 1868, 4.

“Bateman’s two opera bouffe companies are to join their forces at Pike’s tonight, and they are in addition to ‘Barbe Bleue,’ to give us the new rigmarole of ‘Lieschen and Fritzchen [sic].’. . . As for Italian opera here, if Offenbach has not killed it he has driven it for a time from the field, and Maretzek sits brooding over its fallen glories like Marius over the ruins of Carthage.”

Announcement: New York Herald, 30 November 1868, 5.

“Unity is strength. There will be a grand reinforcement at Pike’s tonight, when the effervescent Tostée, the sparkling Irma, and languishing Lambele will appear with the united chorus of both companies. The combination must unquestionably be effective. It hits the vein of popular feeling, for it suggests novelty and adds a fresh and vigorous tone to the pleasant aspect of affairs at the new Opera House. Mr. Bateman is really making strenuous exertions to please his patrons, and in doing so converts his box office into a very powerful magnet, which will attract the precious greenbacks with a rapidity perfectly astounding to all men of science. With few exceptions, Bateman is perhaps the most successful operatic manager of his time, combining as he does judgment with enterprise, shrewdness with perseverance and liberality with discretion. To have and properly regulate two distinct companies, each performing at the same time in different parts of the country, displays an amount of ability to be acquired only by considerable tact and experience. Tonight the two great companies will be united with a result both pleasing and profitable. ‘Lieschen und Fritzchen’ [sic], a charming operetta in one act, will be presented with Mlle. Tostée in the principal role. ‘Barbe Bleue’ will appear as usual with Mlle. Irma and the host of able supporters.”

Announcement: New York Post, 30 November 1868.

Union of Pike’s two opera companies.

Announcement: New York Sun, 30 November 1868, 2.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 30 November 1868, 7.
Review: New-York Times, 30 November 1868, 4.

“Mr. BATEMAN has united his two companies, and brings them together to-night for the first time. The programme consists of a charming little operetta called Lischen and Fritschen, of which we give a synopsis below, and the well-known opera bouffe of Barbe Bleue. These two works introduce Mlle. TOSTEE, Mlle. IRMA, M. AUJAC, M. DECRE, M. DUCHESNE, and the other prominent members of the company. The operetta was played by Mr. BATEMAN’S artists at the late Mr. RANACK’S Memorial Concert, and although utterly denuded of scenic accessories on that occasion, gave great satisfaction, and excited the merriment of the audience. With the aid of a stage and an orchestra the effect can hardly be different. The story is as follows:

“Fritschen, a young man in the service of a lord in France, being discharged from his situation, determines to return to his native Alsace and forget his troubles in the bosom of his family. The scene opens at the point where he is about to set out on his journey—when, before leaving, he makes a confidant of the audience, giving them in his opening song the correct edition of his wrongs and sorrows. The prospect of the long road before him decides him to fortify the inner man before starting. His bag is well filled with various cold viands, but, like a true Frenchman, he thinks no meat is good without wine, and therefore enters an adjacent inn to procure it. While he is gone, a young Alsacian seller of brooms, Lischen by name, enters, and in a charming little song, endeavors to soften the stony heart of the audience and induce them to buy out her little stock. She also is on the road to Alsace, having lately left Paris, whither she went to sell brooms, and necessarily make her fortune. By one of those lucky coincidences, which seldom happen but in plays, she also determines to make her dinner on the spot, and has hardly seated herself when Frischen enters with his bottle of wine. At sight of the stranger Frischen becomes rather shy, but picks up courage enough finally to address her, in a pretty broad Alsacian dialect. She replies in the same, and this gives rise to a quartet even at the commencement of their acquaintance, as each one is fully persuaded the other intends to mock the peculiarity of speech.  The slight difficulty is easily adjusted when they musically explain their Alsacian origin in an exceedingly pretty duet. Their acquaintance thus begun proceeds with rapid strides until finally they have regularly sworn friendship, decided to make their journey together, and Lischen in celebration thereof invites Fritschen to dine with her. He tastes the bread and cheese, however, which composes her modest repast, rather contemptuously, and requests her to share his dinner. On her contemplation he empties his sack, displaying many delicacies which he has doubtless received as a farewell present from the cook of his late master’s establishment. Hardly are they seated and the repast begun than a horn sounds.  Fritschen starts up in a fright, and on Lischen’s inquiring what is the matter replies, “that he hears his master hunting in the woods and hears him coming this way.”  At this Lischen sings a beautiful little song entitled, “The City Rat and the Country Rat,” comparing her meal and Fritschen’s to those of the two rats in that celebrated fable. Luckily the master does not pass that way and they finish their dinner, which lasts long enough to enable Fritschen to fall desperately in love with the little stranger. Their conversation at length touches on family matters, and Fritschen discovers that Lischen is no other than his sister whom he has not seen for many years. His disappointment far exceeds his pleasure at this discovery and he decides not to return to Alsace. Lischen therefore sets out alone singing a plaintive little song “Adieu.” Before leaving, however, she luckily requests Fritschen to read her (she not possessing that accomplishment) a letter which she has received from her father. The contents of the letter are as follows: Her supposed father thinks it proper, before she returns to his house, to explain to her that she is not as she supposes, and as he always caused her to believe—his daughter—but is in reality the child of a distant relation, whose dying charge to him was this little girl. The old man assures Lischen that he merely makes this statement because it is proper that she should know it, but that she is as well loved by him as ever, and that she shall ever be Fritschen’s little sister. Fritschen’s delight at this knows no bounds; he immediately declares his love for Lischen, which she heartily reciprocates, and they set off gaily to Alsace, to make glad the hearts of the old folks at home.”

Review: New York Herald, 01 December 1868, 7.

“Pike’s Opera House was crowded last night with delighted spectators of General Bateman’s latest military movement—the sudden and successful concentration of both wings of his operatic army upon a single evening. Not only were the choruses of both troupes united, but Mlle. Tostee appeared as she only could appear, in the charming one act opera bouffe of Lischen und Fritzchen, while M. Duchesne and M. Aujac shared with Mlle. Irma the honors always bestowed on the first, second, and fourth acts of Barbe Bleue. The representation of Lischen and Fritzchen restored the gloss of novelty which opera bouffe was beginning to lose. In this slight but amusing story of two Alsatian peasants, a sister (Mlle. Tostee) and a brother (M. Dardignac), who meet by accident on their way home after long wanderings and disappointments, chat together in their provincial patois, then quarrel and are reconciled, only to be mutually mystified until Fritzchen is astounded to learn that Lischen is his sister, or at least the Lischen he has always regarded as his sister: at length by the discovery of a letter in her satchel he finds to her amazement and to his joy that she is his cousin, whom he may love and marry, and both set off in high spirits for Alsatia. If there is a little too much conversation in this operetta for persons not versed in the Alsatian dialect (which was admirably imitated), its music, although partly derived from old German songs, as Tom Moore’s Irish melodies were based on old Irish songs, is in Offenbach’s most sparkling style. It would be superfluous to multiply words as to the exquisite representation of Barbe Bleue. We need only say that Mlle. Irma as Boulotte was as inimitably droll and vivacious as usual, that M. Duchesne as Popolani was heartily welcomed and that M. Aujac fully ‘energized his functions’ as Dr. Rush used to say, in the role of Blue Beard. We must repeat, however, our thanks to Offenbach’s librettists and to Popolani for saving the lives of Blue Beard’s six or seven wives whom the cruel old fashioned legend put to death, and we must also reiterate our opinion that M. Francis as the Roi Bobeche is one of the very best ‘old men’ who ever figured on any stage. Nor can we fail to add that in the new pas de quatre in the pretty ballet of the fourth act, Mlle. De Rosa surpassed even the marvelous flexibility, grace, and power which she has hitherto exhibited.”

Review: New York Post, 01 December 1868, 2.

“Mr. Bateman began his reconstructed season at Pike’s Opera House last night before a brilliant audience, to which the announcement of Tostée’s reappearance largely contributed. She took part in a little pastoral burlesque, performing with her great vivacity, ably supported by M. Dardignac.  ‘Lischen und Fritzchen’[sic] contains some sprightly dialogue and some really pretty music. It is simply a farce for two characters interspersed with solos and duets. The dialogue is given in a sort of patois, which is at times very amusing; and the music is lively and melodious.

“‘Barbe Bleue’ was next given, with some changes in the cast, Duchesne, as Popolani, receiving a special welcome. The chorus, including the united forces of the two companies, was very good indeed, and a brief passage for male voices that has hitherto passed unnoticed, nearly received an encore. The individual performers all seemed to exert themselves, with unusual success, to do honor to the opening of Bateman’s reconstructed season. Irma was never so amusingly droll in her gaucheries, nor so finished in her song. Her principal song in the second act received a double encore; and throughout the entire opera she was most warmly applauded. Perhaps the presence of her rival, Tostée, may have had something to do with this increased animation. Aujac, as Blue Beard, was in his best mood, and M. Francis gave again his wonderful delineation of the irritable old king Bobeche. His illustration of ‘Home, Sweet Home,’ is extremely ludicrous.”

Review: New York Sun, 01 December 1868, 1.

“Manager Bateman concentrated his forces last evening, and, in addition to the ever favorite ‘Barbe Bleue,’ presented a new and striking piece of Offenbachian entertainment in the prelude called ‘Lischen and Fritzchen [sic].’ This piece is an operetta of peculiar and sustained interest, in view of the two characters of which it is composed. The laughter-moving situations of the two lovers, who turn out to be foster children, brought down plentiful rounds of applause.

“The audiences keep up to the maximum and it is surprising that the management should consent to withdraw so entertaining a piece when it draws as well as the famous ‘Grande Duchesse.’ Opera bouffe may be said to be fairly established, and the longer it is known the better it is appreciated. ‘Lischen and Fritzchen’ will be repeated this evening, as well as the ‘Barbe-Bleue,’ with M. Aujac as the merry monarch who has a mania for remarrying.”

Review: New-York Times, 01 December 1868, 4.

“The combination of Mr. BATEMAN’S two companies attracted a very large audience to Pike’s Opera House last evening. TOSTEE, IRMA, and AUJAC are, in themselves, sufficient to crowd the largest theatre in the City, and when we consider the many other artists enrolled under the banner of BATEMAN’S Opera Bouffe and the excellent performance offered for the public delectation, the result was in no way surprising. The performance commenced with Lischen and Fritschen—a charming little operetta in one act—one of OFFENBACH’S earliest productions—and, in all respects a perfect gem. Mlle. TOSTEE personated the heroine, and the warmth of her reception, and the hearty encore after each of her songs testified to the universal popularity of this charming artiste. Her rendering of the character of the little Alsacian broom-seller is a perfect piece of acting. We shared the public regret when the curtain fell on the final tableau. The performance concluded with the first, second, and fourth acts of Barbe Bleue, and the public consoled themselves for the loss of TOSTEE by laughing again over the adventure of IRMA and AUJAC—Boulotte and Barbe Bleue. We must not forget to mention the really grand chorus which Mr. BATEMAN now has at the Opera House. So great a number of well-trained voices has never been assembled upon one stage in this City before, and the effect produced was superb in the extreme. The same bill will be repeated at this establishment during the week.”

Announcement: New York Post, 02 December 1868, [3].
Announcement: New York Herald, 04 December 1868.
Announcement: New York Post, 04 December 1868, [4].
Announcement: New-York Times, 04 December 1868, 4.
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 04 December 1868, 2.
Announcement: New York Clipper, 05 December 1868, 279, 3d col., top.
Announcement: New York Herald, 05 December 1868.

“Mr. Bateman begs to announce that in order to give time for rehearsals that Les Bavards may be presented in the most perfect manner, the first representations of above opera bouffe will be postponed until Wed. evening, Dec. 9. Seats for Monday and Tuesday evenings may be exchanged for Wed. and Thurs. following.”

Announcement: New York Herald, 05 December 1868, 4.

“M. Offenbach, undaunted by two previous failures and not choosing to ‘beware of the third time,’ has written another work for the Opera Comique.”