Articles on forthcoming fall opera season

Event Information

Academy of Music
French Theatre

Manager / Director:
Jacob Grau
Max Maretzek
Caroline Richings
Euphrosyne Parepa

S. Behrens
Carl Rosa
Anthony, Jr. Reiff [vn-cond.-composer]

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
12 January 2020

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

01 Jul 1869

Performers and/or Works Performed


Article: New York Herald, 01 July 1869, 5.

“Mrs. Caroline Richings-Bernard is busily engaged at present in reorganizing her English opera company for the approaching fall season. It is thought that the new troupe will bear favorable comparison with the old one, but as many of the leading members of the company have yet to make their first appearance before an American audience, it remains to be seen whether or not the places of the old lyric favorites have been judiciously filled. Among the new operatic stars that will appear in the Riching’s constellation is Miss Blanch Ellermann, a pupil of Signor Arditti [sic]. She is at present singing at Baden Baden with much success, but will join Miss Richings’ troupe early in September, under a ten months’ engagement as prima donna. Mr. Henry Drayton, an English baritone, who appeared in this country about ten years ago, with his wife, in a series of ‘parlor opera entertainments,’ takes the place of Mr. Campbell, while Mr. Castle will be succeeded by Mr. Haight, a new English tenor, who is said to be very good, but concerning whom but little is known. Mr. Brookhouse Bowler will be the other tenor and Mrs. Bowler takes the place of Mrs. Seguin as leading contralto. Mr. James Arnold joins the troupe as buffo baritone, and is said to be a competent successor to Mr. Seguin. Mr. Warren White, late of the Galton English opera troupe, has been engaged as second basso, with Mr. James Peakes, as principal basso and Miss Annie Mischka second soprano. Mr. Pierre Bernard will fill the position of second tenor and Mrs. Caroline Richings-Bernard will, as heretofore, officiate as first soprano. Mr. S. Behrens will lead the orchestra.”

Article: New York Herald, 08 July 1869, 3.

“Madame Parepa-Rosa’s season of English grand opera commences at the Theâtre Français on the 13th of September. The season will last but for three weeks, after which Mme. Rosa’s troupe will betake themselves to the Provinces. Mlle. Rose Hersee is engaged by Mme. Parepa-Rosa for six months from 18th September next as prima donna soprano on very handsome terms, and will make her debut at New York, September 20, in the character of Amina in ‘La Sonnambula,’ in which she made so remarkable a success eighteen months back at the opening of the new Standard theatre [sic], London.”

Article: New York Herald, 14 July 1869, 4.

“The opening sensation of the fall musical and dramatic season will be the double-breasted splurge of English grand opera. The first spurt will be given at the Théatre [sic] Français, on the 11th of September, under the direction of Mme. Parepa-Rosa, who has organized a superb company of lyric artistes, which includes the names of such well known public favorites as Miss Fanny Stockton, Miss Seguin and Messrs. Seguin, Castle and Campbell. The Parepa-Rosa operatic season will be continued in this city from three to four weeks, after which the popular directress and her troupe [illeg.] westward, returning again to the metropolis about the Christmas holidays. Following close upon the heels of this troupe comes the Richings English operatic company, which also opens for a season of three weeks at the Theâtre [sic] Français, commencing on the 15th on November. Mrs. Caroline Richings Bernard has thoroughly reorganized and strengthened her company, which will probably enable her to hold the foremost position which she has so long occupied in English opera. The name of Miss Richings is identified with English opera in this country, and it ahs been so long linked with the works of Balfe, Wallace and Auber that it has become a household world in lyric drama. During the approaching operatic season a number of new lyric ‘stars’ from Europe will appear in the Richings constellation, of whom report speaks in the most laudatory terms. A number of new and popular operas will be given for the first time in English in this country, under Miss Richings’ direction, during the coming season, and the revival of Wallace’s ‘Lurline’ is also hinted at, which, if rumor be correct, will be produced in that magnificent and complete manner so characteristic of Miss Richings’ previous efforts in the case of English opera.

“The prospect and chances of New York being favored with Italian opera next season are growing smaller by degrees and beautifully less. In fact it is now pretty safe to assert that we will have no regularly organized Italian operatic representations in this vicinity for another year or two. Impresario Mitchell, of London, who was going to bring Mlle. Titiens [sic], Mr. Santley and a number of other operatic ‘stars’ of various magnitudes to this country early in the fall, for the delectable purpose of giving us Italian opera in an unadulterated manner, appears to have changed his mind, as has also Mme. Gazzaniga, who threatened to revive Italian opera, early in September, at the Academy of Music, for our especial edification. The ‘Catacombs,’ however, is engaged for a season of six weeks, during which we are to be regaled with French grand epera [sic] by a company from Europe, under the management of a certain Herr, Mons., Sig., Don or plain Mr., Wesmael. Not even the stockholders of the ‘Catacombs’ appear to know anything concerning the capabilities or intentions of this French troupe beyond the mere fact that it proposes to give a six weeks’ season of French grand opera in their barn-like building in East Fourteenth street [sic]. Under these circumstances it is but fair to presume that the coming season will prove both successful and remunerative in the highest degree.

“Manager Grau, though keeping rather quiet of late, is by no means idle. His agent has been in Europe for nearly three months making arrangements for the approaching fall and winter season, but what his next move on the theatrical chess-board will be Mr. Grau will not at present divulge. This, however, is certain, it will not be opera bouffe, for that effervescent luxury has died from the effects of an overdose of its own shallowness, combined with Frenchified morals, and cannot be resurrected in this country for at least a season or two yet to come, and even then it can only be made to pay when administered to the good natured public in small and palatable doses. Mr. Grau appreciates this fact, and will not at present attempt to recall the spectre [sic] bewitching bouffe from that oblivion to which it has been consigned by a people madly in love with it at one time, but who were made actually to swallow more of it than was absolutely necessary to the welfare of their musical and fun-loving temperaments. Of this we are assured, that should Manager Grau take part in the theatrical tournament of next season it will be with a sensation which will eclipse all his former dramatic and musical efforts, not even expecting the great furor he created with Ristori.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 17 July 1869, 118.

“Parepa Rosa’s English Opera Troupe commences a season of four weeks at the French Theatre on Sept. 18th, with the following company:—Prima donne, Parepa-Rosa and Rose Hersee; contralto, Mrs. Seguin and Fanny Stockton; tenor, W. Castle; baritone, Alberto Laurance; basso cantante, S. C. Campbell; buffo, E. Seguin. Carl Rosa is musical director, assisted by A. Reiff. A. Jackson has been secured for stage manager.

The Richings English Opera Troupe inaugurates a season of four weeks at the French Theatre in October.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 17 July 1869, 118.

“Mrs. F. S. Chanfrau has been secured as leading lady for the Fifth Avenue Theatre, but does not appear there until November, in consequence of another addition to the Chanfrau family that is looked for about September.”

Article: New-York Daily Tribune, 22 July 1869, 4.

“The prospects of music in New-York next season are better than we had any right to expect, although of the highest class of operatic performance there is but a dubious promise. It is pretty certain, however, that the French lyric company, of which there have been rumors all Summer, will open the Academy of Music in the Autumn for a campaign of French serious opera. The names of the artists have not transpired, nor are we certain that the projectors have thus far engaged anything except the house.—Meanwhile, in the matter of English opera, there is likely to be a spirit of competition. Miss Richings has organized a troupe, with some old and some new material, and is to open the French Theater about the 1st of September, thus getting about two weeks’ start of Madame Parepa Rosa, whose season commences at the same place about the 15th of that month, or possibly a little earlier. Madame Rosa has secured Miss Rose Hersee, the young prima donna who has been so successful in London. She has that admirable contralto, Mrs. Zelda Harrison Seguin, and the popular baritone, Campbell, and will also bring out her new tenor, Nordblom. Miss Richings has engaged Brookhouse Bowler. Madame Parepa promises various novelties; the scheme of the other company we have not heard. Cannot one of the troupes take up ‘Lurline?’—Nilsson is still said to be coming, and doubtless her engagement stands good. Max Maretzek, strange to say, is out of the race. He has abandoned music for bricks, and in the manufacture of these useful albeit inartistic articles is understood to be at last earning a living. Peace and plenty be with him! As soon as he gets a little money we suppose he will come back to the Academy of Music and lose every cent of it.

[Paragraph on musical activity in Boston.]

The first production of a thoroughly American opera is an event of no ordinary importance, and such an event we may count upon for the 7th of October. Mr. E.B. Moore’s opera of ‘Mcotla’ will then be performed for the first time at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Not only is the composer an American, but he has chosen an American subject, and his libretto is from the pen of Mr. E. De Nyse, a well-known American journalist.”

Announcement: New York Herald, 23 July 1869, 4.

Brief. “‘The Catacombs,’ in Fourteenth street, will be made vocal with the strains of French grand opera, from the 1st of November until February. Nobody in the city appears to know anything concerning the company who are to furnish us with this great treat.”

Article: New York Clipper, 24 July 1869, 126.

“A Grand French Opera Troupe is at present organizing in Paris for a visit to America. The troupe will number ninety people and will be under the management of several of the most experienced operatic managers in this country and Europe. The party will arrive here about the first of September, and will open at the Academy of Music on or about Sept. 15th, for six weeks, and go thence to Philadelphia. The troupe, we are told, will be selected from the best talent to be found in France, and every face will be new to America. This will be the first regular French Opera Troupe that has ever visited this country for the purpose of presenting in grand style works of the greatest French composers, viz., Auber, Meyerbeer and others. Von Hamme, the well known ballet master, sailed for Amsterdam on the 17th inst., to secure one of the most efficient corps de ballet yet presented in this country. The whole will be under the immediate direction of T. Dryane, a gentleman who appears to know what will please here, as he was in America a few years ago. Mr. Page, at present business manager for Lucille Western at the Grand Opera House, will attend to the outside business.”

Article: New York Herald, 27 July 1869, 3.

“As was predicted opéra bouffe in this city has died so completely that our managers find it utterly impossible to resurrect it. The doses of it which were given to the public last year were altogether too strong.

Instead of opéra bouffe we are to be regaled this fall with English grand opera at the Théâtre Français for three weeks, with English grand opera at the Grand Opera House for three weeks more, and with French grand opera at the Catacombs for an indefinite period, perhaps three months.”