Barney Williams Irish Relief Benefit

Event Information

Academy of Music

Event Type:
Variety / Vaudeville

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
11 October 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

05 May 1863, 7:30 PM

Program Details

Customs of the country (Yankee comedy) (Williams)
Includes: “a Yankee song” (Mrs. Williams)
“song of the Limerick Races” (Mr. Williams)
“Minstrel boy to the war hath gone, The” (Guerrabella) encore
R: NYH 05/06/63, p.6 says both Guerrabella and Strakosch performed “Kathleen Mavourneen.”

Laura Keene was indisposed and did not appear. See R: NYH 05/06/63, p.6.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Elly Mavourneen
Composer(s): Crouch [composer-cello]
Participants:  Ginerva Guerrabella
aka Minstrel boy to the war hath gone; Minstrel boy to the war is gone, The
Composer(s): Moore
Participants:  Ginerva Guerrabella
aka Elly Mavourneen
Composer(s): Crouch [composer-cello]
Participants:  Amalia Patti Strakosch
aka Coming through the rye
Text Author: Burns
Participants:  Amalia Patti Strakosch
Text Author: Morton
Participants:  Maria [Mrs. Barney] Williams;  Barney Williams (role: Paddy Ryan)
aka Grand pas de deux


Announcement: New York Clipper, 25 April 1863, 11.
“Barney Williams’ entertainment for the Irish Relief Fund, will take place at the Academy, or at Niblo’s, during the first week in May.”
Advertisement: New York Herald, 26 April 1863, 7.

Announcement: New York Herald, 28 April 1863, 6.
“The attractions offered, independent of the benevolent object in view, are sufficient in themselves to ensure an overflowing house. . . . Between the acts, Madame Guerrabella and Madame Strakosch have each volunteered to sing an aria.”
Advertisement: New York Herald, 01 May 1863, 7.
Announcement: New-York Times, 04 May 1863, 5.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 04 May 1863, 7.
Casts, time, etc.
Announcement: New York Herald, 04 May 1863, 4.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 04 May 1863, 7.

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 04 May 1863, 8.

Announcement: New York Post, 04 May 1863, 3.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 05 May 1863, 7.

“Guerrabella, the favorite prima donna, by kind permission of Max Maretzek, Esq., of the Italian Opera.”

Announcement: New York Herald, 05 May 1863, 7.
“From the eagerness with which the places have been taken since the opening of the box office it is anticipated that the receipts will be as large as the capacity of the house will admit of, and will complete the fifty thousand dollars now nearly subscribed to this fund.  The preparations for the occasion are on a very extensive scale.  Both the interior and the exterior of the house are to be decorated with Irish and American emblems.”
Advertisement: New York Herald, 05 May 1863, 12.
Announcement: New York Post, 05 May 1863, 2.
“The programme comprises seven distinct entertainments, representing music, the drama and the ballet.”
Review: New York Herald, 06 May 1863, 6.

“The representation at the Academy of Music last evening, under the auspices of Mr. Barney Williams, for the benefit of the fund for the relief of the suffering poor of Ireland, was a most successful and highly satisfactory affair. The appeal to the citizens of New York was most warmly and cordially responded to, as the thronged galleries and auditorium of the Academy fully testified. The entertainment began with the laughable farce of ‘The Irish Tutor,’ which, at the ninth hours, was substituted for a piece in which Miss Laura Keene was to have appeared, the indisposition of that lady rendering the change necessary. It is needless to say how well Mr. and Mrs. Barney Williams acquitted themselves. The musical part of the performance was excellent. Mme. Guerrabella sung [sic] the sweet and plaintive Irish melody, ‘Kathleen Mavourneen,’ in a most exquisite manner, and drew forth repeated bursts of applause. On being loudly encored she gave the martial song, ‘The Minstrel Boy to the War Hath Gone,’ with an energy and effect that really thrilled her hearers.

       The performance then continued by Madame Strakosch singing ‘Kathleen Mavourneen’ and ‘Comin’ thro’ the Rye.’ She was loudly applauded. Mlle. Annetta Galletti and Madame Marzetti then executed a brilliant pas de deux, which greatly delighted the gods. The evening’s entertainment concluded with the farce of ‘The Irish Tiger,’ in which, if possible, Mr. Barney Williams was funnier than ever. Mrs. Williams’ versatility of talent was well displayed in her sudden transition of characters in the former and in the piece. The other ladies and gentlemen who assisted are deserving of the highest praise for the part they contributed to the success of this rousing benefit, initiated by Barney Williams, for the suffering poor of Ireland.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 09 May 1863, 27.
Program and performers.  “The theatre is to be decorated outside and in, with the flags of all nations, the ‘Confederacy’ excepted.  There is a very fine bill offered…We hope that all who have volunteered will be present, and attend to their business just the same as if they were to be paid for it.  The fault with volunteer benefits is, that the volunteers do just as they please and don’t care a cuss for anybody.  They want to be mustered out of service before they have accomplished the business they volunteer for.”
Review: New York Clipper, 16 May 1863, 38.
“[S]aid to have realized the sum of $1200.  Among the volunteers who did not appear, was Laura Keene, ‘indisposition’—as the dedicated tenor singers phrase it—keeping that lady away; what sort of ‘indisposition’ is not mentioned.”