Grau German Opera: Faust

Event Information

Venue(s):
French Theatre

Manager / Director:
Henry [manager] Grau

Conductor(s):
Carl Anschütz

Price: $1.00; $.50 for reserved seat; $.50 dress circle; $.30 family circle; $10 proscenium box

Event Type:
Opera

Record Information

Status:
Published

Last Updated:
19 December 2020

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

27 Oct 1869, Evening

Performers and/or Works Performed

1)
Composer(s): Gounod
Text Author: Barbier, Carré
Participants:  Grau German Opera Company;  Chorus, unidentified;  Orchestra, unidentified;  Wilhelm Formes (role: Valentine);  Marie Frederici (role: Marguerite);  Franz Himmer (role: Faust);  Sophie Dziuba (role: Siebel);  Joseph Hermanns (role: Mephistopheles)

Citations

1)
Announcement: New York Herald, 25 October 1869, 10.
2)
Advertisement: New York Post, 25 October 1869, 12.
3)
Announcement: New York Post, 25 October 1869, 2.
4)
Advertisement: New-York Times, 25 October 1869, 7.
5)
Advertisement: New York Herald, 25 October 1869, 12.
6)
Announcement: New York Post, 26 October 1869, 2.
7)
Announcement: New-York Times, 26 October 1869, 5.
8)
Announcement: New York Sun, 27 October 1869, 2.

“The company is, if not a brilliant, at least a very good and earnest one. They have been giving opera at the Stadt Theatre during the fall, and have the works thoroughly prepared and rehearsed. What they do, they do in a hearty, honest, German fashion, that makes it acceptable to all true musicians. It is not dilletantism, but downright capable singing.”

9)
Announcement: New-York Times, 27 October 1869, 4.
10)
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 27 October 1869, 4.
11)
Review: New York Herald, 28 October 1869, 9.

“The city has no lack of variety in amusements. Last night Mr. Grau opened a brief season of grand German opera with the performance of ‘Faust.’ It was gratifying to hear the conception of Goethe rendered in the poet’s own tongue through the medium of Goethe’s music. German opera has a peculiar attraction for Anglo-Saxon ears, which the ‘soft, bastard Latin’ cannot always overcome. Mephistopheles was given by Herrmanns, whose fame in the part was fully sustained last evening, his voice being in excellent tone. Mlle. Marie Frederici, with her sweet and spirited and admirable acting, gave a most acceptable rendering of the fair Marguerite, and won fresh admirers for the power and purity of her voice. The other parts were well distributed and sung.”

12)
Review: New York Post, 28 October 1869, 4.

“Mr. Hermann Grau’s opera company opened a short season at the French Theatre last night with a fairly creditable rendering of Gounod’s ‘Faust.’ Frederici was Marguerite. Both her voice and her figure have gained in amplitude during the last few years, and she does not look the character as well as she did when she sang in the opera some time ago at the Academy of Music. We miss too, the delicacy of vocalization which then made her Marguerite the peer of any on the American stage; but she yet sings with rare conscientiousness; and manifests wealth of vocal power only surpassed at present in this country by Parepa. An artist like Frederici should no longer be buried in the Bowery.

“Himmer gave decided satisfaction as Faust; and the Mephistopheles of Hermanns is well-known as a peculiar and effective presentation, not in the highest class of lyric art, but marked by decided individuality. The other parts call for no special comment. The male choruses were powerful enough for the theatre, and the female choristers rivalled the Museum of the Vatican at Rome, in being a rare collection of antiques. The opera ended with an apotheosis, after the ‘transformation scene’ style. It appears to be an inevitable article in the creed of operatic stage managers, that the supernal regions are over enveloped in an atmosphere of calcium glare mingled with pink [?] light and the representation of last night at its close, thoroughly conformed to this orthodox theory.”

13)
Review: New-York Times, 28 October 1869, 4.

“A very worthy performance of ‘Faust’ was given by the German artists, last evening, at the French Theatre, which seems destined, we should say, to have occupants of every other nationality but that to which it was dedicated. Better representations of the same opera have undoubtedly been enjoyed, but the animation with which this one was marked was so general and genuine as to make fair amends for the artistic difference. Mlle. Marie Frederici, who was Marguerite, filled the same part, if we mistake not, when Gounod’s work was first performed here. She brings to its interpretation a fresh and powerful voice of rather limited compass, a rare exuberance of spirits, and too apparent proofs of robust womanhood to allow the most indulgent to admit her physical fitness to embody Goethe’s maid. Her performance yesterday was earnest and robust. She sang agreeably the ballad of ‘The King of Thule,’ though with a too evident self-consciousness, and succeeded only partially in the brilliant jewel cavatina; but, in the impassioned duet with Faust in the garden act, in the finale of the same portion of the work, and in its closing passages, her vocal power had abundant opportunity for display, and secured instant recognition. Herr Himmer was Faust, and acted and sang with care and force. The superb voice of Herr Hermanns was once again listened to in the utterances of Mephistopheles; and the song of the Golden Calf, executed with the usual vigor, and the sustained note in each couplet of the serenade were productive of their wonted effect. Herr Wilhelm Formes was Valentine, and his singing too was characterized by the same loud but not too unpleasant traits marking the efforts of his associates. Mlle. Sophie Dziuba represented Siebel very gracefully and truthfully. When we add to this record the mention of the fact that Herr Carl Anschutz was the musical director, we need say very little of the chorus and orchestra. Neither was too numerous, yet the performance of the former body was very satisfactory, and that of the latter was absolutely perfect.”

14)
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 28 October 1869, 1.

“The company of German artists under the direction of H. Grau appeared last evening at the French Theater in Gounod’s ‘Faust,’ an opera which they have often performed with success in this and other cities. The audience was large, and the various representatives of the leading characters were received with the cordial recognition that established favorites can always reckon upon. Mlles. Marie Frederici and Dziuba, and Messrs. Himmer, W. Formes, and Hermanns respectively personated Marguerite, Sibel, Faust, Valentine, and Mephistopheles. They are all sufficiently well known in the community, and need not be critically considered at this late day. The performance, as a whole, gave abundant satisfaction, and was warmly applauded throughout.”

15)
Review: New York Sun, 29 October 1869, 2.

“The German company now performing for a few nights at the French Theatre has very good material, and does what it sets out to do in a hearty, genuine way. The German singers seldom lack animation in acting. On Wednesday evening they performed ‘Faust’ as though they fully entered into the spirit of that profound love tragedy. Both Mme. Frederici and Mr. Himmer not unfrequently sing false, but in spite of this they are most capable artists, and sing with a fervor and enthusiasm which fully atones for every fault. The operas that Mr. Grau is presenting during this short season are not put upon the stage with any great elaboration of scenery, but, what is much more to the purpose, they are acted and sung in a spirit most satisfying to the audience.”