Maretzek Italian Opera: Un ballo in maschera

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Max Maretzek

Event Type:
Opera, Orchestral

Record Information


Last Updated:
29 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

18 Mar 1863, Evening

Program Details

Fifth Grand Opera Night.
AD: NYT 03/18/63, p.7 – “In the Masked Ball scene, THREE DISTINCT ORCHESTRAS will be employed.”

Norma was originally scheduled but withdrawn because of Medori’s indisposition.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka A Masked ball; Masked ball
Composer(s): Verdi
Text Author: Somma
Participants:  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Orchestra, unidentified;  Henrietta Sulzer (role: Ulrica);  Francesco Mazzoleni (role: Riccardo);  T. [tenor] Rubio (role: Judge);  Wilhelm [baritone] Müller (role: Tom);  Ginerva Guerrabella (role: Amelia);  Domenico Coletti (role: Samuel);  Antonietta Brignoli-Ortolani (role: Oscar);  Fernando [bass-baritone] Bellini (role: Renato)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 17 March 1863, 7.
Announces Norma and gives the cast.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 17 March 1863, 7.
Announces Norma. “All tickets purchased for the fifth Opera night are good for Wednesday, and those for the sixth night for Friday, or the money returned, if applied for the day previous to performance.”
K: Business of Music
Advertisement: New York Post, 17 March 1863.
Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 17 March 1863.
Announcement: New York Herald, 18 March 1863, 4.
“To-night ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ will be given.”
Advertisement: New York Herald, 18 March 1863, 7.
Announcement: New-York Times, 18 March 1863.
“In consequence of the continued indisposition of Mme. Medori, it will be impossible to give ‘Norma’ to-night. . . . ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ will be repeated, with Mme. Guerrabella and Signor Bellini, for the first time, in the two important roles previously sustained by Mme. Medori and Signor Ypolito.”
Advertisement: New-York Times, 18 March 1863, 7.
Announces Ballo. Cast. “In the Masked Ball scene, THREE DISTINCT ORCHESTRAS will be employed.”
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 18 March 1863.
Mme Medori has not recovered from her illness. The director announces for this evening the second performance of Ballo in Maschera, with Mmes Guerrabella and Ortolani Brignoli, Mlle Sulzer, M. Mazzoleni, and the new tenor M. Bellini.
Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 18 March 1863.
“In the scene of the masked ball, three orchestras will be used.”
Advertisement: New-York Times, 18 March 1863, 7.

Announces Ballo.  Cast.  “In the Masked Ball scene, THREE DISTINCT ORCHESTRAS will be employed.”

Review: New York Herald, 19 March 1863, 4.

     “The disappointment experienced by the public last Monday evening was unavoidable, as far as regards the management of the favorite artist who was to appear in ‘Norma.’ Mme. Medori was so seriously indisposed that she could not sing—a fact which she announced to her manager in due season, but with the assurance that if any improvement took place she would, although suffering, go through the opera. It became evident afterwards the close of the day that her appearance was impossible, and hence, as there was no time to prepare another performance, the Academy, perforce, remained closed that evening. Last night, Mme. Medori being still indisposed, Mme. Guerrabella consented, at short notice, to assume the role of Amelia in the ‘Ballo,’ the announcement of which fact crowded the house. It was known that Signor Bellini would appear as Reinhart; a role in which he won well merited triumphs in Havana. These were all powerful inducements, and as we said above, the Academy was filled.

            Mme. Guerrabella (Amelia), whose voice is admirably cultivated, has the additional advantage of an ususually fine stage appearance, and is worthy to rank in the new troupe as their equal in dramatic force. She was received by the large and fashionable audience with the most flattering demonstrations. Her performance was eminently attractive, as was proved by the applause which greeted her during the entire opera. At the end of the third act she was called before the curtain. This artiste is a decided acquisition to the Maretzek troupe, enabling the manager to produce some operas which have not been sung in New York for a long time.

            Mlle. Sulzer, as the enchantress, appeared to great advantage. We have so recently reviewed her performance of this role that it is unnecessary to enter into any further details here. We will simply add that her success was as great as on her first representation of the part.

            Mlle. Ortolani Brignoli was a pleasing Page Oscar. We do not think, however, that she appears to as great advantage in this role as in Violetta in the ‘Traviata.’ Her voice, although not powerful, is most pleasing and melodious, and is under great cultivation. There is lacking in Mlle. Brignoli’s role of the Page that dash which belongs to the part. Her rendition of the music of the role was all that could be desired.

            Signor Mazzoleni as Count Ricardo was immensely successful. As on the first night of the ‘Ballo,’ he sang the baracole with infinite zest and power. It was tumultuously encored. Throughout the opera he met with the same success. He sang admirably, while he acted the role to perfection.

            Signor Bellini, of whose performance as Reinhart we have heard so much praise, was fully equal to our anticipations. He infused in this character a dramatic warmth which impressed the audience. In the scene between himself and, as he supposes, his guilty wife, he was grand. The public bestowed upon his efforts the warmest applause. As this artist’s voice recovers from the hoarseness which has veiled it up to the present time, its power and purity become more and more apparent. It is evident that Bellini will become a great favorite in New York.”

Review: New-York Times, 19 March 1863, 4.

     Academy of Music.--“Notwithstanding the continued indisposition of Mme. Medori, and the change of opera rendered necessary in consequence thereof, the Academy of Music was completely filled last evening, when ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ was performed. Mr. Maretzek’s company, and the attraction of Mme. Guerrabella’s name—for the lady sustained the rôle of Amelia, having obligingly consented, &c., &c. The performance throughout was an excellent one, differing from the first representation mainly in the superior merit of the baritone. Signor Bellini is steadily winning his way with the public. The quantity and quality of his voice, combined with the spirit of his action, places him in the first rank of artists. As Reinhardt, he has an opportunity of showing all his best points. In the third act he was extremely powerful—better than any of his predecessors; and in other and less exigent portions of the work he was all that could be desired.

Mme. Guerrabella, a pleasing singer and most graceful actress, received a hearty welcome on her rentrée. Her impersonation of Amelia will be remembered as one of the best of her repertoire. Signor Mazzolini was in excellent voice, and with the rest of the artists, succeeded in winning much applause for the opera.”

Review: New York Post, 19 March 1863, 2.
“The performance of the ‘Ballo’ last night was one of the most brilliant of the season. Madame Guerrabella was warmly welcomed back to the Academy, and her graceful action and finished vocalization received their due need of applause.”
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 19 March 1863, 8.

“Another brilliant audience was present at the opera last night; giving thus continued indication of a public desire to support a good lyrical company. The composition of Un Ballo in Maschera came out in several points in fresh and very lucid colors. We may instance in point, the admirable manner in which the tenor acted and sang the masquerade sailor scene in the witches’ abode; calling down the most fervid and general applause. The duet subsequently with the soprano—Madame Guerrabella—excited approval, and so with other pieces. The mortal throes of the hero at the close were most interesting as a death-bed scene, though clinico-musically prolonged.”

Review: New York Herald, 23 March 1863, 5.

“On Wedneday evening last Madame Guerrabella made her appearance in the ‘Ballo in Maschera.’ She did so at very short notice, and certainly achieved a marked success. She was received by the audience in a most flattering manner. Her engagement renders the Maretzek troupe the more efficient. We hear that Madame Guerrabella will soon appear in operas which have not been given in New York for years.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 23 March 1863, 8.
“The opera of Il Ballo . . . passed off well.”
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 23 March 1863, 1.

"A bad week at the Opera. The throat ailments have spread and have yielded disappointment upon disappointment to the audience. Monday, it is Mme Medori who can't sign Norma, and the doors of the theater stay closed. Wednesday, they open for Ballo in Maschera, but the role of Mme Medori is filled by Mme Gorrabella who, with all her charming qualities, didn't know how to make us forget the voice--so powerful and so dramatic--that she replaced. . . . "

Review: New York Clipper, 28 March 1863, 395.
“’Un Ballo,’ the ‘Traviata’ and ‘Favorita’ were given with Medori left out, and Guerrabella counted in.”
Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 28 March 1863, 410.
Just a mention that it was performed. Mistakenly says it took place on the 19th.
Review: Musical Review and World, 28 March 1863, 75.
Doesn’t give specific date of performance. “Bellini had meanwhile an opportunity, to redeem his reputation as a fine artist with a very sonorous voice. His performance in ‘Un Ballo’ was excellent.”
Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 18 April 1863, 15.
Just a mention that it was performed.