Union League Club: Maria di Rohan

Event Information

Union League Theatre

Manager / Director:
Giorgio Ronconi

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
5 March 2022

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

18 Apr 1870, Evening

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Donizetti
Text Author: Cammarano
Participants:  Chorus, unidentified;  Giorgio Ronconi (role: Enrico, Duke of Chevreuse);  Antoinette Ronconi (role: Armando di Gondi);  E. [pianist, conductor] Marzo (role: Aubry, Secretary to Chalais);  Mrs. Philip [soprano] Gulager (role: Maria di Rohan);  G. [tenor] Boy (role: Ricardo, Count of Chalais);  J. [baritone] D'Hasslier (role: De Flesque)


Announcement: New York Post, 04 April 1870, 2.

Lists cast with roles.

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 11 April 1870, 4.

“On the 18th instant (next Monday), a second performance of Donizetti’s ‘Marta di Rohan’ [sic] will be given at the Union League Theater, by Signor Ronconi, with the assistance of Mrs. Gulager and a number of other amateurs. The representation of the opera in the same place and by the same persons last February, was in all respects a very successful one. It was arranged by Signor Ronconi (at his own expense) for the benefit of the Samaritan Home for the Aged, and the repetition is now to be given under the auspices of the Ladies of the Committee for the benefit of Signor Ronconi.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 13 April 1870, 4.

“The first performance of Donizetti’s ‘Maria de Rohan,’ at the Union League Theater, was so emphatic a success that it is to be repeated on the evening of April 18. The former performance was directed, it will be remembered, by Signor Ronconi, and the coming one will be under the same excellent auspices. Those who have not yet been so fortunate as to witness Signor Ronconi’s superb performance of Chevreuse, should not miss this opportunity; and no fear need be felt lest the support rendered him by the amateurs or professionals who are to assist, will be unworthy of association [illeg. – with?] even so distinguished and admirable an artist.”

Announcement: New York Post, 14 April 1870, 4.

“Next Monday night, at the Union League Club Theatre, the benefit of Ronconi will take place, when Donizetti’s ‘Maria di Rohan’ will be produced, as on the previous occasion, with the aid of Mrs. Gulager, Miss Ronconi, Signor Boy and a chorus of well-trained amateurs. We have already spoken at length of Ronconi’s magnificent acting and vocal declamation in this opera. Those who have only seen him in buffo selections at concerts, have little idea of the tragic power which has made Ronconi one of the most shining ornaments of the Italian lyric stage.”

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 16 April 1870, 5.

“On Monday the eager world of fashion will divide itself between the Academy of Music, where nearly all the most popular artists now within reach—Miss Kellogg, for instance, Miss Mehlig, Mr. Mills, Miss Sterling, Mr. Werner, and Señor Sarasate—with the Arion Society and the Philharmonic orchestra [sic], are to appear for the benefit of the Sheltering Arms Asylum; and the Union League Theater, where all the fortunate people who can buy or borrow good clothes are going to the full dress performance of ‘Maria di Rohan’ by Signor Ronconi, with the assistance of Mrs. Gulager and other amateurs.”

Announcement: New York Post, 18 April 1870, 2.

Announces performance and performers. “…Of Ronconi’s magnificent acting and singing in this opera we have previously had occasion to speak with special commendation.”

Announcement: New York Sun, 18 April 1870, 2.

“There are several musical performances to be given the present week of much more than ordinary excellence…

“At the Union League theatre [sic] Signor Ronconi repeats this evening the performance of Donizetti’s very beautiful opera ‘Maria de Rohan,’ with the assistance of Mrs. Philip Galager, an amateur singer of great attainment, and other ladies and gentlemen, also amateurs. Those who heard the opera when given last winter by the same persons, expressed themselves in the highest temrs of praise in relation to the smoothness and excellence of the performance.”

Review: New York Herald, 19 April 1870, 7.

“Despite the rain and the eccentric movements of the clerk of the weather last night, a brilliant and fashionable audience—all in full dress—attended the second representation of Donizetti’s magnificent opera ‘Maria de [sic] Rohan’ at this theatre. For an hour before the curtain rose a throng of liveried equipages drove up to the entrance of the theatre and opera-cloaked forms jostled each other at the brilliantly lighted entrance. The cast was as follows:—[lists cast with roles]. This work sparkles with piquant and grace floria [sic] melodies, such as suit and please the different kinds of voices, and with effectively worked up musical ideas in quartets, trios and duets. Whatever the shortcomings of Donizetti may be in other respects, he is essentially dramatic in the plot and construction of this opera, and he understands well the art of stimulating the enthusiasm of the audience.”

Review: New York Sun, 19 April 1870, 1.

Merely notes the event took place.

Review: New-York Times, 21 April 1870, 4.

“The opera of ‘Maria dí Rohan’ was performed for the second time at the Union League Theater on Tuesday evening last, under the direction of Signor Ronconi, assisted by several ladies and gentlemen amateurs. In his later years Walter Savage Landor published a volume of poems, which he called Last Fruits from an Old Tree, and this quaint and touching title often occurs to us while listening to a performance which has received the commendation of gifted pens now idle, and formed a share of the pageant of life for the world’s great ones long ago. How far from us seem now the times when the Orleans dynasty was seated in Paris and Jules Janin wrote his most piquant criticisms, and when Chateaubriand and Lamartine and de Tocqueville and the young and fiery Victor Hugo could from time to time be seen in the auditorium! Those were the days when the sensational drama called ‘Un Duel Sous Richelieu’ became famous, and Donizetti wrote an opera on the subject, and Ronconi showed that singer, if he were a man of genius, could act a great tragic part without letting his audience feel the trammels of the music. For these historic people were the first fruits, for us the last. The thought of those days quickens the imagination, and adds to the fond regret with which we behold the end of a career of a great artist, feeling the while that we ne’er shall look upon his like again.

“Somewhat out of harmony with these reflections, and with the painful interest of the story of the opera of last Tuesday, was the very charming kind of domestic entertainment furnished for the second time this season by the rest of the ladies and gentlemen concerned; when good society tried its hand at tragedy; when the lady patronesses divided attention with the ladies-in-waiting of Anne of Austria; when the audience made sympathizing visits between the acts to learn how the heroine was getting on, and the chorus in turn flowed back into the parquetted to witness the dénouement; and when the victims of Richelieu fought out their terrible strife in the face of the picture painted for the Union League to commemorate the historic walls of Sumter. Nothing can be more amusing than seeing an amateur performance, unless it be taking part in one; and, for ourselves, we should be content to sit out many such representations, could we always count on seeing as much grace and intelligence as were imparted on this occasion to the representation of ‘Maria di Rohan.’”