Popular Opera Night: Faust

Event Information

Academy of Music

Carlo Bosoni

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
26 April 2022

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

29 Apr 1870, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Gounod
Text Author: Barbier, Carré
Participants:  Chorus, unidentified;  Orchestra, unidentified;  Theodore Habelmann (role: Faust);  Pauline Canissa (role: Marguerite);  Sophie Dziuba (role: Siebel);  Joseph Hermanns (role: Mephisto);  Wilhelm Formes (role: Valentine)


Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 25 April 1870, 4.

Part announcement for Carlotta Patti’s Zauberflöte performances at the Academy of Music. “Friday is set apart as a ‘popular opera night,’ with ‘Faust’ for the attraction, the cast not being yet announced.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 26 April 1870, 13.
Announcement: New-York Times, 26 April 1870, 4.

Brief. “A special representation of ‘Faust’ is advertised for Friday night.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 26 April 1870, 7.
Announcement: New York Herald, 27 April 1870, 10.

“Miss Pauline Canissa sings Marguerite, in Gounod’s beautiful opera at the Academy on Friday.”

Announcement: New York Post, 27 April 1870, 2.

Brief. “On Friday Gounod’s ‘Faust’ will be given in German, with the principal artists in the cast.”

Announcement: New York Sun, 27 April 1870, 3.


Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 28 April 1870, 5.

“[W]e are to have to-morrow evening a strictly Teutonic representation of ‘Faust,’ with Miss Canissa as Gretchen, and Hermanns as the Devil. The basso is very much liked in this part by those who like him at all (and we confess they are many), while Habelmann as Faust is almost certain to be excellent. Mr. Habelmann is very good in a few roles, pretty good in a few, and pretty bad in all the rest; his Faust belongs to the first category. The other characters are to be assumed by Formes, Miss Dziuba, &c.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 29 April 1870, 4.

“A special representation of ‘Faust’ takes place at the Academy of Music to-night. Mlle. Canissa will be Marguerite; Miss Dziuba, Siebel; Herr Habelmann, Faust; Herr Hermanns, Mephisto, and Herr Forms [sic], Wagner. Signor Bosoni is to conduct.”

Announcement: New York Post, 29 April 1870, 2.

“To-night Gounod’s ‘Faust’ will be sung in German by the principal members of the company, affording Mr. Hermanns the chance of appearing in his great part of Mephistopheles, with which he is so closely identified.”

Review: New York Herald, 30 April 1870, 3.

“Miss Pauline Canissa made her début last night in the rôle of Marguerite—a severe test of her abilities on the lyric stage, as it is so intimately associated with the name of every prima donna of note both here and in Europe. The circumstances were not favorable to Miss Canissa’s success, as there was a small house, the opera being given in German (she having always sung it in Italian), the rehearsals having been limited to one, and the audience not being overburdened with enthusiasm. In the face of all these disadvantages the fair young artist made a genuine success, and upheld her high reputation both in acting and singing. The nervousness which marred her efforts in the earlier scenes of the opera wore off, and she sang the ‘King of Thule,’ the great duet, and the trying finale with much fervor and expression. When she acquires a little more repose in singing and command of situations, such as time alone can bring, she will have attained everything necessary for a prima donna of the first water. It was a pity that the best scene in the opera (the church scene) was cut out. Herrmanns as Mephistopheles has no superior on the stage, and Habelmann, being in good voice, made an excellent Faust. The Sibel was very indifferent, and [illeg.] lady who undertook the rôle failed to make anything out of it. The opera was handsomely placed on the stage, and Signor Bosoni, the conductor, performed his portion of the labor in the most satisfactory manner. This gentleman was formerly conductor in Les Italiens, Paris, and enjoys a high reputation in Europe.”

There is one additional line at the end of the column, several (unrelated) paragraphs below this review: “Miss Pauline Canissa is the youngest prima donna on the American stage.”

Review: New-York Times, 30 April 1870, 6.

“A performance of ‘Faust’ by the artists who surrounded Miss Patti during the brief operatic season ending with the matinée today, was given at the Academy of Music last evening. Miss Pauline Canissa was thus afforded a first hearing in the part of Marguerite, filled by her in New-Orleans, we believe, some years ago. It also allowed Messrs. Habelmann and Hermanns to be again listened to under circumstances always favorable to both artists. The representation confirmed the good impression caused by these performers and especially by Mr. Hermanns, but it did not make Miss Canissa’s title to her rôle particularly clear. Mme. Miolan-Carvalho, the maiden of Gounod’s choice, is a great comedienne, and Christine Nilsson, the painter’s ideal of Faust’s victim, informs her delineation with the simplicity and magnetism of pure genius. Mme. Frederici, who originally sang Marguerite here, presented to the spectator a genial and substantial creature, who to the realistic reader of the poem, must at least have been physically suggestive of its heroine. Miss Kellogg, who has embodied Marguerite more frequently, and to the thinking of many, more pleasantly if not more faithfully than Mme. Frederici—the question of vocal talent being of course set aside, out of courtesy to the latter lady—has been quiet and coldly picturesque, though not harshly so. Miss Canissa, the third Marguerite here, did not add to one knowledge of the possibilities of the part. She sang the music with intelligence and neatness, however, and was quite dramatic toward the close of the opera, when a slight tendering to artificiality was lost sight of in the emotions of the climax. The singing of Mr. Habelmann was of an even excellent better than spasmodic greatness, and the range and volume of Mr. Hermanns’ voice gave additional worth to a quaint and not unimpressive personation of Mephisto. The other parts were satisfactorily filled, and the chorus and the orchestra did their duty handsomely. The orchestra, by the way, was under the direction of Signor Bosoni, of the Théâtre des Italians in Paris, whose first appearance it was as a leader in this City. Signor Bosoni conducted with a skill and taste which brought fresh beauties in the music of the garden scene to light, and with all the vigor and more forcible writing called for. ‘The Soldiers’ Chorus’ naturally awoke the old enthusiasm.”

Review: New York Post, 30 April 1870, 2.

“The pernicious effect of the star system was proved at the Academy of Music last night, when a most creditable performance of ‘Faust’ was given to a house not half full. Had a ‘star’ been announced the place would have been crowded.

“Pauline Canissa, who was the Marguerite of last night, is not a star, but is a charming and intelligent singer, constantly improving, and always doing good lyrical duty. Her performance in ‘Faust’ was very enjoyable indeed. She was supported by Habelmann, Hermanns, Formes and Madame Dziuba, who are all at home in this opera. The troupe go hence for a brief tour in the southern cities, where the ‘Magic Flute’ will be a novelty and Carlotta Patti a special attraction.”