Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
Price: $1 all parts of the house
29 August 2018
“Mr. Maretzek has given two performances of ‘Il Trovatore’ at the Academy of Music—the second, on Saturday, being by far the best. The attendance on the last-mentioned occasion was, of course, miserably bad; sympathizing in that respect with the weather, which in a few hours ran through the entire gamut of wintry discomfort, and completely put a veto to locomotion. The audience, however, was a remarkable one, and numbered nearly all the leading musicians and critics in town—classes who don’t usually trouble themselves about morning performances. To these may be added an extremely noisy clique of Cubans, who recorded their satisfaction with the least meritorious parts of the performance by shouting and stamping and raging in a way that at the Bowery Theatre would have led to their instant ejection. It is possible that these persons were actuated by the sincerest regard for art, but it would be well if they were also governed by a decent respect for the habits of the American public, who do not think it necessary to disturb their neighbors in the maniacal expression of individual approbation. Indeed, demonstrations of the kind that were noticeable on Friday evening, and to a less extent on Saturday, are always viewed with suspicion, and afford an easy sneer at the management, entirely unjust—as we know—in this case.
The performance at the matinée confirmed the favorable verdict that was awarded to the company on the previous night. Signor Mazzolini was in admirable voice, and sang with spirit and immense effect. His voice is of a character that improves on acquaintance, being at first a little shrill. We have been accustomed for so long a period to the soft platitudes of tenori di grazia, that the appellant earnestness and volume of the tenore di robusto sounds strange in our ears. When it is remembered that nearly every modern work is written for the latter voice, it will be seen how valuable are the services of Signor Mazzolini, who, to an organ of unusual power and fullness, combines an intelligence that is almost entirely new to us. As an actor, he accomplishes all that a singer should attempt—an easy, graceful and plastic interpretation of the obvious intensities of the rôle, without straining for impossible results. The third and fourth acts of ‘Il Trovatore’ have hardly been made memorable by any other artist. Mme. Medori, whose agitation on the first night resulted in an occasional deflection from the correct intonation, sang on this occasion with remarkable correctness, and demonstrated in the most thorough manner that she is yet capable of renewing her European triumphs. Her voice is of magnificent proportions, and her style is large and eminently dramatic. That she is a conscientious artiste is proved in the third act, where with nothing to do she remains on the scene for the purpose of heightening the tenor’s lyric opportunity—an act of condescension which is seldom performed gracefully. The aria restored in the last act is one of the best numbers in the opera, and is admirably rendered by Mme. Medori.
Signor Bellini, whose indisposition was noticeable on Friday, was unable to sing on this occasion. An apology was made for his absence, and Signor Ypolito assumed his rôle with entire success. Mr. Maretzek is fortunate, indeed, to have two such baritones in his company.”