Event Information

Steinway Hall

Carl Bergmann

Price: $1; $.50 for reserved seat

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
18 August 2023

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

13 Apr 1871, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Diebische Elster, Die; Thieving magpie
Composer(s): Rossini
Composer(s): Weber
aka Dearest name
Composer(s): Verdi
Participants:  Cassie Renz
Composer(s): Venzano
Participants:  Cassie Renz
aka Rigoletto, quartet
Composer(s): Verdi
Composer(s): Iradier
Participants:  Adelaide Phillips
aka Laughing song
Composer(s): Bendelari
Participants:  Adelaide Phillips
Composer(s): Unknown composer
Participants:  Giuseppe Leoni
aka Madamina; Catalog aria
Composer(s): Mozart
Participants:  Giorgio Ronconi


Advertisement: New-York Times, 10 April 1871, 7.
Announcement: New-York Times, 12 April 1871, 4.
Announcement: New York Post, 13 April 1871, 2.
Review: New York Herald, 14 April 1871, 3.

“That rents are and have been long high is a fact that admits of no discussion; but we doubt if ever before in this city they were known to reach G sharp in alt until the young lady whose name heads this notice demonstrated the fact to a large audience at Steinway’s last night. She is a very promising young artiste, and one that, with the necessary experience, is bound to make her mark in her profession. Her voice is of that light, birdlike quality and flexible nature peculiar to a large class of American soprani; but it is also lacking in power, expression and breadth, and finds it difficult to sustain a note of any ordinary length. It was a very forced and inartistic method adopted by her friends to advertise her voice on the bills by mentioning in notes that she sings G sharp in alt, and it would have been more judicious to have based her claims as an artist on something more substantial than a fugitive note, a mere trick of this kind. The debutante sang the ‘Caro nome ,’ from ‘Rigoletto,’ the Venzano waltz, in a couple of duets and in the immortal ‘Rigoletto’ quartet. She was assisted by Adelaide Phillips, the queen of contraltos; Leoni, an excellent young tenor, and the veteran Ronconi. A small orchestra, under Bergmann’s baton, supplied the instrumental music.”

Review: New York Post, 14 April 1871, 2.

“The fact that a vocalist can reach an exceptionally high note has very little to do with real art; but it is at least gratifying to find that the claim, such as it is, can be sustained by the results. Miss Cassie Renz, the new American soprano, at her concert at Steinway Hall last night, sang the G sharp in alt, with exquisite purity of tone and without any apparent straining or undue effort. The aria was otherwise charmingly sung and warmly applauded. Besides this the debutante sang the brilliant ‘Venzano Waltz,’ and the ballads ‘Five O’clock in the Morning’ and ‘Come in, and Shut the Door,’ and took part in duets from Verdi’s ‘Masnadieri’ and Donizetti’s ‘L’Elisir d’Amore.’

Miss Renz has a clear, pure soprano, rich and limpid, and trained to a higher degree of cultivation than is customary with young artists when they first make their appearance before an audience. Her execution is facile, her trills are remarkably fine, and her appreciation of the sentiment of the music she interprets is intelligent and satisfactory. Her style of voice obviously fits her best for bravura singing and for light opera. In the graceful buffo duet from ‘L’Elisir’ she appeared to better advantage than in the more passionate and sensuous music of the Verdi duet. Yet in everything she showed great natural aptitude, enhanced by careful training. When, as in this case, to these qualities are added rare personal gifts, it can readily be supposed that a successful musical artist has suddenly come before the public in Miss Cassie Renz.

The concert was otherwise most agreeable. Miss Adelaide Phillips sang with her usual artistic finish the aria ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ of Handel, and a sprightly characteristic Spanish song. Her rich voice and broad, masterly style were warmly appreciated by the audience. Signors Ronconi and Leoni sang acceptably, and an orchestra, led by Bergmann, played the overtures to ‘Gazza Ladra’ and ‘Oberon,’ besides furnishing the accompaniments.” 

Review: New-York Times, 14 April 1871, 4.

“Miss Cassie Renz made an exceedingly favorable impression on the occasion of her first concert, at Steinway Hall, last evening. Of the numerous debuts which have occurred during the past few seasons, we cannot now recall a single one whereof the promise was equally good. Miss Renz has a fresh soprano voice, a trifle throaty in the lower notes, but well rounded and strong in the upper register, and of much natural flexibility; a tuneable ear, and youth and a pleasing presence. These are gifts warranting an early exhibition, though their possession must not allow their owner to rest content with the satisfactory result of a first display. Surety and facility of execution are consequent upon well-directed and persevering study only. The advantages of so fair a start as can be made with an excellent organ will, we trust, nerve the singer to profit by them in the right manner. The range of Miss Renz’s voice above the ordinary limits is already a subject of wonderment. Taking the sounds partially from the head and partially from the throat, it ascends to the G sharp in altissimo. The notes are pure and sweet as the harmonic utterances of the violin, and are nearly as homogeneous with the most elevated chest-register as these harmonies are with the notes of the stopped strings. We mention this fact as subsidiary to the information concerning the lady’s more substantial qualities; but it is nonetheless a very remarkable one, and the entertainment which supplied an opportunity to record it lost nothing by being novel, as well as generally interesting. The attainment to the high notes was accomplished, yesterday, in a cadenza to the air ‘Caro Nome,’ from ‘Rigoletto,’ and after a trill on E and F sharp, G sharp, B, E and the G sharp above were given with perfect ease and clearness. It is unnecessary to add that hearty applause followed. Miss Renz’s singing in itself afforded much pleasure. It is not, as implied already, the finished work of the artist, but it is thoroughly creditable and shows resources that only require development to enable the lady to claim a place in the foremost rank of songstresses. She delivered, beside ‘Caro Nome,’ Venzamo’s waltz, and she sang in two duets—one from ‘I Masnadieri,’ and the other from ‘L’Elisire d’Amore’—and in the quartet from ‘Rigoletto,’ recalls treading upon each performance. The long and unmistakably Verdian duet commencing ‘Qual Mare,’ calls for more powerful voices than those of Miss Renz and Signor Leoni, but Donizetti’s composition was very prettily recited by the lady, while the buffo’s share was contributed with immense humor by Signor Ronconi, who also did the ‘Mille a Tre’ business. Miss Adelaide Phillips was heard in ‘Lascia ch’io Pianga,’ by Handel, and in a characteristic Spanish song by Yradier, both numbers being rendered with the sentiment and precision indicative of a great but worn artist. Signor Leoni sang ‘Le Cantique de Noel,’ with marked effect. We are sorry to say that this gentleman, aided and abetted by Signor Ronconi, utterly ruined, by false singing, the superb quartet from ‘Rigoletto,’ with which the affair terminated. We must not neglect to remark, before ending this notice, that a capital orchestra, under Mr. Bergmann’s baton, was in attendance, and that it will co-operate in the second and last concert to be given by Miss Renz on Saturday.” 

Review: New York Sun, 15 April 1871, 2.

“Among the numberless unsuccessful or half-successful first appearances which the annals of any musical season are sure to record, it is delightful to find one where the critic can praise with an easy conscience, and where his hearty enjoyment in the concert room may find ready and sincere expression in the printed word. Such a one was the concert of Thursday night at Steinway’s. The debutante, Miss Cassie Renz, comes to us from Philadelphia with the reputation of possessing a voice of singing compass; and the fact that she is a favorite scholar of the well-known professor Signor Bendelari gives her a claim beforehand on our respectful attention. Her voice is, in fact, of remarkable range, and of a singularly pure, silvery, and vibratory quality, which in some notes is very penetrating—we had almost said incisive. As might be supposed, it is not remarkable for fullness or power in the lower register, though part of this deficiency is doubtless ascribable to inexperience and lack of that training which only long practice can give in bringing out and developing these less evident resources of the voice. Her execution is neat, delicate, and tasteful. Its most noticeable fault is a tendency to lay over-stress on emphasized notes, to the consequent neglect of the non-accented, which she sometimes sings so faintly so to be difficultly audible. But in the main, the purity of her delivery, and the clearness and simplicity of her method, with the grace and facility of her fioratura and her archness and dramatic vivacity of expression, unite to give promise in Miss Renz of a very accomplished and brilliant concert singer. It remains for time to show whether her voice possesses the strength and endurance required in the operatic stage, for which, if we may judge from her appearance, her temperament and manner would decidedly fit her.

The principal numbers in her performance were the ‘Caro nome,’ from ‘Rigoletto’ (in which she touched, very briefly and lightly, but still unmistakably G sharp an octave above the staff), the duet ‘Quanto Amore,’ from the ‘Elisire,’ and the brilliant ‘Valse’ of Venzano. In the latter she had occasion to display more thoroughly than in any of the others her rapid and brilliant execution, and was rapturously applauded. As an encore to this, as to the ‘Caro nome,’ she sang a pleasant and humorous little English ballad in a very graceful, playful way.

Miss Phillips was in splendid voice. The noble richness and fullness of her superb organ has lost none of its fascination. Compared with its depth of tone the sweetest soprano seems pale and thin. Tradier’s [sic] wicked but fascinating little chansonette, ‘Maria Dolores,’ was given by her with all her well-known vivacious humor; and as an encore she sang her favorite ‘Laughing Song,’ by Bendelari, with infectious influence on the risible muscles of the audience.

Sig. Ronconi’s comic recitative in the duo from ‘Elisire,’ and his broad humor in the ‘Madamina’ were as racy as usual; and Sig. Leoni’s singing in the ‘Cantique de Noel’ and in the final quartet from ‘Rigoletto’ was a valuable element in the performance.”

Announcement: Dwight's Journal of Music, 22 April 1871, 16.
Review: New York Clipper, 22 April 1871, 22.

“The concert was not very fully attended, but the musical selections were good and well sung, and in that respect was a success. Miss Renz’s merits as a songstress lay chiefly in her sweetness of melody, rather than in volume of tone, which, however, will, no doubt, be developed by practice and experience. In her duet with Signor Leoni, in ‘Qual Mare’ by Verdi, she was most pleasing, and in a quartet, from ‘Rigoletto,’ Miss Renz, Miss Phillips, and Leoni and Ronconi, gave a brief musical [illegible] that was highly appreciated.”