Aimée Opera Bouffe: Fleur de Thé

Event Information

Lina Edwin's Theatre

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
16 October 2023

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

26 Oct 1871, 8:00 PM
27 Oct 1871, 8:00 PM
28 Oct 1871, 2:00 PM
28 Oct 1871, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Fleur de the
Composer(s): Lecocq
Participants:  Aimée Opera Bouffe Company;  Monsieur [tenor] Edgard (role: Kaolin);  Monsieur [baritone] Duchesne (role: Tien-Tien);  Marie Aimée (role: Cesarini);  Fernand [tenor] Noe (role: Pinsonnet)


Announcement: New-York Times, 26 October 1871, 6.
Review: New York Herald, 27 October 1871, 10.

“Mlle Aimée brought out this sparkling opera by Lecocq last night before a good sized audience. It was rather a venturesome task for her to produce a work that requires more in the way of mise en scene and appointments than many of Offenbach’s operas, and especially as Grau, at its first production at the Théâtre Français, was lavish to the last degree in every detail connected with it. Mlle. Aimée deserves to be congratulated on the success of the opera, and the hearty applause which was bestowed upon it which was an evidence of the appreciation of the audience. Her impersonation of the jealous Cesarini was inimitable, and she lighted up the entire opera by the brilliancy of her acting and her artistic rendering of the music. Duchesne and Edgard developed all the humor that is in the rôles of the Mandarin Tien-Tien and Kaolin. The voice of the former is very different now from what it was when he first came here with Tostée; yet he manages to get over his music respectably. Mr. Noe, the tenor, who undertook the part of Pinsonnet, is the least artistic in the company. As an actor and singer his claims for distinction are based upon very weak grounds. The same may be said of the lady that represented Fleur de Thé. With these exceptions the performance was very creditable, and the chorus and orchestra, small as they are, gave evidence of careful rehearsal. Opéra bouffe is far more enjoyable at a handsome little theatre like this than in a large opera house, where many of the best points in an opera are lost to the greater part of the audience.”

Review: New York Post, 27 October 1871, 2.

“Mlle. Aimée last night appeared at Lina Edwin’s theatre in the new operetta ’Fleur de Thé,’ which takes the place of ‘Périchole,’ withdrawn after a long and successful run. Mlle. Aimée is a clever vocalist, or rather a very thorough artist. Her voice is a little thin, with the peculiar French quality of tone so often noticed in the singers of opera bouffe, and she often uses it with that singular ventriloquistic and guttural delivery which seems inseparable from this line of music. But she executes with charming ease and taste, and often, as in the famous ‘letter aria’ of ‘Périchole’ with great feeling. As a comic actress Mlle. Aimée seems to us unsurpassed, is perhaps unequalled by any cantatrice on our American stage. She often carries audacity and breadth of delineation to the utmost verge, but always with a certain discrimination, even in license, and with a mischievous and jovial grace which goes far to make us pardon her naughtiness, and pleases the merely artistic discrimination, while it somewhat startles our severer morality.

She is amazingly droll and clever both in ‘Périchole’ and the new operetta—of which we hope to speak further hereafter—and is only seconded by M. Julien, a pleasing actor and singer, and by that prince of comics, Edgard. Why can’t these available talents be utilized in some department of art at which we can smile without the protecting shade of fan or playbill?”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 27 October 1871, 7.
Review: New-York Times, 27 October 1871, 5.

“Lina Edwin’s Theatre was filled, last evening, by a very fashionable audience, gathered to enjoy the promised representation of ‘Fleur de Thé.’ The anticipated pleasure was generously supplied. ‘Fleur de Thé’ is, in respect of the score, one of the choicest buffo operas of the day. It is full of melody of a singularly elegant turn; its numbers are orchestrated with infinite taste; and its incidents make up a story told with sufficient cleverness to bear public recapitulation without the music. Mlle. Aimée and her company place the merits of the work in the strongest light. Though much has been written concerning Mlle. Aimée, her well-controlled voice, her neat vocal execution, and her consummate skill as an actress suggest, from the stage of Lina Edwin’s Theatre, far higher commendation. For the first time in this country, opera-bouffe has a setting in accord with its requirements. And the finesse of M. Lecocq’s writing, of all compositions of the same order, derives especial advantage from its appropriate framing. Its attractiveness, as implied above, was thoroughly shown last night. Mlle. Aimée, as a cantinière of a French man-of- war, bringing Parisian modes and manners into China; M. Fernand Noe as Pinsonnet, a husband astray among Celestial beauties; M. Duchesne, a most comical chief of the Pekin Police, and M. Edgard, in the garb of a Chinese dignitary, were all at their best, and for almost three hours kept their hearers in a continuous state of merriment. Plenty encores were included in the applause; and the four salient pieces in the opera, that is to say, Mlle. Aimée’s tuneful song in the second act; the beautiful air ‘Césarine, à mes voeux docile,’ which would not be discordant in a composition of much greater pretensions; the droll duo in the third, and the spirited drinking-song introducing the last finale, were all redemanded. Mlle. Aimée, who is the directress of the theatre as well as its most potent attraction, is to be thanked, not only for the fresh and appropriate scenery Mr. Calyo’s facile brush has provided. The costumes are new and brilliant, and the impression of the recital of ‘Fleur de Thé,’ and of its illustrations, was so favorable, yesterday, that we can lay no claims to a reputation for prophesy when we predict that it will have a long run.”

Review: New York Sun, 28 October 1871, 3.

“On Thursday night Charles Lecocq’s bright and amusing opera, ‘Fleur de Thé,’ was brought out at Lina Edwin’s Theatre. The representation was an unusually good one. Lecocq’s music has something of the Offenbach savor. His melodies are not so catching and do not remain in the memory like the Franco-German’s, but he is a very effective composer and his ensemble pieces are especially well contrived. It is difficult to say whether the wit or the indelicacy of ‘Fleur de Thé’ is in the larger proportion. There is plenty of both, and they are almost interchangeable. The wit is flavored with indelicacy, and the indelicacy is bountifully spiced and almost excused by the wit. Few operas have such a bright and entertaining libretto or one affording such laughable situations. Mlle. Aimée is the heroine and she finds excellent support in M. Noe, the pleasant tenor of the company; Duchesne, who made himself so famous formerly as General Boum in the ‘Grand Duchesse,’ and Mr. Edgard, a comic actor of extraordinary ability. The buffoonery of the actor last named is of the most extravagant, grotesque, and droll character, and yet all his effective by-play is accompanied with the quiet ease that always accompanies the best acting. The opera has been carefully prepared, both in respect of scenery and costume. The Chinese dresses are very effective, and give a quaint character to the opera.

Those who go to the theatre for the good morals that the play inculcates, will hardly find their account in hearing ‘Fleur de Thé;’ but those who go to be amused and let the morals take care of themselves, will certainly find it a most diverting opera, and one that is very well performed.”