16 May 2016
“The coming season promises to be a memorable one so far as music is concerned. We shall have at least two opera companies; Italian, under Mr. Maretzek, and German, under Mr. Anschutz. It is probable, too, that Mr. Grau, who is in Europe engaging artists, will make an occasional raid into the Metropolis. It is of course absolutely essential to his success in the provinces that he should introduce his artists here. Where he will succeed in doing this is of course a mystery. All the theatres are engaged, and the Academy of Music, we presume, out of the question—Messrs. Maretzek and Anschutz occupying it in succession until far into the Spring. Nevertheless, it may be safely predicted that if Mr. Grau wishes to play here, he will find the means for doing so. There’s a sweet little cherub sits smiling [sic] aloft that keeps watch o’er the luck of poor Grau.
The advantages of having thoroughly informed musicians at the head of operatic matters, will be strikingly demonstrated in the excellence, not only of the leading artists, but also of those generally slighted auxiliaries the orchestra and chorus. Both Mr. Maretzek and Mr. Anschutz are already at work with their chorusses [sic]. We had the pleasure on Friday of attending a choral rehearsal of the music of ‘Euryanthe,’ under Mr. Anschutz’s direction, and were completely astonished and charmed with the precision and power that have already been attained in that difficult music. The chorus, to be sure, is a picked one—the voices being uniformly good and thoroughly experienced. Mr. Maretzek’s Italian chorus will be somewhat stronger than usual, and will embrace a number of new voices, trained by the impresario for the purpose of invigorating the old ones. Mr. Maretzek’s season commences on the 5th of October, and will open with Meyerbeer’s grand opera of ‘Robert le Diable.’ The cast will include the names of Medori, Sulzer, Mazzoleni, Bellini, Biachi, &c. New scenery and costumes have been prepared for the work, which, there is no doubt, will be received with furore. Mr. Maretzek’s orchestra will, we hope, be brought up to the best standard, numerically, of last season, although, without raising the prices of admission, it is difficult to see how the greatly increased demands of orchestral players and chorus singers can be met. But on this subject Mr. Maretzek is inflexible. He believes in dead losses, and is always satisfied with a season if he finds himself tolerably ‘hard up’ at the end of it. We are glad to be able to state that the private-boxes of the Academy will not be let to subscribers for more than twelve nights at a time. The rule was somewhat infringed last season, and a good deal of dissatisfaction occasioned thereby. The number of boxes is so limited that the manager is bound to exercise the greatest caution in avoiding anything that may savor of favorttism [sic] or preference. They were in such demand last season that extravagant premiums were often paid for them. And here we may mention that many ingenious alterations and desirable improvements have been effected in the Academy of Music, both before and behind the curtain. The private boxes and the entire sweep of the first tier have been especially benefitted. There were, it will be remembered, several extremely annoying entrances and passages running between and intersecting the first and second rows of loges. On crowded evenings these were a source of great vexation to the occupants of the boxes, inasmuch as they were invariably filled with the overflow of the parquet. They have been removed and the space thrown into the adjoining boxes. The heavy pillars that support the various tiers have been trimmed and reduced so considerably in their proportions that they are no longer an obstruction to the sight. Hence there is a clear view of the stage from every part of the first circle, and by these alterations a gain of fifty or sixty arm-chairs is also expected. The alterations on the stage are of a practical kind, and affect mainly the working of the machinery and scenery. Mme. Medori will arrive by the next Cunard steamer at Boston. Mr. Anschutz’s artists are to leave Hamburg by the steamer of the 5th September. His season will commence some time in November, and will open with Gourrod’s [sic] opera of ‘Faust and Marguerite,’ which we hear will also be given in Italian by Mr. Maretzek. The choruses of this work are already in rehearsal. Additional novelties in Mr. Anschutz’s repertoire are ‘Euryanthe,’ by Weber; the ‘Templar and the Jewess,’ by Marschner; ‘Hans Heiling,’ by Marschner; ‘Indra,’ by Flotow; the ‘Wassertrager,’ by Cherubini; ‘Jessondra,’ by Spohr; ‘Gustavus,’ by Auber; ‘Der Waffenschmidt (the Armorer,) by Lortzing; ‘La Dame Blanche,’ by Boildieu; the ‘Adlers Horst’ (Eagle’s Nest,) by Glaser; and ‘Orphee and Euper,’ by Offenbach. This is certainly a tremendous programme, and if the singers are only of the right class—as we have every reason to believe they will be—we may look forward to a brilliant season of German opera. Mr. Anschutz has engaged one of the best scenic artists of Germany to paint the necessary scenery for these works.”