Maretzek Italian Opera: Norma

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
29 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

12 Oct 1863, Evening

Program Details

Ernani was originally scheduled but was replaced by Norma because of Mazzoleni’s illness.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Bellini
Text Author: Romani
Participants:  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Giuseppina Medori (role: Norma);  Henrietta Sulzer (role: Adalgisa);  Hannibal Biachi (role: Oroveso);  Giuseppe Tamaro (role: Pollio)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 09 October 1863, 1.

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 09 October 1863.

" . . . Mme Medori was consigned to substitute Norma for Ernani, which M. Mazzoleni's illness had made impossible. Her success was what it always is in this role where she is unequalled; Mlle Sulzer and Biachi also perfectly earned their success. But the trio itself, accompanied well enough by the improvised Pollione of M. Tamaro, served to dissipate only a little the cloud thrown over the auditorium by the disappointment of the poster that they had found upon entering the hall."

Announcement: New York Post, 10 October 1863, 4.

Verdi’s Ernani is to be performed.  It winds up being replaced by Norma.

Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 10 October 1863.
“The distribution of the roles promises an excellent [evening]. . . . [I]t is to be hoped that there will be no last-minute problems.”
Advertisement: New-York Times, 11 October 1863, 7.

Announces Verdi’s Ernani.

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 11 October 1863.

Announcement: New York Post, 12 October 1863, 2.

Announcement: New-York Times, 12 October 1863, 4.

“To-night Verdi’s ‘Ernani’ will be produced.  This opera was given, it will be remembered, with immense effect last season.”

Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 12 October 1863.

Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 12 October 1863, 8.

Review: New York Herald, 13 October 1863, 3.

“Owing to the continued indisposition of Signor Mazzoleni the opera of ‘Norma’ was substituted last night for the promised ‘Ernani.’ The house was well filled and the performance passed off with great éclat. Signor Tamaro was the Pollio on this occasion, and sang and acted the role most satisfactorily. Mme. Medori is beyond doubt the most effective of Normas. Her acting is the very perfection of the dramatic, while she sings the music admirably. In the second act she created quite a furor; in fact, from the beginning of the opera until its end she was most successful. Mlle. Sulzer (Adelgisa) we have never heard to greater advantage than last evening. Signor Biachi, as Oroveso, had one of his most effective roles. He received constant and well merited applause. Our readers are so familiar with this favorite opera that to attempt any description of its many gems were futile. We will merely state that last night’s performance was certainly a great success.

We have had one week of Opera. As far as the management is concerned we can but award praise to it. Mme. Medori, Miss Kellogg, Mlle. Sulzer and Signor Biachi have done all in their power to win the applause of the public, and have certainly succeeded in their efforts. We have had four operas with brilliant mise en scene, effective choruses and orchestra. The drawbacks have been the hoarseness of Signors Mazzoleni and Bellini. The former is a conscientious artist, but has, perhaps, been imprudent in his habits. He must bear in mind that his position is one of great responsibility, that he has the interests of the management to study, and, above all, the pleasure of the public who have treated him so well. An artist must during an engagement avoid undue exposure, and live as all artists know they should to insure success. Any departure from this rule entails disappointment and loss to all concerned.

Signor Bellini’s indisposition is the rule and not the exception, and we can’t but avow that the public have good cause to complain of the many disappointments endured through him. We hope he may soon entirely recover his voice and lend his aid to the production of operas in which he certainly appears to great advantage.”

Review: New-York Times, 13 October 1863, 4.

Academy of Music.—The opera of ‘Ernani’ was not performed last evening, in consequence of the continued indisposition of Signor Mazzoleni—who was suddenly seized with almost absolute extinction of voice on Saturday night. In its stead Bellini’s ‘Norma’ was given—a work in which the ladies of the company are always heard to the greatest advantage. Mme. Medori sings and acts superbly as the Druidess, and Mlle. Sulzer is thoroughly admirable as Adalgisa. The grand duet in the second act received the best of treatment from these artists, and was rapturously applauded. Signor Biachi, as Oroveso, sang with much spirit, and liberally revealed the wealth of his voice. The tenor part was intrusted hastily to Signor Tamaro, who sang it with taste and discretion. For such a rôle he is more than sufficient. The choruses and orchestra were good.”

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 13 October 1863.

"Contrary to the hopes that we expressed yesterday, M. Mazzoleni found himself in a state unfit to fulfill the promises of the poster. The production had to be changed and Norma substituted for Ernani, M. Tamaro having consented to replace the sick tenor in the role of Pollione.

     That programmatic disappointment caused some people, who came expressly for Verdi's opera, to retrace their steps; but a very good house remained, who in turn didn't lose anything by the exchange. Mme Medori sang with the spirit of an artist who senses that the destiny of the country is in her hands; Mlle Sulzer and Biachi had no less dash, and M. Tamaro completed the excellent quartet. The mishap had been forgotten very quickly and the evening's performance was as animated, as beautiful, as if there hadn't been an ill tenor. . . ."

Review: New York Post, 14 October 1863.

“At the Academy of Music, on Monday, ‘Ernani’ was not performed, in consequence of the continued indisposition of Mazzoleni, and ‘Norma’ was repeated with Signor Tamaro as Pollio, the remainder of the cast being the same as on Saturday. Had the excellence of the performance been anticipated there certainly would not have been a single vacant seat. Still, notwithstanding the disappointment due to the omission of Verdi’s great masterpiece, the audience was large and enthusiastic. Mme. Medori’s Norma, though of course unequal to that of Grisi, is superior to that of almost any other artist we remember to have heard. In vocalization she is free and florid, and her full voice is well adapted to the rôle, although in certain passages, especially in Casta Diva, she appears to be compelled to manage the part with a little circumspection. Her acting was remarkably good.

Mademoiselle Sulzer as Adalgisa achieved a gratifying success. The duet in the second act was beautifully executed, especially in the final passages. Her somewhat exaggerated and too-persistent tremolo is better adapted to this than to some of her other rôles.

Biachi as Orovsso [sic] received merited and repeated applause, and Tamaro sang the part of Pollio with exactitude and exquisite taste.”