10 May 2013
“They will interpret some recherché pieces, and with a care which we can only look for in liberal private Societies of this kind. The soloists of the occasion are Mlle. Stella Bonheur (soprano), Mr. Wm. Lotti (tenor) Mr. S.B. Mills, Mr. Cons. Demuth, Mr. Bergner, Mr. Mollenhauer, Mr. Luhde, and Mr. Bergmann.”
Part of a larger article on the success of Faust. “[T]he Arion Society, at their grand vocal and instrumental concert, sang the soldiers’ chorus of the 4th act [of Faust] with immense success. On the same night, too, Mr. S.B. Mills played at the same entertainment Liszt’s famous arrangement of the waltz in the second act.”
“An admirable concert was given by the Arion Society. . . . The programme introduced not merely the fine chorus of the Society, but several soloists and a grand orchestra of fifty players, under the direction of Mr. Carl Bergmann. A young lady vocalist, Mlle. Stella Bonheur, created an exceedingly favorable impression in Ah! Forse e lui, from ‘La Traviata.’ Mr. Wm. Lotti sang the charming romanca from ‘Euryanthe,’ and was deservedly encored. In the piece from Wagner’s ‘Rienzi,’ he was not so successful. It ought to be bawled, not sung. Mr. S.B. Mills played the ‘Faust’ waltz with great effect and brilliancy. Another pianist, Mr. C. Demuth, also performed a movement from Hummel’s concerto, but surcharged it with so many eccentricities of time and expression, that the performance cannot be referred to with applause. The orchestra played a couple of overtures with effect, and wound up with the Rakoczy March. For the rest the members of the Society are responsible. Their best effort was in the Fanfare and Soldier’s [sic] Chorus from ‘Faust,’ and next in the solo and chorus from ‘Rienzi.’ In the latter they avoided the error of Mr. Lotti, to which we have referred. The Hall was well filled, and the concert so much of a success that more than half the pieces had to be repeated.”
“The ‘Goethe March’ was not played, which was to be regretted, as it is a very fine composition, and seldom heard.
The vocal performances were very creditable to the Arion Society. We should have preferred music of more depth and real artistic value than that offered on this occasion, by Kucken, Abt, Gounod. The latter’s ‘Soldiers’ Chorus,’ from ‘Faust,’ sounded, in the concert-room, even more vulgar than on the stage. We are afraid that most of the music in this opera would lose much of its charm when unaided by the display of the stage.
The Arion Society ought to give a good example, with regard to the music it performs in its concerts. It possesses a great number of very intelligent members, who are well able to promote the taste for good quartet music, by performing the compositions of writers like Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and others. The milk-and-water style of Abt and Kucken may do for the great number of societies which have no other ambition but to satisfy their thirst for lager with a little music of the same strength; but the Arion ought to look a little higher, especially as it enjoys the able leadership of Mr. Carl Bergman. It may be said that the concerts will not draw unless presenting music of a light character. But as the concerts never pay, whether with the best or the worst programme, it seems to us much more satisfactory to suffer the loss on the field of high than of very low art.
The other pieces of the programme do not require a special notice, with the exception of the ‘Romance,’ from ‘Euryanthe,’ sung by Mr. William Lotti. We understand that the whole opera will be performed by the German opera. This is a good service done towards establishing the source from which the so-called music of the future, as represented in opera, derives its laurels. Perhaps, if people become acquainted with the fact, that Weber indulged occasionally as heartily in this music as any of his followers, they will be more charitable towards the present representatives of this school.In conclusion, we must say that M’lle. Stella Bonheur has a good voice, which, with judicious training, will undoubtedly give satisfactory results.”