Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
29 August 2018
“Yesterday was essentially given up to old Tempest. It rained from morning till night, and the night, not to shame the day, contiued to be as wet and miserable. Still there were people courageous enough to attend last evening's performance atthe Academy of Music. We cannot say that there was a large audience, compared with the ususal standard; but in consideration of the detestable weather we are bourne out in the assertion that the audience was immense.
There was great attraction at the Opera House. Donizetti's most popular work, 'Lucrezia Borgia,' was to be sung by the Maretzek troupe, and in this opera they are vastly successfu; while, to give the affair a spice of novelty, Mme. Virginia Lorini was to assume the role of the Duchess, which but a few nights since was sung by Mme. Medori. Those present were amply repaid for having braved the storm by the enjoyoment of as fine a performance of Donizetti’s chef-d’oeuvre as could be listened to. The artists were, with an exception or two in excellent voice, and seemed inspired to unusual exertions from a desire to reward their audience for a display of great devotion to music.
The principal roles in the opera were sung last evening most admirably by Mme. Lorini as Lucrezia, Mlle. Sulzer as Orsini, Mazzoleni as Gennaro, and Biachi as Duke Alfonso; but, as on the occasion of the first performance of this opera this season, the secondary roles, which are usually sung by inferior artists, were rendered by Signors Lotti, Bellini, Yppolito and Coletti. Of course the ensemble of the opera was all the more satisfactory. In the introduction and in the finale of the first act all these fine voices were admirably blended, making the performance a great success.
Madame Lorini, who was in splendid voice, sang the aria ‘Come E Bello’ with so much taste and superior execution as to rouse the audience to enthusiastic applause. . . . [She has a] pure, sweet and admirably cultivated voice. In the duo between Gennaro (mazzoleni) and Lucrezia the actors achieved a signal success. We have not space to notice at length the really fine peformance of Madame Lorini, and can but add that we feel assured the music of “Lucrezia” was never more satisfactorily sung than by this artiste, whose pure, sweet and admirably cultivated voice was never heard to greater advantage than last evening. Madame Lorini acted with spirit, and looked extremely well in the gorgeous robes of the Borgia. With feelings of unusual satisfaction we record the triumph of this American prima donna in a role so recently sung by European artists deemed at the height of their profession. Without establishing any comparison, we assert that Madame Lorini’s performance was equal to any previous effort in this opera as sung here.
Mlle. Sulzer seemed out of sorts last evening, though she sang the ‘Brindisi’ with success.
Signor Mazzoleni was in excellent voice, and sang and acted with his usual grace and effect. In the celebrated trio between the Duke, Duchess and Gennaro, he sang the ‘Madre mei’ with great expression and sentiment. This trio was by the way, most admirably rendered by Mme. Lorini, Mazzoleni and Biachi, and was encored amid continued applause. The artists were called and bouquets thrown upon the stage. The performance was really so fine as to warrant this display of enthusiasm on the part of the audience.
'Lucrezia Borgia,' as sung last evening, would prove an irresistible attraction to our habitues of the Academy, and we hope that Maretzek will give us the opera, with Mme. Lorini in the principal role, before he ends this season. We should add that last evening the mise en scene, choruses and orchestra were most effective, and the whole performance a great and well merited success.”
Lorini “made her first appearance here for the season . . . with immense success. . . .
Mme. Lorini is beyond doubt a most accomplished artist. Her voice is fresh and pure and cultivated to the highest degree. She vocalizes with a nicety and precision of execution such as are seldom equaled, and has as extended a repertoire as any of the most celebrated European artists. As a proof of this may be cited the act [sic] that Mme. Lorini sang last season, while the prima donna of Mr. Grau’s troupe, twenty different operas in as many nights—a musical feat of no small importance, and proving beyond a doubt the great capability of the artist. We dwell with pleasure upon these facts, because Mme. Lorini is an American artist, who has by careful study so cultivated the great talent as to assume by right a front rank in her profession. She has sung with success in Europe, and has thus added to the prestige gained by American art abroad.”
“On Saturday, Mr. Maretzek gave an extra performance. The pluvial Deities and a few Jews were on hand. A stockholder was also seen turning the corner, but after stepping carefully into a deep puddle, he recovered his presence of mind and went home. The house under these circumstances did not look cheerful. An odor of umbrella pervaded it, and the applause sounded drummy and unnatural. There is generally a great deal of enthusiasm on rainy nights, owing, perhaps, to the umbrellas, which are handy for the purpose. It was entirely merited on Saturday. The performance had several points of great excellence, notably the Lucrezia Borgia of Mme. Virginia Lorini. When this fine artist came out last season we took many occasions of referring to her merits. We can safely repeat everything which we then said in the lady’s favor. Not only is she the first dramatic artist (lyric-tragedienne is the cant word) America has yet produced, but she ranks favorably with the best that are now before the public in any part of the world. Her style is large, her voice fresh and expressive, her method true and finished. In a word, she sings well, and with the effect of a true artist. Why opera-managers should ransack Europe for singers, when the home-market supplies so admirable an article, surpasses our comprehension. We have not had many prima donnas who have surpassed Mme. Virginia Lorini in this character. It was a fine impersonation equally meritorious in a musical or dramatic point of view.
Signor Mazzoleni was heard to advantage as Genaro [sic]. Mlle. Sulzer was the Orsini, and contrived, by interpolating a series of vapid flourishes, to utterly spoil the Brindisi in the last act.”