Maretzek Italian Opera: Faust

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
29 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

30 Dec 1863, Evening

Program Details

Closing Night of the Preliminary Season.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Gounod
Text Author: Barbier, Carré
Participants:  Arion Männergesangverein;  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Fernando [bass-baritone] Bellini (role: Valentine);  Henrietta Sulzer (role: Siebel);  Francesco Mazzoleni (role: Faust);  Hannibal Biachi (role: Mephistopheles);  Fanny Stockton (role: Martha);  Domenico Coletti (role: Wagner);  Clara Louise Kellogg (role: Margherita)


Advertisement: New-York Times, 19 December 1863, 9.

Announcement: New York Herald, 28 December 1863, 4.

“On Wednesday we shall have Gounod’s Faust, an opera in which these artists are immensely successful.”

Announcement: New York Post, 29 December 1863, 2.
“Faust will be given as the closing opera of the present series of representation.”
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 29 December 1863.

Announcement: New York Post, 30 December 1863, 2.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 30 December 1863, 7.

Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 30 December 1863.

Review: New York Post, 31 December 1863, 2.
 “Maretzek’s final evening was distinguished by one of the most brilliant and crowded audiences of the season.  Indeed, we do not know when we have seen the Academy more resplendent with fine toilettes and beautiful faces.  Every seat was occupied, and there was even little standing room left.  The overflowing house, too, seems to have inspired the performers.  Most of the pieces were so well rendered as to produce irresistible encores, and even the chorus came in for a vehement share of applause.  As on the previous nights, however, Miss Kellogg, to whom the character as well as the music of the part of Margherita is admirably adapted, carried away the principal honors.  Her sweet, soft voice, and the exquisite grace and delicacy of her acting, particularly in the garden scene of the third act, excited the admiration of the audience to enthusiasm.  Nothing she has done on the stage equals her performance in that part.  Biachi as Mephistopheles was also warmly applauded, and, in fact, the whole opera was excellently cast and played.”

Review: New-York Times, 31 December 1863, 4.
Academy of Music.--The closing night of the opera gave us a performance of many encores and of such hearty appreciation and comely enjoyment, that everyone regretted that it was not the first representation of a season instead of the last. That ‘Faust’ is destined to become the most popular opera of the modern Italian repertoire, is indicated in the increasing murmur of applause which is heard in all art circles, and prefigured in every performance by fresh points of public approbation. The encores last night ‘broke out’ in new places. Perhaps that was owing to a very manifest disposition to encore everything--a disposition which was only regulated by the stubborn determination of Mr. Maretzek to bring the performance to an end, and go to Boston. On the first night, it will be remembered, many of the best morceaux were passed over in silence.  The change from then to now is noticeable as an indication of a decided familiarity with the music on the part of the public; for the public, rank and file, was represented last night. And as this familiarity increases so will the popularity of the opera. If the cruel exigency of losing money--without which operatic management would be a sham and an imposition--did not compel Mr. Maretzek to travel to Boston, he might, we are persuaded, play ‘Faust’ here for a considerable season, and with profitable and otherwise astounding results to the exchequer.
The cast being as heretofore, we have nothing to say of it, except that it was ample for the full illustration of the work. there was one choral change. The members of the ‘Arion Society’ assisted in the famous ‘Soldiers’ Chorus’ of the fourth act, and gave to it a fullness and martial vigor which otherwise it could not have manifested. The public owes many of its best stentorian surprises to this always-ready and liberal company of amateurs. We are glad to find that they are governed by no narrow prejudices, but that they proffer their services to the Italian as well as to the German opera, and so do a good turn for music all round.
The orchestra, under Mr. Maretzek, was all that could be desired. It is always more than ought to be expected considering the paltry price of admission. On Monday the company commences in Boston.”
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 31 December 1863, 8.

Sold out event.  "One of the best performances ever given in the Academy of Music.  Many of the main numbers were enthusiastically applauded, including the soldiers’ chorus in the fourth act, performed excellently by the Arion Choir.  Apart from the skillful performance of the Arion Choir, we would also like to praise it for performing with the Italian Opera.  This fact shows its non-partisan attitude towards art, not limiting its participation to German events.  The German audience had long recognized that; yesterday, the American audience had a chance to experience it, which led to enthusiastic applause."

Review: Musical Review and World, 02 January 1864, 8.
“The Italians gave a few performances at the Academy of Music with but limited success.  Most likely on account of the holidays, the house was but moderately filled.  ‘Faust’ was given twice, and we must say, the artists did well.  Signor Biachi and Miss Kellogg, in their respective parts, cannot be found better on any stage.”