Maretzek Italian Opera: Norma

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Max Maretzek

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
29 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

08 Feb 1864, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Bellini
Text Author: Romani
Participants:  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Hannibal Biachi (role: Oroveso);  Giuseppina Medori (role: The Priestess);  Henrietta Sulzer (role: Adalgisa);  Francesco Mazzoleni (role: Pollio)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 06 February 1864.

Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 06 February 1864.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 07 February 1864.

Announcement: New York Post, 08 February 1864.

“It is now ‘a vexed question’ whether or not the Academy of Music shall be open every night for opera, as was the case during the recent Maretzek season in Boston.  The success which attended the extra performances last week, and the fact that the management, in retaining the old prices of admission, needs more frequent performances in order to pay expenses, will probably lead to arrangements by which the Academy of Music will, like the theatres, be open to the public every evening.  The company—especially with the impending addition of Brignoli, who will soon appear in “Trovatore”—will be quite large enough to give nightly performances without undue fatigue to the singers.  At the same time, should such an enterprise be successful, it will prove New York to be the most musical city in the world, for of none of the European cities, excepting perhaps, Milan, is opera given every night.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 08 February 1864, 7.
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 08 February 1864.

Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 08 February 1864.

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 08 February 1864.

Review: New York Herald, 09 February 1864, 4.

“Norma, sung by the Maretzek troupe, must ever prove an irresistible attraction to the lovers of music. Mme. Medori as the priestess is exceedingly dramatic; in fact her success in the role depends as much upon her acting as upon her spirited singing of the music. She was very successful throughout the opera, and received much applause. Signor Mazzoleni displays a vast amount of good sense in undertaking the role of Pollio, usually shirked by first tenors. Considered a secondary part by so many, this artist by his talent renders it very prominent, and achieves quite a triumph each time the opera is sung. He sings and acts with so much grace and spirit as to share with Mme. Medori the honors of the performances. Signor Biachi as Oroveso is also very successful, and deservedly shares the applause so liberally bestowed upon the artists by the well pleased audience, which, by the way, was immense—the fashionable display being greater than ever.”

Review: New York Post, 09 February 1864.

“‘Norma’ was given last night to a highly fashionable audience, which rewarded all the best points with hearty applause. The gem of the performance was the duet Quel cor tradisti, in which both Medori and Mazzoleni vied with each other in exquisite expression of sentiment and passion. Sulzer’s voice told well in the low passages introduced for her benefit in Adalgisa’s music, but she made some puerale [sic] variations of the text which were by no means improvements. We also fail to see any reason for Adalgisa to address words to Norma and gestures to the audience. In the familiar duet Mira Norma, Miss Sulzer, though praying to the priestess to listen to her children, stretches her arms imploringly towards the auditorium and bestows appealing glances upon the first violinist in the orchestra, thus hypothetically investing that worthy individual with the proprietorship of the kneeling infants. It is customary excepting upon the stage, to look at the person whom you are addressing.”

Review: New-York Times, 09 February 1864, 4.

“[A]nother brilliant audience.  Mr. Maretzek’s artist seem to have rejuvenated this popular work.  Since its production last Spring, it has been one of the favorites of the repertoire.  The distribution is in all respects admirable.  Medori infuses great dramatic power into the rôle of the Druidess, and sings the music with admirable knowledge and command of her own ample resources.  Mlle. Sulzer as Adalgisa, is seen to the greatest advantage.  The male part of the distribution is remarkably strong, and leaves nothing to be desired.  Both Signor Mazzoleni as Pollio, and Signor Biachi as Oroveso, are capital.

            The performance, last night, passed off with the usual demonstrations of applause.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 13 February 1864.

“Max Maretzek’s Italian Opera Troupe filled up the entire week at the Academy, giving six operatic performances to pretty good business.  He will run the show another week, skipping Ash Wednesday and Thursday.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 15 February 1864.

Brief mention in an overall review of the week.  “[A]n excellent succession of houses during the past week.  One old and very superior opera was given, Norma: a character which dramatically Madame Medori excels in; and discreetly draws the line between rage and tenderness.”

Review: Musical Review and World, 27 February 1864, 71.

“The Italian Opera at the Academy of Music is doing a good business. ‘Faust’ and ‘Norma’ seem to be appreciated most by the public. Signor Brignoli was welcomed with the usual eclat. Siebel (in Faust) and Mephisto have at last come to good terms, at least as far as appearances go, for the papers inform us, that Signor Biachi was married to Miss Suzler before Mayor Gunther.”