Maretzek Italian Opera: Faust – Opening Night of Season

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)

28 Mar 1864, Evening

Program Details

Opening night of the season.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Participants:  Arion Männergesangverein;  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Fanny Stockton (role: Martha);  Clara Louise Kellogg (role: Margherita);  Fernando [bass-baritone] Bellini (role: Valentin);  Henrietta Sulzer (role: Seibel);  Francesco Mazzoleni (role: Faust);  Joseph Hermanns (role: Mephistopheles);  Wilhelm [baritone] Müller (role: Wagner)
Composer(s): Gounod
Text Author: Barbier, Carré


Announcement: New York Post, 14 March 1864, 2.
“The Coming Opera Season, to commence on Easter Monday, will involve the services of the largest company Maretzek has ever brought together—of two companies, in fact, both of which will use their endeavors to full gratify the public mania for ‘Faust.’”
Advertisement: New-York Times, 14 March 1864, 7.

Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 14 March 1864.

Announcement: New-York Times, 24 March 1864, 4.
“Maretzek’s Boston season will close on Saturday next, and on the following Monday the impresario opens at our Academy.”
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 24 March 1864, 6.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 24 March 1864, 8.

“In spite of the cool reception Maretzek found in Boston, he finally succeeded in winning over the Bostonians. Brignoli seems to have reconciled with the impresario, as demonstrated by his having appeared several times.  Strangely, he seems to have charmed the audience quite well.

Next Monday, the company opens its spring season in our Academy of Music with Gounod’s ‘Faust’.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 25 March 1864.

Announcement: New-York Times, 25 March 1864, 4.
“The sale of tickets for Monday evening’s performance of ‘Faust’ commences here to-night.”
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 25 March 1864, 5.
Announcement: New York Clipper, 26 March 1864, 395.

Announcement: New-York Times, 26 March 1864, 6.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 26 March 1864, 9.
Announcement: New York Herald, 28 March 1864.

Announcement: New York Post, 28 March 1864, 2.

Announcement: New-York Times, 28 March 1864, 4.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 28 March 1864, 7.

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 28 March 1864, 6.

“The entire singing club, Arion, has agreed to participate in the grand Soldiers’ Chorus alongside the opera company’s chorus.”

Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 28 March 1864, 8.

“Today, Maretzek’s Italian opera company opens its spring season at the Academy of Music with Gounod’s ‘Faust.’ Nothing definite is known yet about the length of the season, but it will be long enough to have mounted all the operas promised at the beginning of this year’s season in the director’s circular. Among these are: Robert der Teufel, Die Hugenotten, Die Regimentstochter, Die Zigeunerin, Maria di Rohan, La Favorita, and an entirely new work, ‘written expressly for the Academy of Music.’ We would be very satisfied if Maretzek did only the first two or three of these. In every respect, today’s performance of ‘Faust’ will be noteworthy: in all probability the house will be sold out before evening. In the first rows of box seats, the elite of Fifth Avenue will show up in full regalia. Likewise, the Arion singing club – always well promoted and supported – will show off its art on stage in the fourth act, thus proving to the Americans that a German singing club knows how to sing. Mr. Hermanns will sing ‘Mephistopheles;’ the rest of the cast is unchanged.”

Review: New York Herald, 29 March 1864, 4.

“Faust still has a firm hold upon the public, to judge from the immense audience which filled the Academy of Music last evening. The ladies were resplendent in jewels, laces and exquisite toilets. There were sprinkled about the house a number of uniforms, rendering the aspect all the more diversified and animated. We have never seen the Academy present a more brilliant appearance, or, for that matter, any European opera house. New York has certainly become the rival of the great European cities as far as display and fashion are concerned, as any one would have readily conceded last evening when looking around upon the array of beauty and taste which graced the first night of our spring operatic season.

We have so often noticed this opera (Faust) that we need say no more here than it was sung last evening with unusual entrain. Miss Kellogg, Mazzoleni and Bellini were received with great warmth by the public, and sang all the better for this encouragement. The Grand Soldier’s Chorus was sung admirably by the Arion Society, and created a furor. The applause was deafening until an encore was obtained. The second act, with its beautiful waltz and peculiar choruses, also passed off brilliantly. Mme. Sulzer gave the Flower Song with great spirit, and received a merited encore. Herr Hermann, who was the Mephistopheles on this occasion, sang and acted well; but, as he lowers the music a tone in some instances, his performance lacks the dash which Biachi displays in this role. The performance was a great success, and will add, doubtless, to the popularity of the opera.

We hope that Maretzek will not overlook Petrella’s beautiful opera, Ione, in all the Faust fever.”

Review: New-York Times, 29 March 1864, 4.
Maretzek’s new season opened last night with a crowded house, and an admirable performance of ‘Faust.’  The artists were in good voice, and Mr. Herrmanns sustained the role of Mephistopheles in an exceedingly striking and effective manner.”
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 29 March 1864, 8.

“Because we already reported on the opera, ‘Faust,’ and its performances by Maretzek’s company fifteen or sixteen times in the course of the winter season, we are not in a position to shed new light on it. But for our colleagues in the West, to whom Mr. Grau presented Gounod’s work, it is much easier to launch an original as well as intellectually stimulating article. If one of them should hate this opera, it would certainly be the fault of Mr. Grau. As anticipated, very soon after the box office opened yesterday, the sign with the words, ‘Standing room only,’ was hung up. The house was filled almost to bursting, and the performance was one of the best we’ve ever seen. For the first time, we saw Mr. Herrmanns in the role of ‘Mephisto;’ he executed the difficult part excellently. We plan to return to make special mention of him at another time.”

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 29 March 1864.

“Maretzeck’s [sic] company came back from a triumphant campaign in Boston and took back possession of the Academy of Music. To say that they gave Faust is to say that the house was overflowing and that enthusiasm reigned there as a permanent state. It was impossible to make a more brilliant reappearance under any circumstances."

Announcement: New York Clipper, 02 April 1864, 403.

Review: New York Clipper, 09 April 1864, 411.
“[T]he week’s business has been lively and fruitful, and the entertainments provided have been varied a invigorating.  ‘Faust’—the opera with the devil in it—continues to meet with a greater degree of favor than any other presented to our Academised notice for many years.”