Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
8 July 2013
“La Juive achieved great success yesterday evening.”
". . . . deplorably performed. Except for M. Habelmann, who's still an imperfect tenor, but who gives us great hope, the roles were massacred, debased, parodied. M. Hermann, [is a] bass who, unbearable in Faust, was little better in La Juive. As for the mighty tenor, M. Himmer, it's better not to talk about him. He felt himself so beneath his task, that in La Juive he thought it proper to omit the air Rachel quand du Seigneur, and other numbers no less important. For the rest, the performance of . . . La Juive, and works of French grand opera in general, present some insurmountable difficulties in New York. For these operas it is necessary to have a stage extended and arranged in a different way than that at Irving Place; decorations more sumptuous; massed choruses with large numbers of singers; a corps de ballet, first-rate individuals, dancers, etc. etc.; in sum, all that is lacking here. What does the third act of La Juive become without the ballet? Nothing is left, and the curtain is scarcely raised when it falls again before the eyes of the spectators. . . . We haven&'t had to be as severe in regard to the women .... Although she is a good musician,] Mme Johannsen doesn't have her voice any more. If she sings pianisimo [sic], one discovers in her the singer of taste and talent, but if she has to give [out with] her voice, she loses all her advantages. . . . Mme Johannsen was less than sufficient in La Juive. We have never been able to sunderstand either why, representing an Israelite of the Middle Ages, she was dressed as a Grecian woman. In the same way M. Hermann, under the pretext of dressing himself as a cardinal, was disguised as a choir-boy, with a long robe of dubious red, which stuck to his body: one would have said that he fell in the water fully dressed and had just come out of the bathtub.
Mme Rotter has some [good] qualities and some faults. Her voice is too often muffled and uneven. She sings in spasms. . . . "
After so much criticism, we are pleased to end by praise, addressed to the chorus and above all to the orchestra. On this point, M. Anschutz doesn't have a rival in the United States."