Grover German Opera: La Juive

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Leonard Grover

Carl Anschütz

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
8 July 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

23 Sep 1864, Evening

Program Details

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Jewess; Juedin; Jüdin; Judin
Composer(s): Halévy
Text Author: Scribe
Participants:  Grover German Opera Company;  Anton Graf (role: Ruggiero);  Theodore Habelmann (role: Prince Leopold);  Franz Himmer (role: Eleazar);  Joseph Hermanns (role: Cardinal Brogni);  Joseph Urchs (role: Herald);  Johanna Rotter (role: Princess Eudoxia);  Bertha Johannsen (role: Rachel)


Advertisement: New-York Times, 20 September 1864.

Announcement: New-York Times, 21 September 1864, 5.

Announcement: New York Herald, 23 September 1864.

Announcement: New-York Times, 23 September 1864.

Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 23 September 1864.

Review: New York Post, 24 September 1864.
“AMUSEMENTS. The German Opera Company produced last night in fair style Halevy’s fine opera, ‘The Jewess,’ a work which was given here some time ago by an Italian company with two German singers, Fabbri and Stigelli, in the principal parts. Last night, Johannsen, Himmer and Hermans sang effectively the music of their respective roles, while the chorus and orchestra performed satisfactorily. The opera is undoubtedly, the masterpiece of the French composer Halevy, and contains many points of signal merit. The choruses are very spirited, and the dramatic action of the work far above the average.”  
Review: New-York Times, 24 September 1864.
“Amusements. ACADEMY OF MUSIC.—HALSEY’S [sic] opera of the ‘Jewess’ is one of the most trying in the modern repertoire, both for the artists engaged in the representation and the manager who produces the work. The score is exceedingly full, and the mise-en-scene is highly important. There is much for the ear, and much for the eye. When all has been done, it is doubtful if the public will appreciate the effort and labor that have been expended in the cause. For the ‘Jewess’ is an opera of reputation rather than of popularity. Musicians speak well of it and justly, for it contains the essence of a dozen of ordinary operas. It exhausted the fancy and imagination of its composer, and has furnished suggestions for all of his successors. But the general public have never warmed to the work, and hence its place in the repertoire is determined entirely by the energy and liberality of the manager. If we may judge by the perfectly overwhelming attendance that filled the Academy last evening, Mr. GROVER has chosen the right moment for submitting it to his patrons. Few managers with so brief a season would [have] thought of encountering the obstacles and expenses of such a revival. Mr. GROVER’S pluck entitles him to the reward which we are glad to find he is so promptly receiving.
    The first performance of such an elaborate work rarely amounts to more than a full-dress rehearsal. The artists last night displayed a creditable knowledge of the music, but they were by no means easy in their roles, and the effects of excessive rehearsal were noticeable in many important respects. As a whole, however, the opera went off smoothly, and both orchestra and chorus were good. The rest will undoubtedly be remedied on the next representation, which we are glad to hear is fixed for Monday. The opera is so seldom played that the
dilettanti owe it to themselves to hear it whenever the chance offers. 
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 24 September 1864, 8.
A sold-out house, with standing room only half an hour before opening.  Robert le diable and La Juive have been the most successful works under the current direction.  As usual for the opening night of a big opera, this performance seemed rather like a dress rehearsal.  The effort given by the entire ensemble to put on a decent performance is praiseworthy, as was the performance of Mister Hermanns, which was extraordinary.  Mr. Himmer’s part (Eleazar) requires a very strong voice which the singer was not able to produce, but he sang well in the duo with Rachel and in other multiple-part pieces.  Miss Johannson was not convincing as Rachel.  She is said to have performed more favorably in other parts.  Mister Haberman satisfied as usual.
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 24 September 1864.


    “La Juive achieved great success yesterday evening.”

Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 01 October 1864, 319-320.
“Johannsen is a pains-taking artist; but she pleases us more in serious than in comic parts; in the latter her voice and acting display somewhat of triviality.  But for parts such as that of Rachel in the ‘Jewess,’ which requires immense power, her voice is no longer reliable enough, although her efforts are not altogether unsuccessful. . . .
Herr Himmer is evidently a thoughtful, earnest artist.  It is only to be regretted that his voice is not sufficient for the demands of his intelligence, though it might be rendered far more effective by a more open production of tone.  Nothing can be said against his conception and representation of character; as Eleazar in ‘The Jewess,’ . . . his acting not unfrequently [
sic] reaches the sublime. . . .
. . . ‘The Jewess’ was much cut, and on the first performance might have gone more smoothly; its great music, too, almost necessitates voices of immense power; but notwithstanding the need of them in the three principal parts, still from the dramatic talent of the artists engaged, the representation was an effective one.”
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 03 October 1864.

". . . . 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."