Maretzek Italian Opera: Il trovatore

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Price: $2 reserved; $1.50; $.75 family circle; $.40 amphitheatre; $2 to $6 private boxes

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
29 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

03 Oct 1864, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Opening night of season.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Troubadour
Composer(s): Verdi
Text Author: Cammarano
Participants:  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Joseph Weinlich (role: Ferrando);  Catarina Morensi (role: Azucena);  Fernando [bass-baritone] Bellini (role: Count di Luna);  Carlotta Carozzi-Zucchi (role: Leonora);  Bernardo Massimiliani (role: Manrico)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 10 September 1864.

Announcement: New York Herald, 11 September 1864.

“Maretzek will commence the regular season of Italian Opera, at the Academy of Music, on Monday, the 3d of October.  His engagements are as follows—Prima Donne Soprani, Signora Carlotta Carozzi Zucchi, Signora Elvira Brambilla, Miss Laura Harris, Mrs. Jennie Van Zandt; Prima Donne Contralti, Signora C. Morensi, Mlle. Frida De Gebel, Madame Adelina Motte; Comprimaria, Miss Fannie Stockton; Primi Tenori, Signor Massimiliani and Signor Lotti; Comprimario, Signor Reichardt; Primi Baritoni, Signor Bellini and Signor Pierrini; Primi Bassi, Signor Susini, Signor Dubreuil and Signor Weinlich; Basso Comprimario, Signor Muller.  Of these artists the majority are new to the American public and Mesdames Van Zandt and Motte are debutantes.


The orchestra and chorus and ballet will be new and strong.  Monsieur Pedigram will conduct the orchestra.  Monsieur Appy and Mr. Reiff will lead.  Grossi will manage the ballet.  Clayo will be retained as scenic artist.  During the season we are promised Donizetti’s last work, Don Sebastiano; Verdi’s last opera, La Forza de Destino; Gounod’s last opera, Mireille, and the Italian version of Auber’s Fra Diavolo.  The regular nights will be Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  The prices will be—Admission, $1.50, secured seats $2, family circle, 75 cents, amphitheatre, 40 cents, private boxes, from $6 to $20.  Subscriptions will be received for the first eighteen nights.  The box offices will open on the 21st of September.”
Announcement: New-York Times, 12 September 1864, 5.
Maretzek’s program for the season.  “[He] dwells on the difficulties that now attend operatic management, arising from the scarcity of artists, the rapid increase in their demands, the inflated rates of exchange, and the uncertainty that naturally attends everything in these times. He thinks that he has succeeded nevertheless in procuring ‘not only a stock company complete and efficient in every department, but operatic stars of the first order, beside adding several new and interesting compositions to the already extended repertory of the Academy.’ Concerning these new artists, Mr. Maretzek says that all he cares for is, ‘that each one is endowed with a powerful voice, as yet unimpaired by time, and that they all have left Europe in the very zenith of their public career, and with firmly established reputations.’” Company members, regular opera nights, occasional Saturday matinees, principal attractions of the season, admission cost.
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 12 September 1864.

Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 13 September 1864.
Lists the singers for the company and the repertory: Carlotta Carozzi-Zucchi, s; Elvira Brambilla, s; Laura Harris, mz;  Jennie Van Zandt, s(debut); C. Morensi, ca; Adelina Motte, ca (debut); Frida di Gebel, ca; Fanny Stockton, comprimario; Bernardo Massimiliani, t; G. Lotti, t; Sig. Reichardt, comprimario; D. Lorini, bar; F. Bellini, bar; Pierrini, bar; A. Dubreuil, b; A. Susini, b;  J. Weinlich, b; Muller, b.  The list is preceded by a lengthy article (inserted in the ad) discussing the current popularity of Italian opera in the world.
Announcement: New York Clipper, 17 September 1864, 182.
Regular nights will be Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Announcement: New York Herald, 19 September 1864.
Maretzek announces that the sale of subscription seats and boxes for his first season of Italian Opera will commence on Wednesday.  The season is to begin on the 3d of October. . . .[T]he beau monde is in a state of anxious expectancy about what promises to be the most brilliant and successful season of Opera New York has ever witnessed.  Opera has grown to be a necessity in the metropolis.”
Announcement: New York Herald, 20 September 1864.
“Everybody is rich, and every rich person must patronize the opera.”
Announcement: New York Herald, 21 September 1864.
Calls attention to its ad for Italian Opera.  Sale of single tickets begins tomorrow.  Company will present 18 performances.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 21 September 1864.
First AD of the season for Italian opera.  It lists the names of the principal artists.  “Negotiations are pending with other leading artists.”  The ad is printed on a daily basis from this day on.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 21 September 1864, 8.

Announcement: New-York Times, 22 September 1864.
“The sale of private boxes for the forthcoming season of Italian opera . . . opened yesterday, and the few hours result that we can report is eminently satisfactory. . . . [T]here has never been such a ‘rush’ for the favored locations.”
Announcement: New York Herald, 26 September 1864.
“There is more than the usual promise of a brilliant and fashionable patronage for this undertaking, to judge from the great number of boxes and seats sold for the season.”
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 27 September 1864.
The success of the season relies on the new tenor, Massimiliani.
Announcement: New York Herald, 28 September 1864.

“Maretzek issues his card to the public to-day, and we call attention to this document as a remarkable operatic manifesto. . . . We are to have the Trovatore as the opening performance of the fall season, and think the selection a very good one.  There are very few operas which so please a New York public. . . .

     Maretzek’s concluding notice, that an increase of prices will be demanded, owing to increase [sic] of expenses, will readily be admitted by the public when it is taken into consideration how near the price of opera will be to that of the theatres, whose weekly expenses scarcely add up to more than a single night of Maretzek’s operation.”
Advertisement: New-York Times, 01 October 1864.
Opening night to take place 10/08.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 02 October 1864.
The so-called aristocracy will choose this event to show off their fine wardrobe and jewelry and pretend to have sophisticated musical knowledge in their conversations, rather than being interested in the music and the performance.  Maretzek wisely kept information about the numerous new singers secret; thus, the performance will be well attended to satisfy people’s curiosity.
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 02 October 1864.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 03 October 1864.
No matinee the first week. First appearances of Sgra. C. Carozzi-Zucchi and Sig. B. Massimiliani.
Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 03 October 1864, 1.
Announces the debut of Massimiliani, already famous in Europe.  There is nothing as difficult for an impresario than to find a good tenor.  Rumor is that Massimiliani is even better than Mazzoleni.  The expectation about Carozzi-Zucchi is similar.  As for Morensi, every body remembers the success she had as Azucena while she was a member of Grau’s company.
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 03 October 1864, 1.
General remarks about the new season.  Maretzek is thinking about giving Mireille, the last opera of Gounod.  If our advice counts, we would recommend he not do it.  We saw Mireille last winter in Paris, where it obtained nothing but a mediocre success, and rightly so.  The libretto is absurd, but it is not, after all, less ridiculous than most Italian librettos, and the music was not liked, either.  The fiasco cannot be compared, though, to Berlioz’s disaster with Les Troyens.
Review: New York Herald, 04 October 1864.

“The Italian Opera. Opening of the season—Maretzek’s new artists. The anticipated crowd at the Academy of Music last night was entirely realized. The house was filled in every part long before the rising of the curtain by an audience prepared to welcome heartily the new claimants for public favors, yet at the same time disposed to view their efforts with that critical judgment inevitable in the case of a musical public as highly cultivated as that of New York.


The first scene of Trovatore passed off pleasantly enough, Weinlich singing the part of Ferrando with taste and judgment.  The audience were then called upon to greet the new prima donna, Carozzi-Zucchi.  This lady, who comes to us with a purely Italian reputation, ranks among the first artists in her native land, and finds special favor among critical opera-goers of Rome.  In person she is tall and commanding, while her deportment shows the finished lady and the accomplished artist.  Her voice is a rich soprano, with those sympathetic lower tones of which the dramatic composers of the present day are so desirous of availing themselves.  Her acting is fine, though perhaps without the startling effects which Medori sometimes introduced, but with more finish than characterized that lady’s style.  Carozzi-Zucchi, before the first act was over, had firmly established herself in public favor.  As the opera proceeded her talents became more conspicuous, and in the fine duet, Mire di acerbe lagrime, with Bellini, she seemed to reach the climax of lyric excellence.  The death scene was also a remarkable bit of finished acting.


The prima donna of the evening came to us with such high credentials of superiority that the audience expected she would succeed. But the tenor was less known to fame, and during the first two acts this fact did not appear surprising. In the aria of the third act—the Di quella pira—the frightened artist recovered himself entirely, and sang with such fervor and effect as to be called three times before the curtain. Massimiliani is quite a young man, endowed with a fresh, vigorous, robust voice, with a handsome face of the most approved style for the romantic parts usually allotted to an operatic tenor, and with a method of singing good in itself, and only needing more culture to be first class. In the last act he appeared to great advantage, and was most heartily applauded. His final success assured, and as his timidity wears off his popularity will increase.


Bellini, as the Count di Luna, sang with all his admirable grandeur of style, and was called out after his air in the second act.  Morensi, as Azucena, sang also with unusual success. Both of these artists are, however, well known here in their respective parts in this opera.


On the whole, the verdict of the house was warmly in favor of Mr. Maretzek’s recent musical importations. A finer company of singers than this now at our Academy of Music can be found in but few of the opera houses of the Old World, and with this company our musical public may anticipate a series of the most artistic lyric representation.”
Review: New-York Times, 04 October 1864.

“Amusements. ACADEMY OF MUSIC—OPENING OF THE SEASON. –A brilliant audience attended the opening performance here last evening, and extended to Mr. Maretzek’s new artists the welcome which is seldom withheld from new comers. The opera was ‘Travatore,’ [sic] selected by the prima donna for her debut. It answered its purpose thoroughly, and placed Mlle. Corossi Zucchi [sic] in an enviable light before the public. We reserve our own remarks on the general performance for a more timely occasion. However desirable for the prima donna, ‘Il Trovatore’ does not afford any particular facilities to the critic. The interest is spread over a vast surface, and does not culminate until the last scene. To write of this at midnight is impossible. It must suffice, therefore, to say, that in the first act, Signora Zucchi created a decided impression. She was called out and applauded in the heartiest manner. Her voice is extremely pleasant, and is managed with consummate ability. In the tower scene of the last act, the enthusiasm was unmistakable, and fully warranted. Signora Zucchi may be recorded, then, as an emphatic success.


The new tenor, Massimilliani, was not in very good voice, but in the trio of the first act he fired a note or two into the auditorium that electrified the audience, and in the aria of the third act (De guella pira) [sic] brought down the house with a tumult of applause. As Signor Massimilliani was called out three times after the fall of the curtain, it may safely be recorded that his début was also a success.”
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 04 October 1864.
Both new singers, Carozzi Zucchi and Massimiliani, excel in their vocal and acting abilities.  They were a success, as was the entire performance.  The Opera was of good quality.
Review: New York Sun, 05 October 1864, 1.
“The debut of Maretzek’s new combination in the Italian Opera occurred on Monday evening, and was the great event of the season, in the eyes of the fashionable world.  The opening was a decided success, both with respect to the attendance at the Academy of Music and the performance of the artists.  The musical critics and le bon ton were in ecstacies [sic] with the voices of the leading actors, who were rapturously applauded.  Signora Carozzi-Zucchi, the soprano, possesses a voice of remarkable flexibility and compass; while the tenor, Signor Massimilani, rendered his part so magnificently as to call forth the warmest encomiums from the audience.”
Review: New-York Times, 05 October 1864, 4.

“Amusements. ACADEMY OF MUSIC. –We have already—with the brevity becoming to a mere item of news—recorded the success of Mr. MARETZEK’S opening night. What remains to be said, we will say now. It is unnecessary to revert to the opera of ‘Il Trovatore,’ which is rather familiarly known here, except in the way of illustration. The merits of the work are thoroughly appreciated—so thoroughly, indeed, that nothing but a new caste can give it vitality. This was provided by Mr. MARETZEK, whose reception was enthusiastic, and of whose new artistes we have, therefore, only to speak. Mme. CAROZZI-ZUCCHI was the heroine. The lady, like many others who have preceded her, comes direct to us from Italy. Her career here will decide her standing in Paris and London; will decide whether she ever visits either of those cities. Brag as they may, we have generally better singers in New-York than they can boast of in any one theatre of Europe. From Mr. MARETZEK’S occasional campaigns, the English houses, at all events, have been supplied for many years, and in the matter of operas, the New-York house is generally ahead of the London ones.


Mme. CAROZZI-ZUCCHI possesses a soft and persuasive organ, truly soprano in its character, but evidently trained downward for the low toned efforts of the modern school—which she produces with absolute facility. The higher notes are somewhat forced, depending more on the art of the singer than the compass of her voice. But as this art is all-sufficient, there is nothing unpleasant about these high notes. The positive merit of each intonation belongs unquestionably to Mme. ZUCCHI. She phrases also with exquisite taste, and a warmth that belongs only to Italian inspiration. Instead of the cold and labored balance of measure that marks the efforts of singers in other schools, she presents a succession of dynamic efforts which sway the audience with the precise emotion that she desires to create. Her gradations from the faintest whisper of affection to the most vehement outbursts of passionate grief, are thoroughly artistic. In all that related to light and shade, (to accumulation and diminution of voice,) Mlle. ZUCCHI ranks fully as high as any of her illustrious predecessors, whilst in the particular of fire she reminds us more of STEFFENONE [Steffanone] than of any one whom we can now recall to mind. The traits which we have described indicate the actress as well as the singer, and it will not surprise the reader to learn that the lady’s success in the fourth act was complete. Nothing could be finer than her scene with the Count. It was almost painful in its intensity, and yet there was not a violent attitude or an exaggerated note in it from beginning to end. The Tower scene was equally admirable. It had the effect of temporarily releasing Manrico from captivity, but that hapless tenor was compelled to return to his cell (sumptuously furnished with a good piano) and pipe his tuneful ditty once more for the satisfaction of the audience.


Signor MASSIMILIANI, the gentleman referred to, did not do full justice to himself in the first and second acts. The opening serenade was obviously shaken by fright, and although a high note, desperately projected at its conclusion, had the effect of bringing down a round of applause, it did not by any means satisfy the public. In the trio, Signor MASSIMILIANI succeeded in electrifying the listener by another tremendous delivery of his upper notes, but from this point to the end of the second act his general performance was constrained, respectable and rather dull. Thereafter, everything was changed. In the third act every note came forth freely, all his movements were dramatic, dignified and spirited. The aria Du quella pira was irresistible. It brought down the house with a tumult of applause. The mettle of the new singer was now acknowledged, and to the end of the opera it was nothing but an ovation in his honor. It remained only for him in the last act to prove the quality of his voice; its sufficiency in other respects having been amply demonstrated. The scenes with Azucena afforded him the requisite opportunity, and they were interpreted with a tenderness which we do not remember to have ever heard excelled. The Tower scene has already been referred to. Nothing could be better. It owed its encore to Signor MASSIMILIANI. The fourth act indeed, in every respect, was sung admirably, and gave complete enjoyment to an audience that was not disposed to be over-cordial, and which, in point of fact, had no reason to be so until late in the evening.


Signor MASSIMILIANI has a robust tenor voice of unusual compass and power. It is a little weak and stubborn in the lower register, and somewhat throatey [sic], but when fairly started it rises easily into the most vehement altitudes, and dominates everything with a clear, resonant fullness that can hardly be surpassed. He is evidently a fine musician, and understands completely his own resources, which are so ample that he need never economise them. He is an actor of a good and undemonstrative school. In the earlier acts there are no opportunities for revealing this fact, Manrico is simply a man in armor. But in the last scene, where he recognizes the devotion of Leonore, and shrinks humbled before her at the sacrifice she has made for him, there was a moment of dramatic intensity that was worthy of the best actor of the modern stage.


The chorus, this evening, is better than it has ever been at the Academy of Music. Mr. MARETZEK has succeeded in obtaining many new and fresh voices. In the orchestra, too, there is a noticeable improvement in the quick and appreciative taking of the impresarios tempi. The old players used to saw through an opera with an industry of their own that was not tempered by the intelligence of any one else. There were defects, however, in the performance of Monday night, which will undoubtedly be remedied on the next performance. The dresses of the opera were unusually rich—the best we have seen for many days.”
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 10 October 1864, 1.
Part of a review of the first week of Italian opera. Massimiliani is a worthy successor of Mazzoleni.  He belongs, however, to the new school, which does not care about singing a cantabile with care; screaming in the high, medium, and bass range is enough.  Verdi is in part responsible for this revolution in the art of singing.  Unable to convey tenderness and gracefulness in his music, he has made himself master of the violent passions.  Bellini is associated with tenderness, Donizetti with gracefulness, Rossini with abundance, and Verdi with terribleness.  Massimiliani is liked by the public because the taste of the times prefers Verdi, just like in Paris some prefer a street performer to an actor from the Théâtre Français.
Review: New York Clipper, 22 October 1864, 222.
“The opera is growing gradually in favor; but it cannot be denied that the opening was anything but encouraging.  Max Maretzek, with his usual flourish, announced several new and prime people, but whether from chills and fever, or from stage fight, they all seem to have had an attack of the shakes at the commencement of their metropolitan career, and made a somewhat poor display.”
Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 12 November 1864, 344.
“As Lucrezia and Leonora, Mme. Zucchi was less effective with the public, because more self-concentrated in her expression of these characters; still she showed herself a thinking, as well as a gifted artist.”