Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
Price: $2 reserved; $1.50; $.75 family circle; $.40 amphitheatre; $2 to $6 private boxes
29 August 2018
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”