Maretzek Italian Opera: Un ballo in maschera

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)

12 Oct 1864, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Sixth subscription night.

First appearance of Frida de Gebel.

Un Ballo in Maschera includes: "Mazurka in the Grand Ball Scene," performed by Ernestine and Auriol.

Performers and/or Works Performed


Advertisement: New York Herald, 08 October 1864.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 08 October 1864.

Announcement: New York Post, 08 October 1864.

Announcement: New-York Times, 10 October 1864.

Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 10 October 1864.

Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 11 October 1864.

Announcement: Courrier des États-Unis, 12 October 1864.

Review: New York Herald, 13 October 1864.

“The Opera. THE BALLO IN MASCHERA—A NEW CONTRALTO. At about the time last night when opera-goers should have left their homes for the Academy of Music a very heavy rain storm visited our city. Those who had secured seats in advance braved the storm, but hundreds of others were deterred from venturing. Had the weather been fair the house would have been crowded in every part, for, as it was, a large and interested audience was present.

     The opera was Verdi’s Ballo in Maschera, produced for the first time, with a cast almost new. Carozzi-Zucchi was the Amelia, and sang the music with her customary fervor and expression. Bellini, as Reinhart, was even better than last season, while Massimiliani, as Riccardo, sang well, but had to contend with the recollection of notable favorites in his part. Brambilla gave satisfaction as the Page, singing the music with sweetness and parity, her voice presenting the anomaly to which we have before alluded—an insufficiency of power in the solos, and a clear telling effect in the higher music of the concerted pieces.


The new contralto, Frida de Gebele, made her debut in a part but poorly calculated to enlist the sympathies of an audience. The witch music of Ulrica occurs entirely in the second act, and does not contain a single pronounced air melodious enough to specially please the general ear; and the contralto is thus reduced to the rendering of her part of the harmony in the concerted pieces. In these movements Miss Gelebe’s voice was prominent and telling; but in the solo strains it did not evince the richness and sweetness of her predecessors. The upper notes are of an uneven quality, but the lower deep and full. A better part will give a better opportunity of judging of the capabilities of this artiste.”
Review: New York Post, 13 October 1864.

“AMUSEMENTS. Verdi’s masterly opera ‘Ballo in Maschera,’ was given last evening at the Academy of Music by the leading members of Maretzek’s troupe. A full and attentive audience graced the house, and plainly indicated that nothing but a raging storm kept the Academy from being crowded. The ‘Ballo’ is an opera so original and versatile that, wherever interpreted by competent artists, its hold upon the admiration of our people becomes stronger. The Amelia of Signora Carozzi-Zucchi was so complete and satisfactory as to receive the warmest applause, and never did two artistic qualities better harmonize than her vocalization and her acting. Signora Brambilla is yet young and on the way to improvement, and although not in herself a leading ‘star,’ yet is an essential element in the company; and she will yet become a favorite at the Academy. The incomparable Bellini impressed upon the character of Reinhart every charm of which it is susceptible, singing the melodies with the abandonment of youth and all the finish of riper years. Massimiliani was quite equal to the vocal demands of Riccardo, and only required to be in better trim to have acquired distinction in the part. Such an evening was atmospherically pernicious to the delicate organ of a tenor.


The first appearance of Mlle. Frida de Gebele induced a favorable impression. She has a tall and stately figure, and walked the stage with the ease of a veteran. We have yet to give her a place on the vocal scale, as the music of her part last evening afforded no opportunity for a fair judgment. She was kindly received, and the desire to hear her in another opera was general.”
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 13 October 1864.
Attendance was low due to heavy rain conditions.  High praise for the soloists, Signor Massimilian, Signor Bellini and Madame Carozzi-Zucchi.  Gebele has a wide vocal range and depth. She could not fully present her voice in this role.  We look forward to hearing her in a part in which she can express her skills more.
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 17 October 1864, 1.
A triumph for Carozzi-Zucchi.  She was born for the stage and is always true and full of pathos.  Despite the rain, the theatre was full.  Un Ballo is one of Verdi’s most charming operas.  De Gebele was well received.  She is gifted with a very bright contralto voice in the lower range, but she’s still a little feeble in the medium and high registers.  She continues to study--with Barili.
Review: New-York Times, 18 October 1864, 4.
“Amusements. MUSICAL AND DRAMATIC. The most agreeable opera of the season, and the freshest, was given on Wednesday evening. VERDI’S ‘Ballo in Maschera’ still ranks as a novelty. It is the latest important work that has issued from the composer’s pen, with the exception of ‘La Forza del Destino.’ The melodies are piquant, the musical combinations and finales ingenious and effective, whilst the instrumentation is extremely interesting. When Mr. MARETZEK first introduced the ‘Ballo’ to the attention of the public it was with a vocal combination that demanded instant recognition. The various rôles were rendered with great spirit, but the work as a whole was not so well rendered as on Wednesday night. We can say so without any hesitation, and despite the fact that the contralto—being a debutant—was in a nervous plight, and that in several portions of the opera it became apparent that the tenor had but a slight and timid acquaintance with the music. It is due to Signor MASSIMILIANI to say that he undertook the part of Richard for the first time, and that if he seldom did injustice to the composer. His study of the part will, we are persuaded, prove amply sufficient on the next representation. The contralto to whom we have referred is Mlle. Frida de GEBELE, a young lady of decided promise, with a ponderous voice and an insufficient command of it. The role of Ulrica does not present any unusual satiencies, and the lady could do no more than display her voice, and ask an obvious tremulousness a kindly consideration for her inexperience. The opera, we need scarcely say, does not depend on any one artist. The ensembles are its chief attractions, and after these the interest centres principally on the soprano and the baritone—both of whom were simply superb. The third act was given with a clearness which we have never heard equaled at the Academy, and only on rare occasions elsewhere. The fourth act was hardly less admirable, but the brilliancy of the ball room scene was marred by the paltriness of the dominoes which smothered the guests. Mr. MARETZEK is paying so much attention to the matter of costume, that it is a pity his laudable object should be frustrated by the dingey calico remains of past seasons. We lack space to enlarge further on the merits of the ‘Ballo.’”
Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 29 October 1864, 336.
“Since my last, Maretzek has given us Verdi’s Ballo in Maschera, with CAROZZI-ZUCCHI, MASSIMILIANI, BELLINI, BRAMBILLA, and the debut of Mlle. FRIDA DE GEBELE as Ulrica. This new artist is a lady of great promise, possessing a powerful voice;--some one has criticized her as ‘possessing a ponderous voice, and an insufficient command of it.’ The role of Ulrica is not favorable to a debutante, for it lacks any definite air or melody that an artist can use to advantage, and its grotesque ‘make-up’ robs it of any personal charm. In a more congenial role Gebele will undoubtedly form an acceptable artist.”
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 07 November 1864.
….We also repair an omission in adding that [M. Dubreuil] acted and sang perfectly in a secondary role….