Maretzek Italian Opera: La traviata

Event Information

Venue(s):
Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Conductor(s):
Max Maretzek

Event Type:
Opera

Record Information

Status:
Published

Last Updated:
29 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

10 Feb 1865, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

1)
aka Fallen Woman
Composer(s): Verdi
Text Author: Piave
Participants:  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Carlotta Carozzi-Zucchi (role: Violetta, first time);  Bernardo Massimiliani (role: Alfredo);  Amati Dubreuil;  Fernando [bass-baritone] Bellini (role: Germont);  Johanna Ficher

Citations

1)
Announcement: New York Herald, 09 February 1865, 4.
“To-morrow night Madame Zucchi will appear for the first time in this country as Violettta in La Traviata.  This will be an interesting occasion.  Madame Zucchi has attained a very brilliant success in Italy in this rôle, which she has played there frequently, and there will no doubt be much curiosity to see how she will compete with her predecessors in that part on the American stage.  From the evidence of dramatic talent of that high order which Zucchi has already demonstrated in other parts . . . we can hardly doubt that her rendering of Violetta will prove fully acceptable.”
2)
Advertisement: New York Herald, 10 February 1865.

3)
Advertisement: New-York Times, 10 February 1865.

4)
Review: New York Herald, 11 February 1865, 5.
“Zucchi fully maintained her European reputation in Violetta last evening. Her acting throughout the whole opera did not disappoint those who had observed her splendid dramatic powers in other rôles. . . . When we say that Mmd. Zucchi’s representation of the character has rarely, if ever, been equaled on the stage of the Academy, we say enough. The opera was given in every respect most satisfactorily. The scenery, costumes, and entire ensemble were unexceptional. Massimiliani was in fine voice, and sang the Alfredo excellently, exhibiting a good deal more power and passion than usual. Bellini appears to have been selected for his special part in the elder Germont. It is the best role he has yet sung. The aria Di provenza in the second act was admirable, and called for an encore and a very flattering reception before the curtain. The finale of the third act—always a gem—was rendered deliciously last night. The death scene in the last act was superbly rendered by Zucchi. The appreciation of the audience throughoutt the entire opera was unmistakable. The house was crowded, and was as usual this season, brilliant in costume and in beauty
5)
Review: New York Post, 11 February 1865.

“Zucchi as Violetta is very effective in the later acts of the opera, and in the Gran Dio sings with an intensity never surpassed here, not even by Gazzaniga. In the duet with the paternal Germont and in the ball-room scene her singing and acting are everything that can be desired. Only in the first act, where the music is rather frivolous for an artist of Zucchi’s splendid powers, does this lady at all lay herself open to criticism. Her toilets last night were, by the way, superb, and attracted the earnest attention of those of her own sex in the house. Our favorite prima donna never looked better than in the third act of “Traviata.”

 

Bellini sang gloriously, and was encored in the Di Provenza. Massimiliani was fair as Alfredo; and a lady who has hitherto been a member of the chorus gave the little part of Anina [sic] very satisfactorily.”
6)
Review: New-York Times, 11 February 1865.
“Mme Zucchi . . . sang with great dramatic breadth, but with less than her usual vocal clearness. Signor Massimiliani was admirable, fine in voice, and –we may say it—animated in manner. “Of Signor Bellini we have nothing at any time to say except in the way of praise. He was in fine voice last evening, and contributed very largely to the general excellence of the performance.”
7)
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 11 February 1865, 4.

“The popular opera of La Traviata was produced at the Academy of Music last evening, to afford Mademoiselle Carozzi Zucchi an opportunity of appearing in the character of Violetta.  We do not think the experiment was a wise one, for several reasons.  The music is calculated for a light, flexible, yet passionate voice; that is, a young, fresh, and pure-toned voice.  Again, the character is so questionable morally considered, that it can only be tolerated, and can only awaken interest from one point of view, namely, the belief that the victim is young in vice, that her girlish innocence has been betrayed, that the pure love of true man can yet reclaim a heart not utterly abandoned; that the past may be redeemed, and that a soul purified by love may be reclaimed to a nobler end. Only form this point of view can such a character be tolerated upon the stage.

            We are forced to say that Carozzi Zucchi has not the requisite qualifications to embody the character, vocally or physically.  The timbre of her voice, naturally full, rich and powerful, could hardly in its first youth have done justice to the music, save in its abundant passionate expression.  Her fortitude is all executed in the somber quality, while it is imperative that is should be accomplished in the clear voice.  The consequence is that it is heavy, unwieldy, and often untrue.  The lack of spontaneity in her voice necessitates constant effort and forcing, the result of which is a loss of tone, and a very frequent failure to achieve the true pitch. These are vocal infirmities inevitable under the circumstances, but as they exist we cannot pass them by unnoticed. We yield to her unquestionable [illeg.]. She is a true artist; she manages her voice, under the circumstances, very skillfully. Her style is of the best modern school, which is, however, infinitely inferior in every respect to that which preceded it; and in intensity of [illeg.] she frequently rises to the sublime, and never falls below a high standard of excellence. As an actress she ranks with the best of her predecessors, and we view with admiration her intensely passionate delineations of the various roles in which she has appeared. But we cannot recognize her fitness for a character which had been better intrusted [sic] to other hands.

            Signor Massimiliani was heard to great advantage in this opera. He sang with more feeling and expression than he is wont to do, and acted the part with spirit.

            Signor Bellini sang very effectively, except in several boisterous outbreaks, during which his voice sharpened to a painful degree.

            The choruses were good, and the orchestra, led by Mr. Maretzek, rendered the partition ample justice.”