Maretzek Italian Opera: Ernani

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Carl Bergmann

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
20 October 2011

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

17 Feb 1865, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Verdi
Text Author: Piave
Participants:  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Augustino Susini (role: Sylva);  Alessandro Maccaferri (role: Ernani);  Fernando [bass-baritone] Bellini (role: Carlo V);  Carlotta Carozzi-Zucchi (role: Elvira, 1st time in this role in New York)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 16 February 1865.
Martha advertised.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 16 February 1865.
Advertises Martha, with Kellogg, Morensi, Lotti, Susini, and Bergmann.
Announcement: New-York Times, 17 February 1865.
“The complete recovery of Mme Zucchi enable [sic] the managers to announce with certainty the performance of ‘Ernani’ tonight.  This favorite work has not been played here for many months.”
Advertisement: Courrier des États-Unis, 17 February 1865.

Review: New York Herald, 18 February 1865.
“The Academy was filled last night with an audience a large in numbers and as fashionable in appearance as we have seen there this season. The attraction was the first production in some years of Ernani. The opera was admirably performed, and was received with very marked evidence of approbation. Zucchi, who was most cordially received after her recent indisposition, sang and acted the role of Elvira with that fidelity and dramatic force which render her interpretations of such parts delightful. The Ernani of Maccaferri received a very cordial acknowledgment of approval. The cast included Susini and Bellini, the latter rendering Carlo Quinto to the evident satisfaction of the audience. The grand finale in the third act was enthusiastically encored, and all the artists were called before the curtain at the close of each act.”
Review: New York Post, 18 February 1865.
“Zucchi, as everyone expected, made an impassioned and effective Elvira, and Bellini was entirely satisfactory as the King. The audience were also disposed to receive favorably the efforts of the tenor Maccaferri. The finale to the third act was encored.”
Review: New-York Times, 18 February 1865, 5.
“VERDI’S early, but mature opera of ‘Ernani,’ a work which reveals all the best characteristics of the composer, and abounds in strong dramatic and melodic effects, was received here last evening. The house was exceedingly brilliant, and received Mad. CAROZZI  ZUCCHI—who was dressed with rare good taste—most cordially. The part of Elvira is admirably suited to the powers of this lady, and the role has rarely been so well interpreted, either vocally or in its dramatic bearings. Signor MACCAFERRI was the Ernani. It is one of his best parts. The gentleman possesses a powerful voice, rather rough, but capable of movements of great brilliancy. Signor BELLINI was admirable as the King. He has rarely been heard to better advantage. We cannot, unfortunately, say the same of Signor SUSINI, who was once more hoarse, and blurred and spoilt the music of the rôle of Silva.”
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 18 February 1865, 4.

“Verdi’s fine opera of Ernani was produced at the Academy of Music last evening with a very strong cast, to a large and fashionable audience.  Ernani is preeminently a favorite with the New York public, and justly so, for besides abounding in attractive melodies, it is very dramatic, and contains much concerted music equal to the finest of Verdi’s inspirations.

            Elvira’s music is well adapted to Mlle Carozzi Zucchi’s style and voice, it is passionate and most of it lies in the best and most reining part of her voice.  The faults which in music of a quieter character, are too clearly observable in this almost hidden, or all events they are not obtrusive.  We must award to her much praise for her dramatic conception of the character, and for her forcible and spirited singing.  Her Aria Ernani involami was brilliantly and effectively rendered.

            Signor Macaferri [sic] is a tenor robusto of the most robustious kind.  He is by no means a refined singer; we find but little of the delicate shadings of feeling and expression which we look for in thoroughly educated arts, but in passages of great force, especially in the ensemble pieces, his voice is grandly effective, equal to any of its class that we ever heard.  Much of the brilliant success of these pieces was due to his powerful and effective organ.

            King Carlos found a very able representative in Signor Bellini. His voice was in excellent order, and its rich, full tones gave ample expression and effect to the charming music composing his rôle. But one false intonation can be scored against him throughout the evening.

            We scarcely know to what to attribute the rapid decadence of Signor Susini’s voice, once so pure and large. But little dependence can be placed on it now. At times there are flashes of the old fire, but as a general thing it is husky, uncertain and untrue. From some cause all the fibers of the throat sound relaxed or overexcited, and uncontrollable both as to pitch and volume. He sang his beautiful Aria, ‘Infelice,’ with unexceptional taste, and acted his part in a grave, dignified, yet impassioned manner.

            The leading charm of the opera is, as we have said, the concerted or ensemble pieces.  We have rarely heard these more brilliantly or effectively sung.  The trio in the first act, previous to the entrance of Silva, was powerful and dramatic in the highest degree, and aroused the enthusiasm of the audience.  Equally excellent was the duo between Elvira and Ernani, Ah! morir potessi adesso [sic], and the trio which follows—No, vendetta piu tremando [sic], in the second act     The finale to the third act, always effective, from the extraordinary sonority which Verdi has evolved from his vocal and instrumental combinations, was on the occasion finely rendered.  The parts were well balanced, and all seemed to strive earnestly to work out the effect intended; the appreciation was instantaneous and unanimous.  It was imperatively rendered.

                        The performance, as a whole, was highly satisfactory; the chorus was well trained, the band ably directed and the audience seemed to be thoroughly satisfied, calling the principal artists out after each set.”