St. Stephen's Catholic Church
Manager / Director:
9 June 2016
“One of the finest sacred concerts, perhaps, ever given in the city.”
“The excellent musical taste of Dr. Cummings is in itself a guarantee that the programme has been selected with taste.”
“The grand sacred concert at St. Stephen’s church came off last evening, in which the whole strength of the Italian opera company of Mr. Maretzek took part. Such a crowd as assembled there was rarely seen under similar circumstances. There were crowds in the church, crowds in the vestry, crowds on every staircase, in every doorway, and on every sidewalk fronting and flanking the building. A chosen few got good seats, a few hundred got indifferent ones, and a vast number got none at all. However, so much the better for the fund out of which the cost of the enlargement of the church is to be paid. The attraction was undoubtedly very great, and the difficulty of accommodating the immense mass of people was proportionate to the attraction. When we say that the performance—which included selections from the Stabat Mater of Rossini, and the Preghiera from Mose in Egitto, was unexceptionable, we do not say too much. The Inflammatus of Zucchi, and the Quis est homo by Zucchi and Morensi, in the Stabat Mater, as well as the Qui Tollis of Mercadante by Massimiliani in the second part, were the gems of the evening. Miss Kellogg’s aria in the second part was well rendered. Mrs. Van Zandt never sang to more advantage than in the grand arie [sic] by Meyerbeer. The other artists Susini—Gariboldi and Maccaferri—did ample justice to the parts allotted to them. Mr. Robert Heller presided at the organ with his accustomed facility, performing a very excellent solo in the intermission. Apart from the immense crush and heat, which rendered a fair enjoyment of the music almost impossible, the concert was a great success, musically as well as pecuniarily. It was something unusual in the variety of talent which it embraced, and therefore drew an extraordinarily large audience.”
“The ‘sacred’ concert . . . last night created a lively sensation in our musical circles. The church was so crowded that the heat and crush interfered much with the enjoyability of a concert enlisting the services of the entire opera company. The artists sang admirably, and the concert was so good that it ought to be repeated.”
“The Grand Sacred Concert . . . attracted an overwhelming attendance, and demonstrated at the same time, that the Church really does require to be enlarged. We were unable to hear any portion of the music, but doubt not that it was well rendered. The arrangements were completely inadequate. We are sure, however, that the pecuniary object of the entertainment was thoroughly gained, and so far it was satisfactory.”
“The concert given at Dr. Cummings’s church last Sunday, enlisting the services of the entire opera company, was one which attracted a great deal of attention in musical circles; but the mismanagement of the whole affair was so glaring that we have received several protests about it from indignant contributors.
In the first place twice as many tickets were sold as the church would hold. There were no adequate police arrangements, no ‘committee,’ no order. The artists, all of whom contributed their gratuitous services, had as much difficulty in getting admission as the general public. No carriages were sent for them, and one at least of the number failed to get inside the building. The prima donnas, Zucchi and Kellogg, were pushed through the crowd in a style anything but agreeable to those ladies. Of course the heat of the church during the entire proceedings was most stifling.
The musical performance was not by any means deserving of thorough praise. The ‘Inflammatus,’ sung by Zucchi, and an English song by Torrente, charmingly rendered by Miss Kellogg, were the gems of the evening. In the familiar ‘Prayer’ from ‘Moses,’ the singers were unprovided with music, and in attempting to sing the piece from memory, made blunders which would have disgraced a third-rate church choir rehearsal. Mr. Heller, who acted as organist, played for a solo a curious mosaic of the Stabat Mater and Faust.
This is the second time this month that a monster concert has been given in this city with a total lack of the necessary arrangements which would enable ticket-holders to get their money’s worth. The last concert given by the National Conservatory of Music was the first instance; this concert at Dr. Cummings’s church was the second. Of course the holders of tickets to the latter, who were unable to get in at all, will expect a second concert to which their tickets will be good. The object of the concert was worthy, yet many ticket-holders—Protestants—bought their tickets from a musical and not purely a charitable motive.”