Niblo's Concert Saloon
Price: $1; 1.50 reserved
2 July 2016
“Mr. Wehli will perform several classical pieces in addition to some of his own popular compositions. Mr. Wehli by this step challenges all who dispute his claims as a first class artist. But few of those how have watched his playing would feel inclined to dispute his claim to that position now; still there are a few who hint that he cannot play classical music, simply because he has not yet attempted here in public. These doubts will be set at rest to-night. The admission arrangement tonight embodies the fact that all those who purchase seats will be entitled to free admission to the matinee at Niblo’s Saloon to-morrow morning.”
“The tenth concert . . . took place last night, at which there was a very large attendance. Mlle. de Katow performed a very fine classic work of Offenbach and played it delicately. Mr. Wehli’s Sonate of Beethoven, although loudly applauded, was not half as well appreciated as it deserved, for it was played with great feeling, power and brilliancy. The same may be said of the Wanderstunden by Heller, and his own composition, Le Zephir sur les Rosés, both of which were encored and were replaced by a charming mélange, consisting of ‘Oft in the Stilly Night’ and the ‘Star Spangled Banner,’ which woke up the audience to positive enthusiasm. Miss Laura Harris was the soprano soloist, and sang remarkably well. In the concert room, Miss Harris is most acceptable.”
“The Wehli-Katov concert . . . was well attended; and the programme, including some new features, was received with favor. Mr. Wehli played some specimens of classical music, though he did not neglect the lighter style, in which he is so popular.”
Springtime exists…and I who tell you this have seen it in flesh and bone—and warbler and rose, nothing’s missing—I saw it at Mlle de Katow and M. Wehli’s concert, at Niblo’s salon Friday evening—in the person of a young American girl, Miss Laura Harris, who must have practiced, some time, in a more ethereal world, the profession of zephyr, before being transformed into a prima donna. The costume of a zephyr would have suited her admirably. But that she was attired for her sixteen years, in a fresh dress of pink taffeta, and with a charming timidity that made her tremble like a lark in a net, you might say a butterfly who has just pierced the envelope of the chrysalis and shakes its wings to take wing on a ray of sunshine.
It’s the first time I’ve heard Miss Laura Harris, and at the first piece that she sang, I was advised of a joke: “no voice, no breath, no spirit, nothing”—a beribboned puppet that you have to see because it goes “squeak”! Toward the end of the piece, however, the doll warmed up, one began to feel that there was blood and ardor under the skin, and little by little, little by little, crescendo, a singer for everything favorable, and a true artist, emerged from this little girl. She didn’t dare to sing at first, she was requested to afterward, and seemed happy for the encouragement and then the applause of the audience, [who were] decked out, perfumed, hair dressed with flowers, surrounded by diamonds, and who took their gloves off to clap their hands with joyful heart. Not that Miss Harris is a great singer at present, and I even doubt that she will ever have enough stuff to have a big job in opera; but she has crystalline freshness—which is the devilish beauty of prima donnas,--she has dash, fire, taste, elegance, and a technique that only needs to be corrected by experience to be perfect.