Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
21 April 2012
“[W]ith Ortolani – a singer who has this season created a most favorable impression – as Gilda.”
“Verdi's ever fresh and delightful opera of ‘Rigoletto’ was revived here last evening in a thoroughly acceptable manner. Signor Mazzoleni has seldom been heard to such advantage. The role of the Duke suits him as perfectly as that of Glauco, in ‘Ione.’ As an acting part it is even better, although it must be confessed that this admirable artist leads a somewhat disreputable life in both works. Signor Bellini, as the poor, wronged Court Fool, was dramatic; but his voice lacked its usual resonance and vigor. Mlle. Ortolani was the Gilda, and sang the light and agreeable music of the part with nice, artistic feeling and finish. In the second act the lady was heard to the best advantage; her voice subsequently being somewhat depressed in intonation. Miss Adelaide Phillips was the Magdalena, and contributed largely to the success of the fourth act—the only one in which she appears—an act which the united opinion of the musical world has pronounced perfect. The freshness of the entire work is remarkable. Its performance is a boon to the public.”
“Verdi’s very beautiful opera Rigoletto was given last night . . . to a very fashionable, but to a not very full house. Rigoletto contains some of the most exquisite music that Verdi has ever penned—music, beautiful not only for the intense passion which it breathes out, and its marked characteristics, but for it is masterly conception and writing. And yet this fine music, combined with a drama of deep interest, rarely, if ever, attracts a large audience, however excellent the cast may be. The reason is, we believe, that the plot is too revolting in the catastrophe. It was sung last night very admirably . . . Ortolani’s voice though not very powerful, is charmingly pure and sympathetic, and she sings with grace and feeling. Her duo with Mazzoleni in the second act was a perfect gem in its way, and was enthusiastically applauded. Her previous duo with Bellini was also a delightful piece of vocalism Mdlle. Ortolani is at present rather underrated, but as on each appearance she proves herself a true and cultivate artist, she will assuredly win her way into just appreciation and popularity. Mazzoleni rarely sung [sic] with so much genuine taste and feeling. He subdued his voice and threw into it a tenderness, which, from its rarity now-a-days, was both fascinating and refreshing. Mazzoleni need only remember himself, and there a few singers who can equal him.
Bellini, who has of late been reaping critical honors as a buffo singer, won last night equal and deserved praise for his masterly rendition, vocally and dramatically, of the tragic part of Rigoletto. He sang with remarkable power, and with an intensity of feeling almost painful, and his acting was really grand in its passionate expression, and forcible gesticulation. Miss Adelaide Phillips sang the small part of Magdelen as she does everything else, admirably. The orchestra and chorus were, as usual, excellent.”