Maretzek Italian Opera: La sonnambula – Benefit for Ortolani

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Angelo Torriani

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
7 August 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

24 Nov 1865, 8:00 PM

Program Details

15th night - 2nd subscription.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Sleepwalker; Nachtwandlerin
Composer(s): Bellini
Text Author: Romani
Participants:  Maretzek Italian Opera Company;  Antonietta Brignoli-Ortolani (role: Amina);  Johanna Ficher;  Ettore Irfre (role: Elvino);  Giuseppe B. [basso] Antonucci (role: The Count)


Announcement: New-York Times, 20 November 1865, 5.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 22 November 1865, 7.

Announcement: New York Post, 24 November 1865.

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 24 November 1865.

Review: New-York Times, 25 November 1865, 5.

“There was another excellent house . . .  last night, when ‘La Sonnambula’ was given in a truly excellent manner.  We have never heard Sig, Irfre to better advantage than in the part of Elvino, and he fully deserved the great applause after the andante of the duet in the first act. He sang with truly artistic taste, and showed his fine high notes to great advantage.  Sig. Antonucci was very good as the Count, and his singing of the first aria was exceedingly good.  Signora Ortolani  did everything in her power to equal the artiste, who sang the part of Amina before her.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 25 November 1865, 4.

“Bellini’s beautiful opera, ‘La Sonnambula’ was produced last night . . . to a crowded audience. The favorable change in the weather gave the public an opportunity to venture out of doors. Old and hackneyed as ‘La Sonnambula’ is, it continues to be a universal favorite. Its melodies, so full of passionate tenderness and loving sentiment exert as much influence over the feelings as they did in times gone by, while the plot so touching, so natural and so powerful in its human pathos, awakens as keen and deep an interest as ever.

          The performance was for the benefit of Madame Ortolani, who sustained the role of Amina. Her rendering of the character was at once natural, graceful, and earnest.  She sang the music with feeling and sentiment; her execution was brilliant and well-articulated, and the whole performance was truly excellent. 

          Irfre, though tame and ineffective in the first act, arose to dramatic excellence in the second, and with the successful efforts of Ortolani and Antonucci, drew down thunders of applause. The chorus and orchestra did well, and the whole opera was a success.”

Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 25 November 1865, 8.

The event was well attended; the performance satisfactory. Mme Ortolani sang the “Amina” with much taste; the cavatina of the first act and the aria in the second were sung accurately; however, her performance does not move the audience, because her voice lacks the freshness and melting sweetness which is required for this part.

          In the finale of the second act – which was performed excellently and asked to be repeated by the audience – the beneficiary received a glamorous flower basket.

          Irfre did well as “Elvino,” Antonucci as ‘Count Luna’ just as well, although some parts were too high for his vocal range. Chorus and orchestra performed satisfactorily.

Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 27 November 1865.

" . . . . Friday, the performance of la Sonnambula was satisying, and judging by the crowd that thronged the hall, Mme Ortolani Brignoli couldn't have been unhappy with her profit. This singer, who has the immense merit of singing (for three-quarters of singers only know how to scream, and run aground on a scale of five notes), was rightfully applauded. M. Irfre, in the role of Elvino, was weak in the first act, but excellent in the second. M. Antonucci contributed abundantly to the good ensemble of the performance."