King Lear

Event Information

Niblo's Garden

Harvey Bradley Dodworth

Price: $.50; .75 parquet stalls; .25 family circle

Event Type:
Play With Music, Orchestral

Record Information


Last Updated:
20 January 2012

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

29 Sep 1862, 7:45 PM

Program Details

Performers and/or Works Performed

Text Author: Shakespeare


Advertisement: New York Herald, 28 September 1862, 7.

Incidental music to King Lear.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 29 September 1862, 7.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 29 September 1862, 7.
Review: New York Post, 01 October 1862, 2.
“The theatres have only one done tolerably well this week, with the exception of Winter Garden and Niblo’s, where Booth and Forrest have filled the houses, notwithstanding the heat.”
Review: New York Clipper, 11 October 1862, 207.

“[A]t the close of the third act, Harvey B. Dodworth’s orchestra gave an extra treat, not mentioned or alluded to on the bills.  All the selections had been finely given by the orchestra, but then commenced some beautiful campanologian effects, reminding musicians of John Wilson’s accompaniments to the old Scotch song of ‘Caller herring,’ with a slight sprinkling from silver bells, like Moncrief’s ‘Bells of Calais.’  Hardly had the audience recovered from its breathless admiration, when the members of the orchestra began, as if at some remote distance, such sublime strains of vocal harmony, in addition to that played by their instruments, that we began to think the last scene of our favorite ‘Favorita’ must be going on.  The house was hushed into the most profound silence, but each face showed the gratification of ‘the most chaste of all the senses.’  A lake serenade reminded us of the old Scottish—

‘Sleep you, or wake you, lady fair,
Meegen, oh! Meegen, eh!
Tho’ high the wall, the jump’s not far,
Meegen, oh! Meegen, eh!” 

Before this time, many of the audience had taken a standing position, so as to survey the whole circuit of the auditorium, for the voices seemed to come from the ‘circumambient air,’ but the hearers seemed electrified with such heavenly harmony. Then followed some Don Giovannish Mozartean cadences, closing with one long (swelled but subdued) strain which seemed to come from some supernatural agency.  We venture the assertion that no hearer of it can ever forget this most unexpected and agreeable surprise.  The first thing that brought us ‘back to earth’ was seeing the musicians ‘cutting their lucky’ with a little more speed than usual. Down came the house with the most spontaneous and unanimous rounds of applause, and up went the curtain for the fourth act, at the close of which Mr. Hackett was most cordially called for, and received three rounds by way of recognition for his brilliant services.”