Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
17 July 2013
“The second ‘off-night’ experiment—Mr. Maretzek’s second attempt to add another to the list of our opera nights—has proved a success. The performance of ‘Puritani’ last evening was attended by a generous audience by no means chary of applause. The opera, too, was well-rendered. Miss Kellogg, as Elvira, dressed and looked exquisitely, and sang with a tender grace eminently befitting the part. In the polacca, which was encored, she displayed a brilliant facility of execution, attracting high notes and darting off staccato ones with thorough success.
The Liberty duet, superbly sung by Antonucci and the invaluable Bellini, was also encored. Irfre, the tenor, thinks that Arturo is one of his best parts, and the public will agree with him. He showed refined taste in the singing of the A te O Cara, and in the delicious and usually unappreciated duet of the last act.
The opera, however, was mutilated. Perhaps for the first time that the ‘Puritani’ has ever been given here the sacred chorus of Puritans behind the scenes, and the festal chorus which follows it, were omitted. The omission of the bass aria of the second act has become the rule rather than the exception, though with a new artist like Antonucci there were not a few who expected it would be restored. As to the music of Enrichetta, that is invariably cut, though last night the usually slighted part had in Madame Ficher a representative interesting and elegant in appearance, and quite up to the limited vocal requirement of the part.”
“Academy of Music.— Bellini's opera of ‘I Puritani’ was given here last evening to an unusually brilliant house, brilliant we mean for Tuesday, the least popular of the opera off nights. The distribution was excellent, and the performance in consequence was exceedingly well balanced and satisfactory. Miss Kellogg's Elvira is well known. The graceful music of the role suits her voice, and its occasional brilliancy is very acceptable when so delicately and musically rendered as it was last evening. Miss Kellogg was in fine voice. Signor Irfre improves rapidly on acquaintance. He is an admirable tenor, and a thoroughly good artist in every sense of the word. We have not for many years had a better Arturo. From the exquisite scena of the first act to the concluding duet of the last act he was earnest, impassioned and good. In the latter, indeed, he excelled himself, surprising everyone with the power of his voice and the control which he exercises over it. The piece had to be repeated. Indeed, the encores of the evening were numerous enough, beginning with the polacca and ending as we have mentioned. Signor Bellini and Signor Antonucci were also in capital voice, and sang and acted with equal spirit. The liberty duet was given with great gusto. In all respects the performance was a good one, and will bear repetition.”
The cast of the opera was very appropriate. Mrs. Kellogg’s clear and light voice suits this part very well, and she also impressed as an actress.
Bellini and Antonucci also sang and acted very well in their respective roles. They sang the duet at the end of the second act with such fervor that the audience demanded an ‘encore’. Irfre was in good voice and performed the slow and solemn parts of his solos with skill. The role of Lord Arthur is a pleasant one for tenors. They do not have much to do in this opera: “in the first act there is little to do, in the second act nothing and in the second not much.” In general, this opera was performed well; much better than in earlier seasons, where it was only used as a makeshift in between big opera productions.
" . . . .M.Bellini, cured of his cold, was applauded and called back . . .; we must say that it wasn't for his qualities that he earned his success, but for his faults. If, in place of shouting the duet in the second act, with M. Antonucci, he had simply sung, he wouldn't have enraptured the audience to the same degree."