Grover German Opera: Les Huguenots

Event Information

Venue(s):
Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Leonard Grover

Conductor(s):
Carl Ansch├╝tz

Price: $.25 gallery; .50 family circle; $1 parquet, dress circle, balcony; $1.50 reserved seats; $2 reserved box

Event Type:
Band, Opera

Record Information

Status:
Published

Last Updated:
10 April 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

08 May 1865, Evening

Program Details

Closing night of the season.

Performers and/or Works Performed

1)
aka Hugenotten
Composer(s): Meyerbeer
Text Author: Scribe
Participants:  Grover German Opera Company;  Charles Lehman (role: De Ritz);  Heinrich Steinecke (role: Count de St. Bris);  Philip Kohn [Grover German Opera] (role: 2nd Monk);  Theodore Habelmann (role: both Tavannes and Bois Rose);  Charles Viereck [Grover German Opera] (role: Thoree);  Sophie Dziuba (role: Urbaino);  Isidore [baritone] Lehmann (role: Count de Nevers);  Johanna Rotter (role: Marguerite de Valois);  Pauline Berger [German Opera] (role: 2nd Lady of Honor);  Bertha Johannsen (role: Valentine);  Agnes Zimmermann (role: 1st Lady of Honor);  Charles Weisgerber [German Opera] (role: Cosse);  Anton Graf (role: 3rd Monk);  Ernst Riedel [Grover German Opera] (role: 1st Monk);  Karl Johann Formes (role: Marcel);  Alphonse Urchs [Grover German Opera] (role: Guard);  Giuseppe Tamaro (role: Raoul)

Citations

1)
Advertisement: New-York Times, 07 May 1865.

     Includes reviews of the May 3, 1865, performance of Les Huguenots from the New York Herald, New York Tribune, and New York World.

2)
Advertisement: New York Herald, 08 May 1865, 7.

      Includes reviews of the May 3, 1865, performance of Les Huguenots from the New York Herald, New York Tribune, and New York World.

3)
Announcement: New York Herald, 08 May 1865.

     “German Opera – Les Huguenots – The unexceptional manner in which Mr. Grover’s company produced Meyerbeer’s grand opera, on Wednesday evening last, renders it necessary, as we presumed it would, to reproduce it.  It will, therefore, be given this (Monday) evening, with the same powerful cast as before, Formes assuming his great role of Marcel, the finest in all his repertoire.  His old self – in the acting especially – shows out in stronger colors in this part than in any he has sung this season.  It will be impossible in the brief time left to this company for the fulfillment of the programme to present Les Huguenots again, and this, combined with the fact that the opera is produced in very splendid style as regards scenery, costume, chorus and orchestral effect, will no doubt be sufficient to draw a large house to-night.”

4)
Article: New-York Times, 08 May 1865.

      “It is announced, somewhat abruptly as it seems to us, that the season of German opera will end with this evening’s performance.  We have of course seen, and with constant regret, that the attendance was not of a remunerative character, but the Academy has not been worse off in this respect than any other place of amusement.  The mute agony of that terrible 14th of April, has not yet been comforted.  With the last few days there has, however, been a more cheerful disposition on the part of the public, and we certainly expect that Mr. Grover would be able to profit by it.  He is the very last man to be discouraged.  We have not in fact heard him complain.  Still, as we see it announced that the season will positively close with to-night’s performance of ‘Les Huguenots,’ we may reasonably conclude that he has urgent reasons for his course of action.  The business, in truth, has been bad, and the company quarrelsome.  So far as the members of the latter are concerned, it became absolutely necessary to disband them, and so dispose of certain antagonistic elements which interfered with the free action of the management.  Mr. Grover, who has, we believe, prospered with the German opera, will, we presume, speedily crystallize a new company.  The public will be glad to see him return to management, for he has displayed energy and a desire to please.  In the meantime the wreck will drift through the country.  There will be half a dozen German opera companies, and in six months as many failures.  No one should neglect the opportunity of hearing Meyerbeer’s grandest work to-night.  It is excellently rendered by Mr. Grover’s artists.”

5)
Announcement: New-York Times, 08 May 1865, 4.
6)
Review: New York Herald, 09 May 1865.

     “Les Huguenots was given last night at the Academy with a very full cast, to a remarkably good house considering the miserable weather.  Probably the announcement that the season of German opera was to come to a close with the performance of last evening induced a large attendance.  The season, although in many respects successful, appears to have been attended with so many difficulties to the management that it became necessary to bring it to a conclusion sooner than was originally intended.  The fact, often experienced before, that an impresario is not independent of the tempers and jealousies common to artists, as to all men, has, we believe, been exemplified very strongly in the case of Mr. Grover.  However, although German opera is for the time suspended, it is not improbable that it will be renewed under the same management at no very distant period.  Whatever may have been the troubles of Mr. Grover, the public have no reason to be dissatisfied with a season in which, short though it was, eight different operas were produced with a great deal of care, no little expense, an orchestra, the fullest perhaps that has ever played in opera in the Academy, and a cast which was only unfortunate for the manager because it was too strong.”

7)
Review: New York Post, 09 May 1865.

     “With a brilliant and effective performance of the “Huguenots” last night, the German opera season came to a close.  Dissension among the artists, rather than any special lack of pecuniary success, is the cause of the suspension of the enterprise.  The house last night was so good that any manager might have well felt encouraged to continue the operatic campaign.  But there are vague rumors about a possible supplementary season for the production of Gounod’s ‘Mireille.’

     During the recent two or three weeks of opera, Mr. Grover’s company has produced an unusual variety of lyric works.  ‘Martha,’ the ‘Magic Flute,’ ‘Faust,’ ‘Fidelio,’ ‘Robert le Diable,’ and the ‘Huguenots’ have all been performed in very satisfactory style.”

8)
Review: New-York Times, 09 May 1865, 5.

     “There was an exceedingly fine house last evening to witness the final representation of ‘Les Huguenots,’ and the regret was general that it should, indeed, be the only remaining opportunity of hearing Meyerbeer’s grand work.  Mr. Grover’s season terminated with the evening, and for the present, at least, we shall have no more of German singers or German music.  The opera was rendered with the same effect that we recorded on the occasion of its first production here a few nights ago.  It is unnecessary to speak in detail of a combination which we shall probably never hear again.  The artists, orchestra and chorus were generally all good, and the satisfaction of the audience was complete.

     And so ends the last grand experiment of a national opera which appealed to the third largest German community in the world.  Our only regret is that Mr. Grover cannot clearly see his way to a few extra performances, at which Gounod’s ‘Mireille’ and Wagner’s ‘Tannhauser’ – works which we are persuaded would attract admirable audiences – could be played.  It was for many reasons necessary, we know, to allow the present contracts to expire.  Inharmonious elements had crept into the company, and they neutralized the best efforts of the manager.  Moreover, it was not desirable that the company should be reengaged for any lengthened period, in view of the uncertain condition of all kinds of amusement.  Still, a few nights devoted to the operas we have named, would, we are sure, prove remunerative to the management.  We must be content, however, with what we have had, and look forward to next season for more.”

9)
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 09 May 1865, 4.

     “Last Night of the German Opera.  It is generally understood that the performance last night will close the season, very prematurely.  It was supposed that the season would continue far into June, but there seems to have been some discordant element in the Company - some uneasy spirits who would not be contented, and have endeavored to disturb the peace, and at last, succeeded, temporarily at least, in dissolving the best German Opera Company that we have ever had in New York. We do not pretend to be behind the scenes - we do not know who is to blame, but as far as we can understand, the trouble began far down among the basses, and as nothing can stand without a bass, the whole superstructure toppled over.  We are satisfied that Mr. Grover has done his best; he has proved himself a most capable and enterprising manager; he has been the savior of the German Company.  He took hold of it when it was miserably down at the heels, when it was literally in a dying condition, when it had passed all hope, and by his prompt and able direction, his unwavering determination, and his strict business habits, lifted it up to prosperity and carried it successfully through season after season down to the present day, when there is defection in the camp, and the many will suffer for the folly and ingratitude of the few.  Mr. Grover will undoubtedly reorganize his company, and when he does we trust he will so bind down the element of rebellion, that it will be unable to rise to disturb the harmony of the whole.

     It is possible that Mr. Grover will arrange matters so that he will give two or three performances of Gounod’s new opera, Mireille, which has never yet been heard in New-York.  We hope that he will succeed.

     We were much pleased by the performance of last night.  Formes was as grand as upon the first occasion; his voice was good, his action emphatic, and there are few at the present day who exhibit such high dramatic power, and such a breadth of conception of character.  He is one of the few artists who can be classed as of the first grade.  Long may he retain his powers.

     Tamaro, Weinlich and Habelman [sic] were severally excellent, although Tamaro persisted in singing all the time at the very top of his voice.  He seems incapable of condescending to a middle tint.

     Both Madame Rotter and Madame Johannsen deserve generous appreciation and decided approbation.  Their efforts are so good and so artistic, and they are so thoroughly conscientious in all they undertake, that we cannot but award them the credit they so richly deserve.  Mlle. Dziuba is a rising and most promising young artist; she has a fresh and charming voice, her style is good, and she seems to strive to excel.   She has, beside, the incomparable gift of beauty, both of form and feature.  We hope that the chance will be given her to keep before the public, for she promises to be a most important and welcome addition to our operatic strength.

     The orchestra, under the direction of Carl Anschutz, was more than usually excellent, and the chorus, with the exception of one or two bad slips in the third act, was as good as usual.  There was a very good attendance.  The houses are growing larger on each performance; it is a pity that the season should close just as the tide of success is setting in.”

10)
Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 17 May 1865, 114.

"The season for the German Opera ended weakly.  Grover is said to have lost thousands of dollars.  This happened partly due to unfavorable circumstances in this time period, but also due to the mismanagement of the Opera and the lack of orderly behavior within the ensemble.  There was constant nagging and quarreling among the members of the opera; a behavior that can not be observed in any other “nation” to this extent than in the German.  Although the Italians were not very harmonious either, their disputes did not affect the repertoire or the casting as much.  Another reason for the lack of success of the German Opera was the questionable vocal skills of the singers.  It is advisable to hire young, talented singers from Germany for the next season or the patient audience will be less supportive in the future."

[Preliminary translation]

11)
Review: New York Clipper, 20 May 1865, 46.

     “Grover’s season of German Opera at the Academy of Music has closed.  It was neither profitable nor productive of anything fresh, except a rumpus when two tenors wanted to sing one part.”