Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]
9 July 2016
Madame Parepa’s Second Concert.—The second concert of Madame Parepa was very largely attended last evening. Notwithstanding the weather was intensely hot, and the concert given in the worst ventilated hall in this city, the reputation she had achieved at her first appearance attracted quite a crowd of fashionable people and artists. The overture of ‘Faust,’ by Spohr, a recondite work fitted only for musicians, was carefully and effectively played by the orchestra, the bold counterpoints being brought out in strong relief.
Madame Parepa chose for her first piece the grand and ever fresh scene from ‘Der Freyschutz.’ As a means of showing off the volume and compass of her voice, the selection was wise, but her execution of it was not all up to the standard. We have no fault to find with the mere vocalization, but the interpretation was weak, unimpressive, and undramatic. She was accompanied badly; the scena fared very indifferently. It is not suited for the concert-room, and we regret that she chose it. Still, her magnificent voice excited the utmost enthusiasm.
The second song was the ‘Nightingale’s Trill,’ which made so marked a sensation on the first night, and which she sung better, if possible, on this occasion. It is hard to imagine any vocalism more perfect than that exhibited by Madame Parepa in this song. The composition itself is charming, and she literally warbles it. It received a deafening encore, the plaudits lasting long after her return; but when the band struck up the symphony of ‘Il Baccio,’ in response to the encore, the applause was redoubled. This attractive show song she executed with faultless brilliancy; murmurs of applause burst out during its progress, but when she soared up with that bright pure voice into the higher regions of altissimo, without wavering or changing in [illeg.], the shouts of brava! brava! broke out spontaneously and enthusiastically from every part of the house.
In the second act Madame Parepa sang very graciously and elegantly Sir Henry Bishop’s cavatina ‘Bid Me Discourse.’ It is old-fashioned, but it contains graceful, melodial points, and sung, as it was on this occasion, it is very welcome to the concert-room. This being encored, Madame sat down to the piano and sang with infinite grace, archness, and spirit, a wild coquettish Spanish song, which was keenly relished by the foreign element in the audience, which formed a large proportion of the whole. Her last selection was the ‘Miserere,’ from ‘Il Trovatore,’ which she rendered with great vigor, power and passion. We may judge by this how grandly she would interpret such music on the stage. The arrangement was a very hybrid affair; the violin represents indifferently the tenor solo and the piano is but a thin substitute for the organ.
Madam Parepa has fully sustained the position we claimed for her in a former article. She is a thoroughly finished artist with a fresh, ample voice, of beautiful equality and of remarkable compass, her talents varied, her manners attractive, and in every point she puts forth claims to popular admiration. She has elicited this, and her success may be looked upon as complete.
The brilliant duo for Violin and Piano was very badly played by Messrs. Rosa and Danrouter [sic]. The violin was feeble beyond expression and the pianist left out his solo variation, played single scale passages instead of double, and otherwise omitted or altered to suit himself. Duos should either be thoroughly rehearsed, or not played at all. Both gentlemen, however, redeemed themselves afterward in their solo pieces.”
Part of a larger review on multiple Bateman concerts. (For more of the review on other concerts, see Bateman Concert: 1st on 09/11/65.)
Last night, Parepa also tried to sing “Wie naht sich mir der Schlummer” from Der Freischütz, which she was not quite successful with. The performance left us unmoved. It lacks the simplicity, intimacy and soulfulness this song needs. However, we greatly appreciate that she avoided ‘improving’ Weber by adding ornamentation, which we were afraid would happen. Mlle. Parepa sang the cavatina in German, with clear and correct pronunciation, another proof of the excellent training she has received.
The two gentlemen Rosa and Dannreuther performed, in addition to their solos, a duet with themes out of Rossini’s Guillaume Tell by Osborn and De Bariot [sic]. The performance was flawless. Mr. Rosa played the cantilena in a sweet and intimate fashion such as we have seldom heard before. Mr. Dannreuther meanwhile enchanted with bravura and elegance. His touch on the keyboard is strong and confident without sounding hard. The trills and difficult arpeggios were managed with ease and accuracy. His technique is therefore oustanding, yet we cannot say how versatile he is, since we have only heard him play salon pieces so far. We were told, however, that Mr. Dannreuther will play Beethoven next time.
The participation of the Thomas Orchestra makes the concerts entertaining, attractive and diverse for the highly appreciative audience. Mr. Thomas always offers interesting orchestral works, of that we can be certain of. For yesterday’s concert, he chose the overture of Faust by Spohr, which is hardly heard here, and an overture by Rietz in A major. The concert was very well attended and enthusiastically received. Tonight Mr. Bateman will give his first concert in Brooklyn.
“The Bateman Concert.—The second of the ‘Bateman Grand Concerts’ took place at Irving Hall, on Wednesday evening, and was well attended as on the occasion of the first appearance of the new artists. It was not our desire to analyze strictly the performance or relative merits of the performers in our report of the first concert. The fact is, that time is passed in which managers and speculators could import second rate singers and performers to this country and place them before the American people as ‘great’ and ‘grand’ artists. Europe is no longer our criterion by which to judge or take for granted the merits, powers and qualifications of an artist; quite the reverse, for those having little or no success here have frequently only to go abroad to be sure of making a furor. Mlle. Parepa comes to us with a good voice, superb method, and as a fine concert singer. A wonderful and great artist she is not. She lacks that great, passionate, dramatic power of expression without which no artist can be truly great. Nevertheless, Mlle. Parepa is an artist of many powers and undoubted excellence. Mlle. Parepa’s first appearance at this concert gave us the Grand Scena, from Der Freischütz, in a praiseworthy manner. The ‘Nightingale’s Trill,’ by Ganz, a pretty little song, was rendered with telling effect, and, being encored, was gracefully responded to with Arditi’s Il Baci. Mr. Dannreuther is a painstaking, conscientious young pianist, and, with proper and judicious application, will take his rank amongst the best. We suggest to Mr. Dannreuther a more careful and discriminate use of the pedal; also in his selection, to be guided more by his musicianly instincts and convictions than the fashion, which is to play something by Listz [sic]. Too many pianists take it for granted that anything with ‘Papa Listz’s’ name attached as its composer must be good. We are therefore often compelled to tolerate the most indifferent performances of some of the worst of his transcriptions. There are so many beautiful, dreamy, delicious little etudes of Chopin, Hensett, songs of Mendelssohn and others, that would be much more acceptable and effective in the concert room, that the pianist can never be at a loss to know from which to choose his or her repertoire. Herr Carl Rosa, violinist, performed De Beriot’s Fantasia de Ballet. Herr Rosa’s art of bowing is good—his intonation is bad; but the grace, ease and abandon with which he interpreted the Fantasie proved that he is in the right path and will yet reach our most sanguine expectations. The orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Thomas, performed the magnificent overture in A, opus 7, by Rietz, in a masterly and well conceived manner and was one of the more enjoyable features of the evening.”
“The Bateman Concerts.—The second of these thoroughly enjoyable entertainments came off Wednesday evening. The attendance and enthusiasm were even greater than on Monday night. Mlle. Parepa has undoubtedly won the best sympathies of our public. The lady’s efforts last evening were characterized by the same excellencies of style and voice to which we have already referred. In the scene from ‘Der Freischutz’ she was especially good, doing particular justice alike to the charming reverie of the opening movement, and the fussy, awkward and almost unsingable agitation of the second. The piece has rarely been heard to greater advantage. The ‘Nightingale’s Trill,’ to which we have already referred, obtained an encore. It possesses many elements of popularity, and is evidently destined to become a favorite. In the second part, Mlle. Parepa sang Bishop’s aria, ‘Bid Me Discourse,’ with great brilliancy. This was again encored, and the lady gave us one of those incomprehensible Spanish things, which are composed to equal parts of sentiment, chaff and mercantile shrewdness—accompanying herself on the piano. The last piece was the ‘Miserere,’ from ‘Il Trovatore,’ a pleasant mixture for voice, violin, piano and orchestra. It was admirably administered by the leading artists.
Both Mr. Dannreuther and Herr Rosa improve on acquaintance. The duo on themes from ‘William Tell’ was vigorously and artistically rendered by these gentlemen. The orchestra under Mr. Thomas’ direction was also good. Indeed, the only drawback to a most delightful evening was the excessive heat.”