Funeral Mass for Agostino Rovere

Event Information

St. Stephen's Catholic Church

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
7 August 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

17 Dec 1865

Program Details

Memorial Mass for buffo Agostino Rovere.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Rossini
Participants:  Francesco Mazzoleni
Composer(s): Rossini


Article: New York Post, 14 December 1865.

     “Death of an operatic Artist. The thousands of visitors to the Academy of Music during the present season will add their regrets to those of his professional associates in hearing of the sudden death of Signor Rovere, the admired buffo singer. For several days he has been unwell, and, in consequence, ‘Puritani’ was announced for Wednesday night’s performance instead of ‘Crispino.’ About noon of that day Rovere became worse, but rallied a little later and so far from anticipating his speedy end, was engaged in making arrangements for singing at next Saturday’s matinee.  About five minutes before his death, he was talking to Ardavam, the baritone. His death was very sudden, for his previous illness gave no reason to anticipate such a result. It is thought by some of his friends that the fatal cause was heart-disease. He was very much liked by all the members of the opera company, and the manager, as a token of respect, closed the house in the evening, returning their money to the ticket holders. The funeral of the deceased will probably take place next Sunday at Rev. Dr. Cumming’s Church, in Twenty-eighth street.

     Signor Rovere came to this country in 1852 with Alboni, and in December [27th] of that year first sung at the Broadway Theatre [he sang in recitals with Alboni prior to this], in ‘Cenerentola,’ the cast including also Alboni, Sangiovanni, [Nicolò] Barili and Coletti. Rovere also sung as Sulpice in the ‘Child of the Regiment,’ and other characters. As the Marquis in ‘Linda di Chamounix’—a part written for him by Donizetti—he was especially good.

     After a long absence in Europe, Rovere returned to this country a few months ago. His charming, genial and artistic performance of the old cobbler in ‘Crispino’ has been one of the most satisfactory features of the present season. The last time he appeared on the stage was last Saturday evening, when he sang in this opera for the benefit of the French Benevolent Society. Rovere was about sixty years of age, and one of the last of the race of artistic, educated buffo-singers so popular twenty and thirty years ago.”

Article: New-York Times, 14 December 1865, 5.

     “Death of Signor Rovere.—It is with sincere regret that we are called upon to record the death of Signor Rovere, the well-known buffo-basso of the Academy of Music. The sad event took place quite suddenly yesterday afternoon, at the gentleman’s residence in Sixteenth street.  Although Signor Rovere has been ailing since Saturday last, it was not even apprehended that his life was in danger.  He suffered from an affection of the throat, and complained of severe pains in the chest. These afflictions, while they incapacitated him from singing, were not of a character to excite alarm. An hour before his death, indeed, he referred to the improvement which had taken place in the throat trouble, and his medical adviser even encouraged the hope that he might be able to sing on the coming Saturday, when ‘Crispino e la Comare’ was to be given. We need scarcely say that the sudden demise of an artist so universally respected and admired has thrown the little world of the Academy of Music into the greatest consternation and sorrow. Mr. Maretzek was so shocked at the event that he at once resolved, as a mark of respect to the deceased, to close the opera. There was in consequence no performance of ‘I Puritani’ last evening. The holders of tickets had their money refunded, and without exception expressed their regret at the melancholy tidings.

       Signor Rovere was an old favorite with our public. He came to America in 1853 [sic] with Mme. Alboni, and subsequently sang, under Mr. Maretzek's direction, with Mme. Sontag and others. He returned to Europe and remained there for several years, but was engaged by his former impresario for the present season. His success in the opera of ‘Crispino’ abundantly proved that his powers were still untouched. That admirable performance has rarely been equaled on the operatic stage, and our readers will recall with sad pleasure the genial breadth and humor which he threw into the character of the Cobbler. It was always a special merit with him that he never descended to coarseness. He was known indeed as one of the best artists in his specialty, and his triumphs extended to every leading opera house of the Old and New Worlds. The opera of ‘Linda di Chamounix’ was written expressly for him.  Signor Rovere was sixty years of age, and leaves a widow and children to mourn his loss”

Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 14 December 1865.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 15 December 1865, 8.

     Mr. Rovere, who died last Wednesday, was a favorite of the New York audience. He came to New York in 1853 with Mme. Alboni and later sang under Maretzek with Sonntag and others. He returned to Europe for several years and performed in various European theaters. Maretzek engaged him last summer for the New York opera again. Rovere became ill last Saturday; his condition, however, was not considered serious. The deceased was 60 years old and leaves behind a widow and several children.

Article: Courrier des √Čtats-Unis, 18 December 1865.

     [Begins with report of the benefit performance for the French Benevolent Society.] “. . . . But the shadow. . .is the death of that excellent Rovere, who contracted the illness to which he succumbed upon leaving the French performance, to whose success he had contributed so powerfully. Poor and lamentable artist, with what inspiration, with what fire he lent the assistance of his talent to this solemn occasion, that he understood was consecrated to the relief of those who suffer; and how he joyously made fun of his comrade the apothecary, as if he had a presentiment that all the drugs in the world would be powerless to save him!

     Rovere had performed wonders; he had put such fire into his role, that one would say that he had almost changed it, and that he had brought along his colleagues in unison. He was tired, overheated, overworked—at sixty-five years! It was cold; it had snowed; the snow piled up although the north wind was sharp; and there were six inches of half frozen mire on the street; Rovere left the theater after eleven o’clock, nearly midnight’ he didn’t find a carriage; he waited a long time; the cold penetrated him; then, tired of waiting, he left on foot, his feet in the frozen slush, his feet shaking. He went to bed, already indisposed; shivering overtook him; he had a sore throat, he coughed, and it got worse for two days; then it was better; then more fever, more sore throat; Wednesday morning he got up, he got dressed, he received some friends, he chatted gaily; at three o’clock he sat down at the table with one of them, and all of a sudden, without agony, without complaint, without anything, his head fell back, he fell back in his chair, he heaved a loud sigh; it was the end; Rovere was dead.

     Yesterday his funeral took place at Dr. Cummings’s church. He leaves memories of fellow-feeling, as a man and as an artist, among all who knew him; he leaves us French people remembrances of the good work he did at the end of his life.

     The loss of this artist leaves a great void in M. Maretzek’s company. Crispino, we believe, is dead, for this season at least, with Rovere. Bellini could, if absolutely necessary, fill the role of the cobbler, but who would fill that of his confederate the apothecary? Crispino was, with L‘Africaine, one of the two essential elements of the current opera season. . .”

Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 06 January 1866.

     from the 12/23/65 Springfield Republican, “Rovere died poor, and, with that generosity which is a peculiar characteristic of the dramatic profession a subscription was immediately taken up among the artists for the benefit of his widow. A grand mass for the repose of his soul was also celebrated, last Sunday, at Father Cumming’s church in Twenty-eighth street. We went in all seriousness of spirit, and came away feeling that we had assisted at a very bad theatrical performance.  Yes, it was particularly bad; rather more heartless than any funeral spectacle we had ever seen in Italy. A bon vivant droned through the service, and the music, for the most part out of time and tune, was of the earthiest description. Several artists assisted in selections from Rossini’s ‘Stabat Mater,’ Mazzoleni singing the grand tenor aria of ‘Cujus Animam’ and Antonucci delivering the ‘Pro Peccatis;’ and though their rendering of each was tolerable, yet the character of the music is so intensely operatic that one instinctively smells the foot-lights, whereby all religious feeling is destroyed. It is certainly true that Italians generally do not understand sacred music, and it is also certainly true that one rarely hears anything but jigs in the Catholic churches of New York. There is no particular necessity to praise the musical abominations one has to endure in Protestant churches, but at all events they attempt to be devotional, and if singers have any feeling, which occasionally happens, the religious element may be brought out. The modern mass is merely bastard opera, and not long since we were ‘played out of the house’ to a lively air from ‘Martha.’ Surely we pitied poor Rovere’s soul that it required such mumbling and such singing to get to heaven! Requiescat in pace.”