Maretzek Italian Opera: Poliuto

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Max Maretzek

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
24 April 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

27 Sep 1865, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Performers and/or Works Performed


Announcement: New-York Times, 26 September 1865, 5.

For Lucrezia Borgia.

Advertisement: New-York Times, 26 September 1865, 7.

For Poliuto.

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 26 September 1865, 5.
Advertisement: New York Post, 27 September 1865.
Announcement: New-York Times, 27 September 1865, 4.

For Il Poliuto.

Advertisement: New-York Daily Tribune, 27 September 1865.

“Zucchi is heard and seen to the best advantage in this opera.”

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 27 September 1865.
Announcement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 27 September 1865.
Review: New-York Times, 28 September 1865, 5.

“‘Amusements. Academy of Music.—Il Poliuto’ can hardly be termed a strong opera, although the music in many respects is of that open and general character which pleases the masses and should ‘draw.’ People, however, take the work for granted, and are ‘pleased calmly’ as Walpole was with the statues at Florence. The opera was revived last evening for the purpose, we presume, of bringing forward Made. Carozzi-Zucchi and Signor Massimiliani. The rentrées of these tried and valuable artists were, we need barely say, entirely successful. The lady is in excellent condition, and in the second and third acts displayed that intensity of style and abandon for which she is famous. In the earlier scenes her voice did not appear to be thoroughly in command, and it was only in the splendid finale of the second act, and in the familiar piece of the last, (‘Sounds of Harps Angelical,’) that she was at once impassioned and full toned. The acting of Mme. Zucchi was statuesque, graceful and spirited. It is always good.

          Signor Massimiliani was in admirable voice, and sang and acted with rare spirit. We have seldom heard this excellent tenor to greater advantage. Signor Bellini was, of course, superb. The orchestra and chorus, too, were capital.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 28 September 1865, 5.

“A very large and brilliant audience was present to witness Donizetti’s fine Opera Seria, ‘Il Poliuto.’ The work contains much fine writing; the choruses are marked in character and impressive; and the ensemble pieces full of dramatic power. There is little in the music to tickle the ear; it is somber and passionate, and, although the stretti of the arias have the inevitable voluable Italian swing, in which sound greatly prevails over sense, still there is a gravity and an earnestness about the music which elevates it in a measure to the subject. If it does not possess the profoundity of religious faith, in calmness, its depth and its sustained enthusiasm, it has a warmth of passion, a wild devotion, the blending of the religious and the human sentiment, which is intensely dramatic, and in certain situations greatly exciting.

          Massimiliani opens the opera, after the introductory chorus, and his appearance was hailed very warmly. He was in admirable voice, and sang with much passion. His one great fault is the want of repose. He has a voice of grand power, and if he would only use it with more moderation he would have but few rivals. As it is, in passages of power it is immediately effective.

          Zucchi was received with more enthusiasm than our fashionable audiences usually bestow upon artists, no matter how popular they may be. This, doubtless, inspirited her, for she sang her aria and cabaletta in the first act very finely. She has in truth a noble, a splendid voice, equal to every demanding Opera Seria, and in point of passionate expression and high dramatic declamatory powers, she has had but two rivals in this country. If she lacks the inspired dignity of a prophetess, she possesses all the passionate impulse and devotion of the true woman, and as an actress she may have had rivals, but no superior.

          Bellini was in admirable voice, and sang with his usual force and spirit. He bore himself with dignity and acted with grace and force.

          The two great features of the opera were the trio leading to the finale to the second act, which was sung with great force and expression, and drew down a unanimous encore. A little more light and shade would have rendered it more artistic, but still it took the audience by storm, and therefore pleased the majority. The other point was the celebrated conversation duet in the third act, in which Zucci and Massimiliani created a perfect furore. They certainly sung it grandly and deserved the storm of applause which greeted them.

          The choruses were excellently sung throughout, and the orchestra worked well together. In every respect the opera was a marked success.’

Review: Courrier des √Čtats-Unis, 29 September 1865.

“Wednesday, the performance of Poliuto had attracted less of the public to the opera than that of Faust. Not that there wasn’t a very good house, but one could breathe better and the halls were less crowded. Poliuto, we don’t know why, has never been among the most popular operas in New York; nevertheless, fifteen measures of the great ensemble in the second act are worth more than some entire works that have the gift of attracting a crowd.

          On this occasion, Mme Carozzi-Zucchi reappeared before the public. We have found the great artist again, always dramatic, always passionate, always complete. From the full height of her talent and with all the brilliance of her voice, Mme Zucchi dominates that magnificent ensemble of the second act; one hears her amidst the noise of the chorus and orchestra; her impetuosity captivates the entire audience. The same [goes] for the duet in the third act. Well done! Here’s a true artist, who feels what she sings, understands the state of affairs, becomes inspired with the situation, and identifies with it. Donizetti certainly wouldn’t have dreamed of a more magnificent interpreter for the role of Pauline, when he was writing Les Martyrs.

          M. Massimiliani has changed, and changed much to his advantage. His voice is fuller, better timbred and more extended. His middle, which was weak, has acquired strength. He also shades more artfully, and we think that the young tenor hasn’t let the past year be lost in idleness. He also acts with more fire, and it’s right that he shared the honors of the evening with Mme Carozzi-Zucchi. He was at the same high level as his partner in the second act, and he contributed with her to having the septet encored. Called back with Mme Zucchi, he shared all the applause with her. We have already noted, last Monday, the remarkable progress of M. Massimiliani, in a Salve-Maria that he sang in a church at a solemn family occasion.

          We have also rendered justice to M. Bellini often enough to be permitted to speak the truth about him sometimes. He is frankly bad in the role of Severo. He doesn’t sing; he screams, and in screaming, he succeeds in forcing his voice and delivering intolerable false notes. M. Bellini is nevertheless endowed with a beautiful enough voice to not have to resort to shouting. Without doubt, this flaw has brought [him] success, but he wouldn’t know how to please those who think that the art of singing isn’t the art of bawling.

          In finishing, let’s congratulate the chorus and orchestra. It’s easy to perceive that M. Maretzek has imported choristers from Europe [who are] broken-in to the trade.”

Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 07 October 1865, 233.

[Preliminary translation]

Excerpts from a long review on multiple Maretzek Italian Opera performances.

          “The Italian opera was well attended despite the dispute between the Herald and Maretzek. . .

          The young man Signor Massimiliani appears to be freeing his beautiful and strong voice from the slag that inhibited it in previous seasons. His tones were freer, rounder, and better than before, and he has also developed more fire and liveliness in his performance. . .

          Mad. Zucchi, as Pauline, can celebrate another triumph. She is singing the role with dramatic expression and musical correctness. Signor Bellini won a favorable impression owing to the magnificence of his voice, which we think has a metallic quality. He sings with fire and dramatic accent, but his voice is not warm enough. Furthermore, he lacks nuance and is not diverse enough with the colors of his voice.”