Maretzek Italian Opera: L’Africaine

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Max Maretzek

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
29 March 2014

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

01 Feb 1866, 8:00 PM

Program Details

Opening night of winter season.

Performers and/or Works Performed


Advertisement: New-York Times, 16 January 1866.


Announcement: New York Post, 17 January 1866, 2.
Announcement: New York Post, 22 January 1866.
Announcement: New-York Times, 22 January 1866, 4.

     “The opera will be with us once more next week.  The season of twenty-four nights—it will be seen by an advertisement elsewhere—commences on Thursday, Feb. 1.  It will be devoted mainly to revivals.  The extensive repertoire of the past and previous seasons enables Mr. Maretzek to give unusual variety to his programmes.  L’ Africaine, will, of course, be repeated, and another opera by Meyerbeer, L’ Etoile du Nord, is to be reproduced, after a comfortable doze of eight years.  La Favorita and Dom Sebastien are also to be given—both works of interest and value.  The season terminates in March with a grand ball, which Mr. Maretzek promises shall be on the most liberal scale.  It will be rendered locally interesting by burlesque processions and caricatures of passing events.  Season subscribers to the opera are presented with a ticket for the ball, but the outer heathen will be called upon to pay ten dollars for the privilege of admission.  These opera balls are exceedingly popular in Europe, and we see no reason why they should not become so here.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 22 January 1866, 7.

Large ad previewing Maretzek opera season, listing operas to be given and some singers and roles.

Announcement: New-York Times, 30 January 1866, 5.

     “The opera under Mr. Maretzek's direction—the direction best worth having it under—commences on Thursday evening next.  We were right in supposing that the “African” would be the initial opera.  The interest in Meyerbeer's posthumous work is still unabated.  It was withdrawn—by the closing of the past season—before it had even satisfied the curiosity of the public.  We are sure that those who have heard it once, will be the first to take this opportunity of hearing it again.  In Europe it has swamped everything, and in New-York we know that it has drawn the largest audiences that could be contained in the Academy of Music.” 

Announcement: New York Post, 31 January 1866.
Announcement: New-York Times, 01 February 1866, 4.

     “We learn that the demand for boxes was never so great.”

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 01 February 1866, 4.

     “Mr. Maretzek’s company has been received with enthusiasm wherever it has appeared. In Philadelphia the first performance of L’Africaine produced $7,000, and in Boston on the same occasion $5,000. These receipts exceed any one night’s at the Academy of Music, but then we sustain the opera for the benefit of our sister cities, and the whole burden of expense falls upon us.”

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 01 February 1866.
Review: New-York Times, 02 February 1866, 5.

     “Mr. Maretzek's season opened last evening.  The house was crowded to its greatest capacity.  There was not a seat to be had, long before the performance commenced.  People contented themselves with the back ranges, and listened to a performance which in every leading respect was admirable. Meyerbeer's opera (L’Africaine) has not been given better in New-York.  We doubt if it has been rendered more excellently elsewhere.  Mr. Maretzek's artists have the work easily in the range of their voices, and the orchestral parts, from the long practice, are rendered with a clearness which can only be attained by success and practice.  The ‘African’ is a success with the public, and with those critics who can recognize the fact that the best composer must sometimes travel over ground which he has visited before.  To-night ‘Crispino e la Comare’ will be given.”

Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 02 February 1866, 8.

     The performance was attended by a large elegant audience. It was performed well, although this opera appears to lose its “freshness”.