Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
16 September 2012
Very well attended event. Elegant audience. This is not a splendid opera; however, it is better than other works of the composer.
“The ‘African’ was given last night to a very good house.”
Meyerbeer’s grand romantic opera, L’Africaine, was performed last evening to a crowded and brilliant audience, which filled every seat and almost every available standing-place.
The performance was fully equal to that of Thursday evening. The artists were in splendid voice, and acted and sung con amore. We do not know whether the labor to acquire this difficult music has or has not endeared it to the artists, but it is certain that they seem to throw their whole souls into its execution, and that their efforts are more successful than in any other opera in their repertoire.
Zucchi sang with grand emphasis and spirit; her voice was never as good as now, and her acting in the [illeg.] passionate scenes, was dramatically superb. We could hardly ask for anything better and we can [illeg.] hope to find her superior in this part. Mazzoleni, with his grand, manly voice and chivalric bearing, would seem to have been the model for the opera’s Vasco di Gama, so exactly does the character fit him. He is a faithful artist; he slights nothing. He steps into the character at once, and never for one moment forgets the situation. He is a great singer and a great actor, for he has grace and energy, passion and repose, and rises with the situation to a force of vehement expression, which is nothing short of artistic inspiration. Mazzoleni has few rivals, look where we will.
Bellini, too, is an artist of such unquestionable ability, that we cannot rank him lower than first rate in all that he attempts. He uses his fine voice with admirable taste and thorough skill, and fully identifies himself with every character he personates. He has so fine an appreciation of dramatic proprieties that every character receives discriminating justice at his hands. He can always be trusted, and his versatility embraces all, from the grand and passionate to the humorous and the burlesque. His Nelusko is a picture throughout, and, vocally or dramatically, could not well be surpassed.
We do not fear to assert that in the three artists above mentioned, the characters of Selica [sic], Vasco and Nelusko have proved the best interpreters of all who have yet appeared in L’Africaine either here or in Europe. This opinion is sustained by many competent experts who have heard L’Africaine abroad and have compared the performances. And the comparison carried farther, with orchestras and choruses, is favorable to New-York in all points except numbers. We have, therefore, a right to be proud of our achievement here, and the management to whom we are indebted for so much excellence, deserves the most liberal encouragement and support.
In all respects the opera was finely given last night, and we were glad to welcome Mr. Carl Bergmann to his seat in the Orchestra once more.”