Maretzek Italian Opera: Dom Sébastian, roi de Portugal

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
25 September 2012

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

13 Feb 1866, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Dom Sebastian, King of Portugal; Dom Sebastien; Don Sebastian
Composer(s): Donizetti
Text Author: Scribe


Advertisement: New-York Times, 10 February 1866.
Announcement: New York Post, 12 February 1866, 3.

     The production will feature “the too-much neglected tenor Massimiliani in his best part, and Bellini in a character which he assumes with touching histrionic effect, and admirable vocal ability.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 12 February 1866, 5.

     “The event of the present week will be the revival tomorrow night of Donizetti’s master-work, ‘Don Sebastian.’  Our readers have not forgotten how admirably this was given last year.  It has been revived with all the care of a new production.  The caste is the same as before.  It will introduce Signor Massimiliani in a rôle which exactly suits his voice.”

Announcement: New-York Times, 13 February 1866, 4.

     “Donizetti’s fine opera of ‘Don Sebastian,’ which it will be remembered was the success of last season, will be revived to-night.  The caste is the same as before, except that Signor Antonucci assumes the rôle formerly played by Signor Susini—a change which will not be regarded with disfavor by the majority of the habitués.  A new danseuse makes her debut, Mlle. Leontine Vidal, in the ballet.”

Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 13 February 1866, 8.

     “Don Sebastian contains some exceedingly beautiful music—some of Donizetti’s finest thoughts, and in character it is strongly marked. It is a work that every one should hear, for it has other merits than a few scattered but catching melodies.”

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 13 February 1866.
Review: New York Post, 14 February 1866, 2.

     “The revival of Donizetti’s most elaborate opera last night . . . was another addition to the operatic successes of the season. The work was withdrawn about long enough to give it a new zest, and not so long that its beauties were forgotten. The first act, although introducing all the principal characters, passed off tamely as far as applause was concerned; but the ringing duet, ‘Fa core mio re,’ sung superbly by Zucchi and Massimiliani, suddenly awoke the audience to a burst of enthusiasm, and was the first of repeated expressions of gratification. The concerted pieces of the fourth act received its usual encore.

     It was a pleasure indeed to see Zucchi released from the barbaric disfigurements of her part in ‘L’Africaine.’ Her costume in ‘Don Sebastian’ is, however, quite different from that she wore in the same opera last year. The open skirt and the velvet trousers are abandoned, and the usual Oriental or Turkish dress adopted. In the change of costume in the last act lady visitors will recognize, though arranged in a new style, the materials of the quaint garb which attracted so much attention last year. In her singing last night Zucchi was fully up to her usual standard.

     Massimiliani sang better than ever, and should be heard oftener.  Maretzek has in this singer, in Mazzoleni and Irfre, a tenor force of which few operatic companies can boast.

     Bellini last night sang his part well, excepting the barcarole in the last act, which was not up to his usual standard. Antonucci as the Inquisitor gave the best representation of the part we have yet had.”

Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 14 February 1866, 8.

     The current carnival festivities and balls influence the attendance of theater performances. Consequently this event was not sold out as it would usually be. The performance was good. Massimiliani has improved significantly; his voice sounded fuller, purer and freer than before. He performed the song “Deserto in terra” with emotion, creative expression and without forcing the high notes as he used to do. His ‘Don Sebastian’ was a decent performance.

     Zuchi [sic] was in excellent shape and stirred the rather reserved audience to enthusiastic applause and da capo requests with the grande duet in the second act with Massimiliani. Antonucci did satisfactorily; however, his voice does not have the strength and heaviness to impress in big stage operas. Bellini did well as usual.

     The improved stage scenery pleased just as well as the new dancer, Mlle. Vidal.