5 October 2012
“A select audience attended a charity concert . . . last evening. Madame la Comtesse sang a rondo from Lucrezia Borgia with much power and expression, and was rapturously encored. The charming duet from Donizetti’s Elisir d’Amore was splendidly rendered by Madame La Comtesse and Signor Fossati, whose voice was heard to much better advantage than at his first appearance in the Poznanski concert. His voice still lacks distinctness and sympathy, and seems to be utterly untrained in the use of the portamento, but we doubt not that with practice it will be much improved. Mr. Romeyn’s tenor is weak and husky in the upper register and of very slender calibre. Senor Villanova’s touch on the piano possesses much of the crispness and promethean power of Wehli. His fantasia on airs from Crispino e la Comare shows much originality and delicacy in handling the vapid and worthless themes of that opera. His version was far superior to the patchwork and cobbling of the operatic composer. Mlle. Stella Bonheur sang a pleasing romanza by Antonio Barili, director of the concert. This lady forms a creditable exception to the miserable concert vocalists with whom we have been for some time past afflicted. Her voice is strong but beautifully modulated, and possesses a perfect command of expression. We have not heard any voice this season which produces the crescendo and diminuendo in a more effective manner and has more tenderness and sweetness of tone than that of Mlle. Bonheur in the duet from Norma, Furtiva al Templo. In the trio from Robert Devereaux Madame la Comtesse de Ferussac showed considerable powers of execution, and dashed off some of the most difficult passages with ease and grace. We doubt not that such artistes as we heard last night at her concert could do much towards disabusing the public mind of the idea that the opera manuscripts of modern Italian composers, which have been universally discarded in Europe, contain a single noble thought or sentiment of music. Such a programme as Madame La Comtesse presented and carried through successfully is a relief from the ravings of Petrella or modern Verdi.”
Very scarcely attended event. Mlle. Stella Bonheur possesses a strong and beautiful mezzo soprano voice. She has improved her skills significantly, and we believe she belongs on stage rather than in the concert hall. We were told she will debut in the English opera The Doctor of Alcantara by Julius Eichberg composed and successfully staged in Boston.