Maretzek Italian Opera: La favorite

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Angelo Torriani

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
29 August 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

26 Feb 1866, Evening

Program Details

American debut of Poch.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka La favorita; The Favoured One
Composer(s): Donizetti
Text Author: Royer, Vaƫz


Advertisement: New-York Times, 22 February 1866.
Announcement: New York Post, 26 February 1866, 4.
Announcement: New-York Times, 26 February 1866, 5.
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 26 February 1866, 5.

     Poch “has a reputation and has made fine successes in various opera houses abroad, and therefore much pleasure may be expected from her performance.”

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 26 February 1866.
Review: New-York Times, 27 February 1866, 4.

     “The début last evening of Senorita Carmelina Poch—a Spanish prima-donna who has recently been added to Mr. Maretzek’s troupe—was in every way successful.  The lady possesses a voice of unusual power, and uses it with skill.  It is a soprano of excellent quality; clear, ringing, free alike from harshness and trembling, and just and absolute in intonation.  The lower part is not very strong, but Mlle. Poch knows how to make the most of it.  Her style is earnest and thoroughly dramatic; the rôle of Leonore is therefore well adapted to display her abilities to the greatest advantage.  That these are great admit of no doubt.  They were at once appreciated by the audience, who called the lady out twice after the first act, and subsequently after every other portion of the opera.  The rôle of Leonore has not been heard to such advantage for many years.  We congratulate Mr. Maretzek and the public on this timely acquisition to the company.

     The general distribution was effective.  Signor Irfre sang tastefully and well.  The role, however, is too dramatic for his power.  The finale to the third act suffered in consequence.  Signor Bellini was in very fine voice, and rendered the amplest justice to the music of Alfonso.  Signor Antonucci was a tame Balthazar.  The terrors of the Church were not much in his hands, and not equal to its consolations.  His smooth and powerful voice was nevertheless heard to occasional advantage.  The chorus was good, and the orchestra, although a little too brassy, was held firmly in hand by Signor Torriani.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 27 February 1866, 8.

     “The first appearance of Senorita Carmelina Poch attracted a very brilliant and a much larger audience than we expected would grace the performance of La Favorita. Though but little had been said about the debutante, rumors of superior excellence got bruited abroad, so that a society excitement was aroused, and the critical amateurs turned out in great force. Expectation was not very highly raised, but the result would have fully justified a more impressive excitement.

     Senorita Carmelina Poch is attractive in appearance, well formed, plump in figure, with graceful outlines, with a countenance at once flashing and piquant. She is a thoroughly trained actress, composed, self-possessed, with a good stage walk, and a free and emphatic gesticulation. Her voice has strong points, the lower tones being pure, clear, powerful and resonant, with much sympathetic quality.  The middle voice is smooth and equal, but somewhat dead, its spontaneity having been impaired. The upper notes, though not effective in passages of medium power, is very telling in the fortes, and in passionate declamation.  She manages her voice with much skill, but she cannot, or does not control sufficiently to avoid that tremolo, which is far more pronounced than that of Zucchi, a few months ago. Zucchi has conquered it in a great measure, and has thereby overcome the one great fault of her style, and now wins golden opinions from all.  Senorita Poch will do well to modify this defect speedily. She is very earnest and impassioned, she phrases with marked dramatic force, and is altogether an artist of unquestionable ability. Her pronunciation lacks somewhat in warmth and breadth, but her manner is so impulsive, that these wants are but little observed. She sang ‘Ah Mio Fernando’ with much dramatic power; the andante was specially excellent, and the finale was brilliant and effective. The alterations she made, excluding the high notes, were judicious, and did not detract from the character of the composition. Her duet with Bellini, and that passionately dramatic duet with Fernando, in the last act, were admirable in earnestness and fervor of expression, both vocally and dramatically. She was most warmly received, was frequently called out, and was loudly applauded throughout.  She made a success, and we congratulate the management in having secured the services of so excellent an artist.

     Bellini excelled all previous efforts, so far as pure and classic singing is concerned. He approached nearer to the standard of Badiali than any other since that great artist left us. Only once did he indulge in a little bombast in the stereotyped close of the solo in his duet with Leonora; but we forgave him for that, because of his surpassing excellence in all else. His voice was simply beautiful, rich, round and steady, and grandly sonorous. Bellini has made a great mark in this part of Alphonso.

     Irfre sang very sweetly in the pathetic passages, but his want of power was sadly felt in the points of emphatic notion and passion. Still he phrased with judgment, and acted with much spirit. Antonucci sang the role of the Priest well and impressively. The quartette in the third act was a little shaky, but the concerted music generally was well performed.

     There was such decided evidences of approbation throughout and at the close of the opera, that the Management announces La Favorita, for the last time, on Friday evening.”

Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 27 February 1866, 8.

     The debutante Carmelina Poch was a complete success. She possesses a strong, full and round sounding voice and has excellent control over it. Although somewhat timid in the first act, the audience received her warmly from the start. She had found complete confidence in the third act, in which she impressed in the big scene and aria. The performance of the opera all in all left little to wish for, except more confidence in the performance of chorus and orchestra.

Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 04 March 1866, 4.

     The interest in performances of the Italian opera has decreased significantly, although the director does a lot to attract the audience i.e. offering a well-selected and diverse program and introducing new performers. Poch’s debut was very successful. Her mezzo soprano is very even, full and strong in the middle range; however, her lower range is not as pleasant sounding. She acts with taste, expressiveness and fire. Unfortunately she has a tendency to express deeper feelings with tremolos. Her dramatic performance is evidence of talent and experience. Several times, audience members called her name during a scene and the duet with Bellini was repeated by request of the audience.

Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 05 March 1866, 116.

     We prefer this opera to Don Sebastian. It has a more melodious flow and is just as efficiently done. Because this opera was written for the Paris Opera, it has a French – dramatic accent to it. This work is very demanding for the performers, not only in regard to singing but also in regard to acting.

     The Italians of the Academy of Music can only partly fulfill these requirements. Neither Antonucci (bass) nor Irfre (tenor) have strong enough voices to excel in their roles. Therefore the two scenes of the escape and the sword were not as impressive as they usually are. Mlle. Carmelina Poch gave her debut as “Leonore”. She possesses a strong mezzo soprano voice just as a strong-build physique. Her voice is well trained except for the lower range, however; she is not very skillful. She avoided any little trill or ornamentation and also breathed too often. All in all, her performance was good, and the success she celebrated with the audience was well deserved. Bellini as “King” delighted with his beautiful voice as usual.