Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
H. L. [impressario] Bateman
Price: $1.00; $1.50 reserved
4 July 2015
“The farewell concerts of Madame [sic] Parepa take place at the operatic catacombs, the Academy of Music, this week. Madame [sic] Parepa is a good but not a great artist, and is assisted by Levy, Carl Rosa and Mills—and by a full orchestra.”
“The second [Bateman] concert takes place tonight, when Mlle. Parepa will sing four pieces. The program is unusually varied, and it will undoubtedly attract another fashionable and crowded audience.”
“Notwithstanding the severity of the temperature last evening there was a fashionable attendance at the second of the Bateman concerts; sufficient every way to demonstrate that had the weather been only moderately good the Academy would again have been taxed to its utmost capacity.
The program was longer than usual and more interesting—there being fewer ballads and more music of a better kind. We do not quarrel with the ballads per se. It is undoubtedly a treat to hear a fine artist like Mlle. Parepa relate her pleasing experience at ‘Five o’clock in the Morning;’ nor is it possible to withhold our sympathies from a lady whose ‘Heart is on the Sea,’ and who may reasonably be expected to suffer some inconvenience from the loss of an important organ. But a singer can hardly hope to maintain her rank by singing such homely productions. Composers of every school have provided ample material for the concert-room, and the simple and grateful English ballad should, it seems to us, be reserved for secondary purposes—such as encores. These remarks, if they have any force, do not, we hasten to say, obtain it from last evening’s concert. They are suggested, indeed, by a change which we are anxious to approve. Mlle. Parepa’s pieces were in every way interesting and effective. Her voice, too, was much improved, and revealed a return of the grandeur which it exhibited when she first sang at the Academy. The cavatina from ‘Linda’ (O Luce da quest anima,) was cleanly and gracefully rendered, but with elasticity of voice rather than brilliance of execution. The distinction is by no means hypercritical. Remarkable voices are frequently gifted with a facility which takes the place of skill. They exhibit this native ability always to the satisfaction of the audience, because it is abundant and gratifying, and generally accomplishes results which a life-time cannot be certain to win. Mlle. Parepa, then, was good in Donizetti’s giggling piece. She was better in portions of Handel’s aria, ‘Let the Bright Seraphine,’ [sic] opening with a largeness of style which she had not heretofore exhibited, except in very inferior compositions. The lady enjoys an enviable reputation as an oratorio singer, and it is a thousand pities that we can not hear her in some work worthy of her fame. The cornet obligato by Mr. J. Levy was remarkable mainly for a profusion of wrong notes—possibly owing to the weather—and a dragging of the tune, which was certainly owing to the player. These obligati have survived the instruments for which they were written, but it is questionable if they ought to have done so. In the second part Mlle. Parepa sang the prayer from Wallace’s ‘Lurline’ with charming effect. It could not have been improved. So, too, with ‘Il Bacio,’ that sturdy friend of the concert-room, born here, and as it seems destined to live and die here. Both pieces were given with irresistible effect—the latter winning on encore.
The auxiliary aid at Mr. Bateman’s concert may fairly be described as faultless. There is literally nothing but praise to bestow on such artists as Mr. S. B. Mills, Mr. Levy and Mr. Carl Rosa. As, however, we have taken exception to Levy’s obligato playing, we are pleased to add that his solos were given with extraordinary effect. The orchestra—unusually accomplished in the gentlemen who formed it—was under the direction of that thoroughly admirable maestro, Herr Carl Anschutz.”
The first part of the review discusses the concert of January 6, 1866.
“The second concert, last evening, attracted a very large audience—much larger, indeed, than could have been expected, considering the intense coldness of the weather. Even one day’s rest had its effect upon the voice of Madam Parepa, rendering it more certain and more amenable to control. Certainly she used it very tenderly, nursed it carefully, and proved in so doing her thorough mastery of the art of vocalism. Her voice was brighter than at her first concert, and she executed the brilliant fioriture [sic] of ‘O luce di quest anima,’ and the rapid divisions of ‘Let the bright Seraphim,’ in the most facile and faultless manner, leaving nothing to be desired, save that her compelled reticence robbed us of some of her native power. Madame Parepa was cordially received in all she sang, and was encored in all, although she did not honor the calls.
She was assisted as before by Messrs. Levy, Rosa, and Mills, whose performance was not below the level of their reputation. Mr. Levy, indeed, played better than we have yet heard him in public, his charming andante solo being given with exquisite taste, purity of tone and passionate expression.
The orchestra, under the most able leading of Carl Anschutz, made up in efficiency what they lacked in numbers. They seemed a mere handful of men on that great Academy stage, but they played most admirably and we only regretted that we could not hear the same selections led by such a conductor with more ample materials under his control.”
Review covering all five concerts of January 6, 8-9 and 11-12, 1866. Very well attended. The programs did not vary much from the ones before. Even the performers were much the same except for Mills. However, even Mills repeated his usual pieces. We do not comprehend that a fine artist such as Mills is moving in the same circle (of people) all the time. We suggest for him to leave out his own compositions for a change. The audience has heard enough of them. Moreover, we advise that he should use the Chopin style music for other works more. Above all he should adopt a repertoire of brilliant pieces. He is able to play everything, and much better than anybody else. So why not use his talent in a more diverse way?
Mme Parepa gave a less favorable impression. She seemed very fatigued; the repercussions of the stress she must have been exposed to. What she is in need of, is peace and quiet.
Mr. Levy also seems indisposed. He is the highlight of the concert for the majority of people’ however, we are not among them.
The violinist Mr. Rosa will leave the ensemble next week to spend the summer in London, before moving back to his hometown Hamburg (Germany).
Anschütz conducted the orchestra as usual. We believe the orchestra could dare to play more demanding works than the Zampa overture.