Annual Benefit for the Italian School for Adults

Event Information

Residence of Dr. Ward

Manager / Director:
Wynant Van Zandt

Antonio Barili

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
19 November 2022

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

06 Apr 1866, Evening

Program Details

Ward’s “Viva dell’Italia” composed for this concert.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Shadow dance; Schattentanz; Shadow song
Composer(s): Meyerbeer
Text Author: Barbier, Carré
Composer(s): Verdi
Participants:  G. [basso] Fossati
aka Brightest eyes; Schonsten Augen
Composer(s): Stigelli
Participants:  H. R. Romeyn [tenor]
Composer(s): Ward
Participants:  Charles [tenor] Whiting
Composer(s): Rossini
Participants:  Antonio Barili;  Giovanni Sconcia


Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 31 March 1866, 7.

     “Next week the splendid mansion of Dr. Ward, in Forty-seventh-st., will be the scene of several brilliant musical reunions…

     The second entertainment will also be given at Dr. Ward’s mansion, on Friday evening next, April 6, and will be under the direction, musically, of Signor Antonio Barili, and Wynant Van Zandt, esq., will conduct all the details, and carry out the plan of the entertainment which he conceived. The occasion is for the benefit of the Italian School of Adults, and the entertainment will comprise scenes from operas, and a miscellaneous concert. In the scenes from operas, a number of young and beautiful amateur ladies will appear for the first time. The characters will be costumed we believe, and the debut of so much private talent will be specially interesting. The concert will be sustained by several already distinguished amateurs, and the whole performance will be both elegant and attractive.

     A few tickets for this entertainment are yet unsold, and may be procured of the Secretary, Signor Luigi T. Peretti, at his residence, No. 157 East Thirty-fourth-st.”


Announcement: New-York Times, 05 April 1866, 4.

     “Music in Fashionable Circles.—A popular and novel entertainment is coming off on Friday evening at the beautiful manor of Dr. Ward, No. 1 West Forty-seventh-street, for the benefit of the Italian School for adults. Several scenes from opera, not familiar to the public, will be represented by accomplished lady and gentlemen amateurs, under the direction of the well-known maestro, Signor Antonio Barili, who has undertaken this matter expressly to benefit this worthy institution. The ladies engaged in this affair are all pupils of Signor Barili. A few tickets yet unsold may be had at No. 158 East Thirty-fourth-street.”

Announcement: New York Post, 05 April 1866.

     “Dr. Ward, in compliance with a request from Maestro Barili, has granted to the Committee of the ‘Night School of Adult Italians’ of which the Italian Consul-General Chevalier Duke of Anfore Licignano is President, the use of the private theatre attached to his residence for a concert to be given there this evening, for the benefit of this deserving institution.

     Dr. Ward has shown his interest in this school not only by the offer of his theatre, but in volunteering to write a piece for the occasion—‘Viva Italia’—full of patriotic sentiment and love for Italy. Maestro Antonio Barili will assume direction of the concert, and his pupils will give [illeg.] proof of their talents and training. Mr. Fossati has also volunteered his services. The programme embraces several pieces from the original opera ‘Una Noche en Seville,’ written by Maestro Barili, the rehearsal of which gave good promise of an entire success. Tickets can be procured on application.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 09 April 1866, 6.

     "A very brilliant audience assembled at Dr. Ward’s mansion in Forty-seventh-st., to assist at a Concert given for the benefit of the Evening Free Schools for Italian adults. All the arrangements were intrusted to Wynant Van Zandt, esq., whose tact and experience in such matters point him out as emphatically the right man in the right place. The plan of the programme was peculiar, consisting with but few exceptions, of scenes from Operas, (Italian, American and Spanish). Several of these were sung in costume, which gave to them life and spirit, and rendered them doubly interesting. The singers were mostly amateurs, assisted by professional artists: Signor Fossati, Mr. During and Signor A. Barili, who directed all the musical arrangements ably.

     The most brilliant vocalist of the evening was undoubtedly Mrs. Charles Farnham, who has a voice of considerable compass, which has been carefully educated. Her execution is light, clear, and rapid, and her trill is excellent. She executed the ‘Ombra leggeru’ from Dinorah, with grace and brilliancy, attacking the difficult intervals firmly, and rendering the dashing fioriture with accuracy and brio. The scene from Dr. Thomas Ward’s opera, the Gipsey’s Frolic, was capitally sung and acted by Mrs. Farnham, Miss Totten, and Mr. Farley. The ladies acted with ease and grace, and Miss Totten threw so much arch spirit into her rôle that she was honored by a unanimous encore. The music is pastoral in character, and very pleasing. The scene from Barili’s opera, ‘A Night in Seville,’ was sung effectively and spiritedly by Miss Totten, Miss Allen, Mr. Farley, and Signor Fossati. Miss Totten has a fine voice, which has been well cultivated, and sings with taste and expression. Miss Allen has fine upper and lower notes, but the middle register requires careful and tender cultivation. Barili’s music is excellent; it has flowing melodies, the accompaniments are brilliant and artistic, and it is very marked in character. The basso solo and chorus, from Nabucco, was admirably sung by Signor Fossati—who sang better than we ever heard him sing before—and Signor Barili’s class. The tenors were a little uncertain, both as to notes and intonation. The chorus from I Lombardi was, however, very well sung.

     Mr. H Romeyo, who has a pleasant tenor voice, sang Itigelli’s [sic] popular song, ‘Brightest Eyes,’ with much taste and expression.

     The Quartet, from Rigoletto, was well sung by Mrs. Farnham, Mrs. Charles Gilbert, Mr. Eddy and Signor Fossati. As to accuracy and effect, we have heart it worse executed on the operatic stage. Mrs. Charles Gilbert’s rich contralto voice told well in this place. Dr. Ward’s ‘Viva dell’Italia,’ the solo of which was sung rather tamely by Mr. Charles Whiting, is quite spirit-stirring in its character, the chorus being specially effective. The William Tell duet, for violin and piano, was really brilliantly performed by Mr. Giovanni Sconcia and Signor Barili. Mr. Sconcia’s style is broad, his tone firm and round, his execution clear and rapid, and he plays with much warmth of expression.

     The Concert concluded with Balfe’s Terzetto, from Falstaff, for female voices, sustained by Miss Totten, Miss Mary Gamble, and Mrs. Charles Gilbert. It was a performance full of spirit, and was a brilliant close to a pleasant entertainment of more than ordinary merit. Dr. Thomas Ward threw his house open four times last week for concerts for charitable purposes, the charities realizing thereby nearly eight thousand dollars. Such fashionable amusements are in every way worthy of commendation.”