Grover German Opera: Faust

Event Information

Venue(s):
Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Leonard Grover

Price: $1 parquet, dress circle; $.50 family circle; $.25 amphitheater; $.50 extra for reserved seats

Event Type:
Opera

Record Information

Status:
Published

Last Updated:
14 April 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

17 Apr 1866, 8:00 PM

Program Details

The Seventh Regiment Band performed in the fourth act fanfare and pageant.

Performers and/or Works Performed

1)
Composer(s): Gounod
Text Author: Barbier, Carré
Participants:  Seventh Regiment Band;  Grover German Opera Company;  Pauline Berger [German Opera] (role: Marta);  Johanna Rotter (role: Marguerite);  Heinrich Steinecke (role: Valentine);  Otto Lehman [bass] (role: Wagner);  Franz Himmer (role: Faust);  Sophie Dziuba (role: Siebel);  Joseph Hermanns (role: Mephistopheles)

Citations

1)
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 11 April 1866.
2)
Advertisement: New-York Times, 17 April 1866, 7.
3)
Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 18 April 1866, 197.

     "Scarcely attended event. The cast was the same as usual except for the roles of Margarethe and Sibel. Mrs. Rotter’s voice is strained from too many performances in leading roles. Although she has talent, experience and a sense of creativity, her vocal skills are not refined enough for all leading opera roles. She would need much rest to recover her voice.

     Ms. Dziuba has a solid voice and a pleasant appearance. The rest will develop in time.

     Hermanns was not liked as Mephisto. He used to pace himself vocally much more which helped to cover up deficiencies in his skill. However, recently he started forcing his voice in a fashion that one can hardly consider singing anymore. He also gives the Mephisto a roughness that is not justified for this part.

     Himmer as Faust did better than everybody else. He showed the usual sensitivity for his part and paces his voice well."

[Preliminary translation]

4)
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 18 April 1866, 8.

     “The German Opera Company, under the direction of Mr. Leonard Grover, gave their first performance at the Academy last night, to a not very numerous audience. Every place of amusement suffered severely by the stoppage of the railroad cars. It was clearly understood that there would be no conveyance up-town after 7 o’clock in the evening, so those who had far to travel stayed at home. We are within the mark when we say, that the opera suffered the loss of at least $1,000.

     Gounod’s beautiful opera, Faust, was performed in a very intelligent and earnest manner by the artists engaged, the choruses were admirably performed, and the orchestra was very complete in its personnel and played smoothly and effectively.

     Madame Rotter is a very painstaking and excellent artist, but it is impossible to connect her with the character of Marguerite. Neither in person nor manner does she fill out the character. Her personation is too mature, and her voice has lost all its spontaneity, the upper portion only retaining its brightness, while the middle and lower tones are weak and not clear. Still we must award her praise for the earnest manner both of her acting and her singing. Mlle. Dziuba personated the character of Siebel very gracefully, and sang her music very feelingly.

     Franz Himmer, the Faust of the evening, has a fine voice and sings with passionate expression. He makes too constant a use of his head-notes, and thus weakens the force of his expression, but his reading of the music is eminently artistic.

     Hermans [sic] is beyond dispute the best representative of Mephistopheles that we have yet had in New-York. His voice is magnificent, his method excellent, and his acting is characteristic and spirited. The artists all made the mistake of striving too much, and used their voices up to a certain extent before the close of the third act.”

5)
Review: New York Post, 18 April 1866.

     "The Academy last night was tolerably well filled, but the withdrawal of the street cars prevented the large attendance that there otherwise would have been. The performance of ‘Faust’ by the German company was in some respectes excellent. The choruses especially were admirably given, showing evident results of thorough training. The Mephistopheles of Mr. Hermans [sic], who first and most successfully assumed the character in this city, was well nigh perfect. Madame Rotter was not so happy in her rendition of Marguerite, although in some passages her acting was very fine and within a certain range her vocalization is effective and almost brilliant. The part of Siebel was assumed with an easy grace and naturalness by Mlle. Dziuba. Mr. Himmer acted the part of Faust very well, and sang with some feeling and effectiveness. He seems, however, to lack power of voice and energy of expression. As a whole the opera was a fair success, the choruses—as we have before said—being remarkably good. The famous Soldiers’ Chorus—in which the Seventh Regiment band was introduced with the happiest effect—was especially stirring, and deserved the encore it received.”

6)
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 18 April 1866, 8.

"The Academy was only half-filled. The performances of the soloists have not gained improvement over last season. The performances of the leading roles seemed unnatural and were changed by the actors in a way that washardly recognizable in some parts. Truly impressive; however was Himmer as “Faust, who was enthusiastically received by the audience. Anschütz was missed as the energetic conductor."

[Preliminary translation]

7)
Review: New-York Times, 19 April 1866, 4.

     “German Opera.—Mr. Grover is certainly not fortunate in finding himself sandwiched between two Italian opera companies—Mr. Maretzek’s the gone, and Mr. Grau’s the coming. But it is perhaps an indication of his pluck that he is willing to occupy so tight a position. Better times, mayhap, are in store for him. At all events he does the best with his opportunity. The programme announced for the eight nights of his season is generous to the last degree, and should interest the public. Tuesday evening the initial performance was given to an audience which was not crowded, but at least equal to what we have lately seen at the Academy. The opera was ‘Faust.’ Of this favorite work we have written so frequently, both in its Italian and German garb that there is nothing left for us to say. Nor indeed would it be profitable to speak at length of a work which, in all probability, will not be repeated. Assuredly we should hesitate to urge its repetition. The present cast does not differ materially from that which the same management has heretofore bestowed on it, but the difference, however slight, does not add to the interest of the revival. Mme. Rotter is an intelligent and energetic singer, but Marguerite is hardly the rôle in which she is seen or heard to advantage. Her bravura singing is marred by more defects than her tact can cover. Among these drawbacks a huskiness of breathing was very noticeable. Mlle. Dziuba was the Siebel. The flower song has been heard to better advantage. It was forced out of its correct limits by an indiscreet attempt to fill the house with a voice which, although sweet and pleasant, is not over powerful. Of the other artists, it will suffice to say that Mr. Himmer acted the part of Faust very creditably, and sang the music with the good judgment and taste which he always exhibits, and with that peculiarly closed and unpleasant method which he uses and no one admires. The falsetto notes were quavered out in the usual surprising manner, and with great self-possession so far as the singer was concerned. The audience did not preserve its equanimity with equal success. The Valentine of Herr Steinecke has not altered in catarrhal severity of intonation. The scene in which he meets with his untimely end was acceptable to the audience in many ways. The fanfare and the pageant were creditable—a portion of the Seventh Regiment Band taking part in both. Mr. Hermann’s Mephistopheles was somewhat rougher than usual, but it still ranks as one of the best impersonations of the part we have had. The gentleman seemed to be fatigued. Indeed, the whole performance was characterized by a sense of extreme effort, and the effects we have noticed may disappear with repose, but this is hardly to be expected with a new grand opera every night. The orchestra is good in numbers, but was coarse and scrapilly [sic] in tone. The chorus enjoyed the advantage and shared the defects of the orchestra.”

8)
Advertisement: New York Clipper, 21 April 1866, 15.
9)
Review: New York Clipper, 28 April 1866, 22.

      “A Season of German Opera was inaugurated at the Academy of Music on the 17th inst., by one of the most enterprising operatic managers that has yet tried his hand at the Fourteenth street house. His former attempt to make the German Opera popular with us was crowned with so much success that he has been induced to do so some more. ‘Faust’ was given as the initial performance, and with a correctness to details that completely outdid all former operatic representations at the Academy. The choruses were perfect. Mad. Rotter as Marguerite sang and acted in grand style. Hermann’s performance of Mephistopheles was capital, and Himmer as Faust perfectly at home. Mdlle. Dzuiba appeared as Sibel. She is a very sweet singer and a good actress.”