Grover German Opera: Zauberflöte and Tannhäuser, act I

Event Information

Venue(s):
Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Leonard Grover

Conductor(s):
Adolph Neuendorff

Price: $1

Event Type:
Opera

Record Information

Status:
Published

Last Updated:
14 April 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

27 Apr 1866, Evening

Program Details

Originally Tannhäuser alone was scheduled, but some of the singers were ill. In consequence only Act I of Tannhäuser was given, and Die Zauberflöte completed the program.

Performers and/or Works Performed

1)
Composer(s): Wagner
Participants:  Grover German Opera Company;  Joseph Weinlich (role: Langraf);  Johanna Rotter (role: Venus);  Bertha Johannsen (role: Elizabeth);  Theodore Habelmann (role: Walther);  Charles Viereck [Grover German Opera] (role: Schriber);  Franz Himmer (role: Tannhauser);  Sophie Dziuba (role: Shepherd);  Edouard [bass-baritone] Haimer (role: Raimer);  Wilhelm Formes (role: Wolfram);  Alphonse Urchs [Grover German Opera] (role: Biterolf)
2)
aka Magic Flute; Zauberflote
Composer(s): Mozart
Text Author: Schikaneder
Participants:  Grover German Opera Company;  Elvira Naddie (role: Queen of the Night)

Citations

1)
Announcement: New York Post, 27 April 1862.

     “To-night one of the most characteristic specimens of what is called ‘the music of the future’—the opera ‘Tannhauser’—will be presented. It will be worth the while, even of those who do not like this style of music, and who would prefer to have its performance postponed indefinitely into the ‘future,’ to attend the performance of this opera by the German company, who are likely to get out of it all the music there is in it. The cast is a good one, and the enlarged chorus and orchestra will do their parts effectively.”

2)
Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 27 April 1866, 4.

     “To-night Richard Wagner’s opera of ‘Tannhauser’ will be performed, with a strong cast, and grand chorus and orchestra, the price of admission being $1, with secured seat. This opera has been more talked, written about, criticized, abused and defended, has been more successful here and condemned there, has passed through more vicissitudes than any opera ever produced in public. Wagner has a theory of his own, which stands boldly out in opposition to the recognized forms and theories of construction, and as he does not write to tickle the public ear, nor in accordance with the views of the great body of the musicians, it may well be supposed that he has rather a thorny path to travel. But he comforts himself with the belief, and his devoted disciples concur in that belief, that the public of to-day is made up of hard-headed, prejudiced and unaesthetic muffs, and that he will have a true hearing in the future. So Wagner is the pillar of the music of the future school, the programme school, and many men bow down to him and believe.

     Tannhauser is a brilliant sample of the new school, and for that reason should arrest public attention. It deserves a fair and unprejudiced hearing, and all who have musical taste should make a point of hearing it to-night. The overture, the Pilgrim Chorus, and the March possess extraordinary beauty and dramatic power of a high character, and should alone be sufficient to attract all true lovers of music.”

3)
Announcement: New-York Times, 27 April 1866, 4.

     “German Opera.—Wagner’s opera of the ‘Tannhauser’ will be produced here to-night for the first time in several years. The merits of the work have been often discussed. The opportunity of judging of them will certainly be seized by all who desire to be au courant in matters musical. Wagner’s friends will, of course, be present in force, and an animated scene may fairly be anticipated. Those who are not included in the number will, we trust, seize the chance of hearing a remarkable work”

4)
Advertisement: New-York Times, 27 April 1866, 7.

grand double chorus and extra orchestra.”

5)
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 27 April 1866, 6.
6)
Review: New-York Times, 28 April 1866, 4.

     “German Opera.—Only one act of the ‘Tannhauser’ was given last evening, much to the disappointment of those present. The continued indisposition of two of the artists rendered it impossible to do more than this. For the same reason there will be no matinée today. Our readers, therefore, need be under no anxiety about procuring their tickets at the music stores in order to avoid the crowd at the doors—a piece of friendly advice which we have often been called upon to give them in these columns. Notwithstanding the disappointment last evening on the subject of Wagner’s music, there was a liberal provision for the enjoyment of the patrons. The whole of Mozart’s charming opera of the ‘Magic Flute’ was given—making, it will be seen, a bill of unusual attractiveness. The overture to the ‘Tannhauser’ was played effectively. Mr. Neundorff kept the orchestra together with his customary vigor, but there was a lack of coloring, and hence of clearness, delicacy and contrast. The act opened with the unaccompanied and unfollowable shepherd’s song, with its dreary ritornelle for the oboe. Mlle. Dziuba sang it creditably, and was warmly applauded by a gentleman in the amphitheatre. The pilgrim’s chorus which follows (not the great one) was sung correctly but tamely. It made no effect. The rest of the act is entirely septette, and very excellent septette. Wolfram’s incidental solo, an honest and straightforward melody, with all the natural endings purposely blunted in order to display originality, was charmingly sung by Mr. William Formes. The concluding portion of the septette passed off pleasantly, and the curtain descended. There was not a sound of approval. To us, however, sufficient had been given to cause a regret that the entire work could not have been performed.

     Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’ was presented very acceptably, and gave infinite pleasure to the audience. All the healthy portion of the company was in the cast, and every one sang well. Mme. Rotter being indisposed, a substitute had to be provided for the Queen of the Night. The lady was found at the last moment, and to the present hour her name is undivulged. Her debut was certainly successful. Although evidently suffering from fright she displayed many excellent qualities of voice and method. The famous aria was hurried, and the high notes were not produced pleasantly, but the concluding trill was good, and brought down the house. The lady is undoubtedly an artiste, and we shall be mistaken if we do not have other opportunities of speaking of her powers.”

7)
Review: New York Post, 28 April 1866.

academy of music.

     Owing to the illness of Madame Rotter and Mr. Weinlich, but one act of ‘Tannhauser’ was performed at the Academy of Music last night. This was rendered with considerable effect, but we think that one act of the opera was quite enough for an evening, and that Mr. Grover performed a liberal and humane act in giving the ‘Magic Flute’ as a substitute for the remainder of ‘Tannhauser.’ A pleasing singer, Mlle. Naddt, made her first public appearance in the ‘Magic Flute,’ and won a degree of favor not often accorded on such occasions.”