Concert: Nettie Sterling Benefit

Event Information

Irving Hall

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo)

Performance Forces:
Instrumental, Vocal

Record Information


Last Updated:
20 June 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

02 May 1866, Evening

Program Details

Complimentary Concert to Nettie Sterling
Songs by Goldbeck performed by Sterling as encores.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Ah, mio figlio; Beggar's song; Prophete. Ah! mons fils
Composer(s): Meyerbeer
Participants:  Antoinette Sterling
Composer(s): Goldbeck
Participants:  Antoinette Sterling
Composer(s): Goldbeck
Participants:  Antoinette Sterling
Composer(s): Mercadante
aka Vepres; Vespri siciliani; Sicilian vespers, The; Bolero; Siciliana; Sicilienne; Pity, beloved ladies; Merce dilette Amiche
Composer(s): Verdi
Participants:  Carmelina Poch [mezzo]
Composer(s): Hoffman


Announcement: New-York Daily Tribune, 01 May 1866, 8.
“One of the most rising singers of the day.  Miss Sterling has appeared once or twice at semi-public concerts, and the sensation created by her magnificent contralto voice and her artistic singing was great and general.”

Advertisement: New-York Times, 01 May 1866.
Review: New York Herald, 03 May 1866, 7.

“This lady made her second public appearance in concert last night at Irving Hall.  We have not heard this season, among the many excellent artists that sang in the various concerts, a contralto voice so rich and thrilling in tone, so powerful and organ like in volume, and so well trained in expression and feeling as Miss Sterling’s last night.  Her debut (for her first appearance was before a very small audience and in a very small hall) was a success.  She sang “Ah mio figlio” from the Prophet admirably, and one of Goldbeck’s best songs, “The Rainy Day,” in a style that would make this composer’s vocal pieces popular if they possessed inherent merit enough of themselves.  In the charming trio, “L’usato ardir,” from Semiramide, and the duet from Il Giuramento, her voice was the nearest approach to Malibran we have ever heard.  The most successful artists that have appeared this season are American contraltos, and Miss Sterling may deservedly rank first of them.  Such a voice heard in Europe would add more laurels to the musical fame of America, already established by Patti and other vocalists.  Senorita Poch sang much better in the duet and trio than in the Bolero from the Sicilian Vespers.  The latter morceau was given in a hurried, careless manner, which it by no means deserved.  Signors Mazzoleni and Centemeri were unexceptionable.  Mr. Richard Hoffman played a fantasia on themes from Maritana and two of his own compositions in his peculiarly brilliant and classical style.  The exquisite melodies of the lamented Wallace found a fitting interpreter in him, and he played them with rare delicacy and feeling.  The concert was attended by one of the largest audiences ever congregated inside Irving Hall.  Ms. Sterling was presented during the evening with a handsome watch and chain, accompanied with a complimentary address.  We trust that she will appear more frequently now in public and thereby prepare herself for the high position in music to which her voice entitles her.”  

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 04 May 1866.

“The complimentary testimonial concert given to Miss Nettie Sterling, at Irving Hall, was one of the most successful entertainments of the season. Every seat on the floor was sold, every standing place was filled, and over 300 holders of tickets could not get into the Hall at all.  Many holders of seats did not come at all, so their places were left vacant, while many ladies had to stand, and we and three members of the press were especially accommodated with an excellent position just outside the door, where the heat from the room struck us in the face, and the cold from the entrance in the back.  It was a position eminently conducive to the formation of an independent position, as the enthusiasm from within was quickly cooled from without, thus preserving a just balance of judgment.  There certainly should be some regulation by which weary standers-up should be permitted to occupy seats which are vacant after a certain hour. At concerts, a margin of half an hour to retain the privilege would be amply sufficient, after which they should be free to be occupied, to be given up, of course, if the holder arrives.

    Miss Sterling, the beneficiare, has for some time attracted attention as the contralto of Dr. Adams’s Church, where her fine voice tells out with admirable effect. She has been studying for the stage, we believe, with an Italian master, and has made considerable progress in that direction. Her voice is pure and rich in quality through its whole register, with one or two weak notes about A and B, which require careful culture. Her method is good, she sings easily, has much force of expression, and a fair share of abandon. We should judge that her voice is flexible, and that in certain phases it is greatly sympathetic. She sang ‘Ah! mio figlio,’ from ‘Il Profeta,’ well; it lacked in breadth and dramatic expression, but it was a performance of much promise, and won a very enthusiastic encore. The aria with which she responded she sang most charmingly, and at its close a gentleman appeared on the orchestra, who, after reading a letter from some unknown friend, written in an unknown style and language, presented her with a magnificent gold watch-chain. She afterward sang a very passionate and dramatic song by Robert Goldbeck, who accompanied her, with so much feeling and expression, that she gained a unanimous encore, to which she responded by another passionate and very beautiful love-song by the same composer, in which she was a marked sensation. Her portions in the concerted music she sang admirably, her rich voice adding to and mellowing the general effect. Her debut may be considered a genuine and well deserved success.

    Senorita C. Poch sang very finely. Her excellent method and artistic feeling always inspires the critical with sentiments of respect. Mazzoleni was in superb voice, and sang with his usual passionate fervor. Mazzoleni’s manly and unassuming manner makes a most pleasing impression upon his audiences. Signor Centemari [sic] has a fine voice, which he uses most skillfully and he sings with taste, expression and artistic finish.

    Mr. Richard Hoffman was a marked attraction at this concert. His selections were well calculated to please, and the charm of his exquisite touch, his clear, brilliant and finished execution, and his delicate shades of coloring, insured him encores for all that he played. His touch is of that quality which draws from the piano its richest and most sympathetic tones, and invests it with a poetic feeling which is quite fascinating. It is to be regretted that he is so rarely heard in public.

    Mr. G. W. Walters played an introductory selection for the organ in a very clear and masterly manner, but fugues do not interest a general audience.”

Review: New-York Times, 07 May 1866, 5.

“Miss Nellie Sterling, a young American artiste, gave an interesting concert at Irving Hall last week, assisted by Mlle. Poch, Signor Mazzoleni, Signor Centerieri [sic], and Mr. Richard Hoffman. It is not often that so much skill is found combined in a single programme. The hall was in consequence filled to its greatest capacity. The friends of the lady are certainly numerous and enthusiastic. At an early hour of the evening they handed her a watch and chain of value, and subsequently presented Signor Mazzoleni with a gold-watch guard, all of which, to our mind, would have been better done in private. Miss Sterling possesses a very fine contralto voice, fresh, pure and simple. The quality and the quantity are alike admirable. She sings with an earnestness and feeling, and is destined, we think, to occupy a prominent place before the public, particularly if she prosecutes her studies with assiduity. The artists were all in good voice, and Mr. Hoffman played two solos with great brilliancy.”