Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
21 June 2016
“‘La Juive’ is an exhaustive opera in more senses than one. It consumed the best inventive powers of the composer, and by its extreme length taxes the patience of an audience. Few works, however, are so thoroughly filled out. The greatest care has been bestowed on the partition. The orchestra is treated with consummate ability. It may be doubted if any subsequent composer has been more happy in the combination thus presented. The choruses are varied and happily contrasted, while the separate parts allotted to the solo singers are filled with passionate purpose and clear melodic intention. Such a work should be prepared with unusual elaboration. This was not obviously the case last evening. The orchestra was somewhat unsteady, and the chorus, although well drilled, was occasionally scattered. These defects will disappear on the repetition of the work, which will be on Monday next. For the rest, there was much to admire. Mme. Gazzaniga, with her grand, earnest style, was heard to advantage as Rachel; indeed she is heard to advantage in everything she essays. Mlle. Boschetti sang the music of Eudoxia in a clear and intelligent manner. Both ladies were fine in the second act. Signor Musiani created a favorable impression as Eleazar, but the pleasant memory of Stigelli in this part was not disturbed by the performance. Signor Antasia [sic] sang his serenade very finely. Signor Milleri was somewhat overweighted as the Cardinal, but displayed the moderation of an artist, and a perfect knowledge of the music.
The opera was received with favor by a fine and fashionable audience.”
“We were gratified last night to see the Academy so well filled. It is quite a long time since so large an audience has assembled there to listen to the opera, and we were inclined to regard the fact as an indication that the excellences of Mr. Grau’s company are getting to be more generally appreciated. ‘La Juive,’ the opera presented, is a peculiar, and, to us, not remarkably beautiful production, which has obtained much of its reputation from the fact that it is one of the few good operas written by a French composer. The plot gives an abundance of exciting incidents and interesting situations, and affords opportunity for introducing impressive stage effects. The opera is deficient in beautiful melodies, and many of the airs—particularly those assigned to Mlle. Boschetti—are altogether too high to be pleasant.
As a whole, the opera was well rendered last night. There were irregularities and deficiencies in the performances of the chorus which will probably be remedied at the next production of the opera. Madame Gazzaniga assumed the part of Rachel with the utmost fidelity. Her voice was evidently somewhat affected by a cold, but not so as to injure the effect of her singing to any serious extent. Mlle. Boschetti rendered the part of Eudoxia excellently. Her acting was exquisite, and she sang with her usual power and feeling. Signor Anastasi appeared to good advantage as Leopold, sustaining the character easily and gracefully. Signor Musiani was not so successful. His execution was uneven, and in some instances faulty. Signor Milleri took the part of the Cardinal with dignity, and with a generally correct conception of the character. ”
The event was sold out, but not satisfactorily performed. Mme. Gazzaniga has not improved at all. She confidently entered in the wrong places musically several times and also spoiled the coloratura parts as usual. Her decent acting saved her from a fiasco; the audience was reserved and cool towards her. Musiani did not move the audience, although he sang some numbers not too badly. Boschetti and Anastasi gave adequate performances. The best was Milleri. His voice does well with parts of “Faust” and last night’s “Cardinal”. The chorus sang miserably in some parts of the first and third act. Muzio conducted with indifference and only half of an understanding.
“Halevy’s La Juive was performed at the Academy on Wednesday night, to a brilliant, fashionable, and crowded audience. It gives us much pleasure to be able to state that the public is beginning to appreciate the excellence of the opera company which came among us very modestly, and at the time and season of the year when the people had been overdosed with music, but whose merits have translated indifference into enthusiasm. It is a great triumph for Mr. Grau’s artists that they have succeeded despite The Herald’s second-hand praise, and the evil rumors which had been circulated previous to their arrival. True merit cannot be killed in New-York, if it has but a chance to assert itself.
La Juive had the following strong cast: Madame Gazzaniga, Mlle. Boschetti, and Signoris Musiani, Anastasi, Milleri and Muller. The music of this opera does not satisfy us. It sometimes rises to the exigencies of the situations, which are many and powerful, but is not sustained. A fine thought is evolved, but it is speedily frittered away, and is generally over-instrumented. One fact is patent—there is so much agony in the action that neither Mozart nor Beethoven, nor even Meyerbeer, could sustain strain upon the most vividly intense passions of our nature. There are still many fine and strong points in La Juive, and some ensemble pieces grand in their dramatic power.
Madame Gazzaniga revealed in her personation of the Jewess the same high attributes which rendered her Saffo so surpassingly excellent. She unquestionably enters fully into all the emotions of the character she assumes. She makes a study of the motives of action, and seizes hold of the strong points, but does not neglect the details, which serve to make the picture perfect. The situation in La Juive are very powerful, and make a heavy demand upon the physique of the artist, but Gazzaniga manages her voice so well, that it is equal to all demands; and her personation of the Jewess, vocally and dramatically, is an unqualified success. We must again express our appreciation of the wonderful improvement she evidences in her vocalization—its smoothness and finish are truly artistic, and she is more admirable in every respect than when she appeared here before.
Boschetti looked, sang and acted Eudora most charmingly. Her voice was more perfectly under control than upon any previous appearance, and her execution was true, brilliant and rapid. She is in all respects a most thorough and excellent artist.
Musiani’s performance of the Jew was fine, both vocally and dramatically. His interpretation of the Prayer, in the second act, was full of feeling and passionate fervor, and was worthy of all praise. His voice was in excellent order, and was firm and true, only partially wavering once in a passage of great power. Anastasi grows into more favor with each performance. He has a delicious voice, and one that will bear a strain, without losing its purity. He is an earnest and passionate singer, and slights no portion of his role. We must award him unqualified praise for his vocal and dramatic efforts last season. Milleri fully sustained the high praise we awarded him for his personation of Mephistopheles. He has a magnificent voice, and uses it with admirable skill. He declaims with point and power, and both his acting and his singing are full of grace, passion and energy. He is by far the most competent basso that has appeared on the stage for some time.
The chorus was in most respects prompt and accurate, and the orchestra executed the partition excellently throughout. Much credit is due Signor Muzio for the fine performance of Wednesday evening.”