Manager / Director:
23 June 2016
“The ‘Huguenots’ was performed last night at Winter Garden, with a fair degree of success. The inadequacy of the Winter Garden stage for the production of the grand spectacular effects properly belonging to this grand opera was painfully apparent, and the stage scenes were not what they should have been. So far as regards the costumes and all the appointments furnished by the management, there was no occasion for dissatisfaction. The leading part, Valentina, was finely sustained by Signora Poch.”
"The ‘Huguenots’ was given last night at Winter Garden, in the presence of an immense audience—such an audience as this grand work of the great master invariably attracts in the Metropolis. The opera has been done better, but Senora Poch and Signori Mazzoleni, Bellini and Antonucci were its saviors on this occasion. It seems to us that Mlle. Ronconi has hardly the voice or the presence for Marguerite. The public, which is always correct in its estimate of its entertainers, was quite unanimous in declining last evening to indorse [sic] the young artist’s claims to a position in the front rank of lyricists. Besides that, the owner, or perhaps the estimable lessee, is so careful of the theatre, that our equine friend—always received with warmest plaudits, was excluded from the stage, greatly to the annoyance of several large families of small children, who paid enormous prices for the stage boxes in his honor. Signor Mazzoleni’s rendering of the romanza in the first act was rapturously encored; but the length of the romanza and the good sense of this admirable artist combined to prevent a repetition. The ‘Huguenots,’ as an opera, is by no means a stranger to this community, and it is hardly desirable that the midnight oil should be consumed in the attempt to give a full sketch of the author, or even a synopsis of the plot. The former is happily and securely interred; the latter lives, and was produced last night with profit to the managers and pleasure to the public. ‘The old man died, the property survived,’ &c., &c. The dancing of Mlle. Kruger was thoroughly admirable, richly deserving the enthusiastic applause which it secured.”
Difficult to read. “The Huguenots was produced at the Winter Garden last night. Mr. Maretzek has kept his faith; the costumes and appointments are truly rich and beautiful. No expense has evidently been spared in this department. Mr. Carl Bergmann has evidently taken infinite pains with the choral and orchestral portions of the work, the latter being [illeg] worthy of remark for the admirable clara obscura portion of a few [illeg].
The vocal department, with the exception [illeg…] bursts from Mme. Poch, which were [illeg…] was very weak and unsatisfactory so far as [illeg…] were concerned, and we forbear entering upon a detailed criticism. The male characters were very ably sustained by Mazzoleni, Bellini, Antonnuci, Meuller and others, who both sang and acted with spirit and power. The ensemble pieces were fairly sung, but as a whole the performance of Les Huguenots was decidedly not up to the standard to which Mr. Maretzek has accustomed his patrons.”
The performance was not as well attended as earlier ones. It seemed as if the audience did not trust that the cast would live up to the demands of this opera. They proved to be right for the performance was not more than mediocre. Except for Mazzoleni, Antonucci and Bellini, no other soloist performed in their roles decently. Signora Poch did not know what to do with her part as ‘Valentine’. Signorina Ronconi should give up singing to save the audience her poor performances. Her voice is too small even for the Winter Garden. Moreover it lacks sweetness and crispness. The coloraturas in the beginning of the second act were unsatisfactory. Mme. Testa’s ‘Page’ was compared to the other women acceptable; however, she proved again she simply is not a good singer.
The grand finale of the second act was ineffective due to the insecurities of the chorus and orchestra. The “Soldatenchor” (“Hugenottenlied”) and the “Litanei” in the third act, though, was performed well by the chorus. It was sung accurately, freshly and tersely. The orchestra’s and the conductor Bergmann’s performance at times made up for the insufficient performances of the vocalists.
“The performance of Huguenots, at the Winter Garden, was most satisfactory. Mlle Poch found, in the character of Valentine, one of her best roles, and there was much applause for her and M. Antonucci (Marcel) after their beautiful third-act duet. Mme Natali Testa is charming in the role of the page. As for Mlle Ronconi, she’s pretty, lovely in fact, but she has so little, such a small, voice that one would be tempted to believe that the character of Queen Margaret is a mute role. The chorus did well, and the orchestra, under the direction of M. Bergman [sic], outdid itself. The costumes are splendid.”
The performance was unsatisfactory. Raoul was hoarse, Marcel’s vocal range did not allow low tones, and the biggest disappointment was Ronconi, who persistently sang off-key. The only pleasure was the orchestra’s performance, conducted by Bergmann.