Manager / Director:
23 June 2016
“‘Faust’ was the opera presented at Winter Garden last evening. Miss Kellogg, Mlle. Stella Bonheur (her first appearance), and Signors Mazzoleni, Bellini, and Antonucci, were in the cast. This opera, which has been rendered a favorite with the New York public by the delightful personation of Margaret by Miss Kellogg, has little in itself to commend it. The music does not wear well. Although there are many brilliant passages in it, its strains are not of a character to commend the enthusiasm of the unprofessional many. The March and the ‘Flower Song’ early became intensely popular and were speedily worn thread-bare. Beyond these there is nothing that lives in the memory— nothing to ‘hum,’ nothing for the street organs to perpetuate. This, though it is not a consideration with those who make the divine art a study, is nevertheless of consequence to directors, whose selections must be made with a lively appreciation of the advice of Iago, ‘Put money in thy purse.’ ‘Faust’ has had its day with us and no longer draws crowded houses.
Winter Garden was by no means filled to repletion last evening. Miss Kellogg sang with her usual force and pathos, and enacted the simple maiden of the legend as she only can. Bellini made the most of the character of Valentine. He does well in all that he essays. Antonucci was the Mephistophiles, and sang very effectively. Mlle. Bonheur as Siebel won plaudits and bouquets. She is a graceful actress, has an excellent voice, and sings with a facility, but not with great pathos. Mazzoleni sang with his accustomed loudness and disregard of modulation. The scenery was badly managed, and between the second and third acts the curtain arose prematurely, discovering a motley crowd of supernumeraries who were assembled behind it, and retreated most expeditiously, greatly to the amusement of the audience. The ballet was execrably bad, and altogether the occasion was not a brilliant one.”
“Italian Opera.—The favorite opera of ‘Faust’ was given last evening by Maretzek’s troupe at the Winter Garden. It is hardly necessary to state that Miss Kellogg was the Margarita, nor to add that the charm into which this best of our American prima donnas invariably invests the sad but natural rôle, delighted the immense and enthusiastic audience that attended the representation. Miss Kellogg’s success in the bagatelle of ‘Crispino,’ and the still more remarkable éclat with which she enacted the rôle of Catharine in the ‘Star of the North,’ has in no way diminished the number of the faithful who make their operatic adjurations at the shrine of her matchless Margarita. The cast included Mlle. Stella Bonheur, who, despite an apparent indisposition, sustained the character of Sibel with great credit, Mazzoleni, who always does well, Bellini and Antonucci. The performance was a success.”
“After so many representations it would seem to be impossible to say anything new or pertinent, but the performance in most points, as regards the principal, was so far superior to any previous representation that it would be an act of injustice not to record it. In Mazzoleni we have, in all the essential points, manliness, fervor, abandon, and plentitude of power, the only representative who has ever supplied the perfect ideal of Faust. The first act or prologue has hitherto been tame and ineffective, but in his hands it becomes significant and grandly dramatic. In the third act, the greatest of all tone-painted love poems, his singing surpassed all his previous efforts in prose and true singing; he gave freer use to his mezzo voce, thus giving contrast to his grand bursts of power and imparting the poetic coloring to the wonderfully passionate music of his role. In all respects Mazzoleni proved himself a true artist, and won golden opinions from the critical and admiration from all. It was a splendid personation both vocally and dramatically and has added greatly to his already well deserved reputation. Miss Kellogg, who is the Marguerite of the American stage, never sang or acted so finely in this role. Her beautiful voice was in perfect order and she literally warbled the delicious music, so liquidly the notes fell from her lips. Perfect purity of intonation, light and well articulated execution, the utmost purity of taste and a naïve, delicious and impassioned manner distinguished her personation of Marguerite last night. We have seen nothing more maidenly, tender, and delicately passionate than her whole bearing in her interview with Faust. It was a flash of pure nature touching at once the sympathizers of the audience, and calling forth murmurs of irrepressible admiration. It was a masterpiece of lyric and dramatic power, and proved that fine art instinct animated and prompted her woman’s nature to that abandon which alone can give reality to the counterfeit presentments of the stage. Kellogg and Mazzoleni were worthy of each other, and rendered the third act of Faust an art-memory not soon to be forgotten. Antonucci and Bellini were respectively admirable. They are such fine, trustworthy artists that nothing but pleasure can be derived from their performance. Mlle. Bonheur made a very acceptable Seibel. She possesses artistic points which may be worked up into something excellent by care and practice. The orchestra performance was in every respect admirable.”
The event was sold out. Kellogg was admirable as Marguerite. The audience rewarded Kellogg, Bonheur, Bellini and Antonucci with enthusiastic applause.
The performance was satisfactory. Kellogg was charming and if Mazzoleni hadn’t rolled his eyes in a bizarre fashion, he would have been acceptable as well. Bonheur enthused the audience despite performing only in a small role. She sang so purely, freshly, and naturally that the audience requested an encore. However, we felt she exaggerated her performance with the holding of the fermate in the end. This new trend is simply not desirable.