Grau Italian Opera: La traviata - Grand Gala Night

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Jacob Grau

Emanuele Muzio

Event Type:
Choral, Opera

Record Information


Last Updated:
27 June 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

22 Nov 1862, 7:30 PM

Program Details

The fourth act of Favorita was announced in ads the day of the performance, but Brignoli was ill, so Guerrabella sang a brindisi by herself, either from Martha, according to NYT, or Macbeth, according to DJM & NYP.

7th Night – Grand Extra Night.

Grand Gala Night - Operatic Pot Pourri.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Bellini
Participants:  Augustino Susini (role: Oroveso);  Alessandro Maccaferri (role: Pollione);  Virginia Lorini Whiting (role: Norma);  Catarina Morensi (role: Adalgisa)
aka Fallen Woman
Composer(s): Verdi
Text Author: Piave
Participants:  Ginerva Guerrabella (role: Violetta Valéry);  Pasquale Brignoli (role: Alfredo Germont);  Federico Amodio (role: Giorgio Germont)
aka Star spangled banned
Composer(s): Smith
Text Author: Key


Announcement: New-York Times, 17 November 1862, 8.
“[T]he week will terminate with a grand matinée.”
Announcement: New York Post, 19 November 1862.
“There will be no matinee. . . . [I]nstead, an evening performance, at which the entire opera of ‘Traviata’ will be given, and the two first acts of ‘Norma.’”
Advertisement: New York Herald, 20 November 1862, 7.
Announcement: New-York Times, 20 November 1862, 5.
“The Matinée on Saturday is postponed, an evening performance being rendered necessary by an extraordinary opportunity which presents itself to the management.”
Announcement: New York Herald, 21 November 1862, 5.
“General McClellan and his wife will attend. With rare good taste, Manager Grau has refrained from advertising this fact. It is said, however, that gilt eagles, extra curtains, ‘Hail Columbia,’ or something of that kind is in preparation for the occasion. We hope this rumor is untrue. General McClellan is not the sort of a man to be pleased with such flummery. Let Grau remove his eagles and his music until Fremont comes here again. Fremont is a devoted lover of music and finery, and will appreciate Grau’s decorations. McClellan only goes to hear the singing, and we trust he will be allowed to enjoy it undisturbed by any fuss wither before or behind the curtain.”
Advertisement: New York Herald, 21 November 1862, 7.
Casts, program. Only lists Norma act 1. “All the company will appear.”
Advertisement: New-York Times, 21 November 1862, 7.
“The performance will commence at eight o’clock precisely.”
Announcement: New York Herald, 22 November 1862, 4.
“Guerabella, Lorini, Morensi and William Castle will sing the “Star Spangled Banner” in honor of the general [McClellan].”
Announcement: New-York Times, 22 November 1862.
“There will be a grand extra performance at the Academy to-night, on which occasion Gen. McClellan will be present. ‘Il Trovatore’ and an act from ‘Norma’ will be given.”
Advertisement: New-York Times, 22 November 1862, 7.
Announcement: New York Post, 22 November 1862.
“[T]he house will be illuminated as at the Prince of Wales’s Ball.”
Review: New York Herald, 23 November 1862, 4.

          “The weather cleared up a little last evening, and gave manager Grau a good night for his gala performance. The public appreciated this favor, and Irving place thundered with the rumble of carriages. The performance began half an hour earlier than usual, and so the house filled up rather slowly at first. By the regular hour of opening, however, a  very select and fashionable audience crowded every part of the Academy.

            Although Mr. Grau had not advertised the fact, it seemed to be generally understood that General McClellan would be present last evening. The General did not attend, however, although Mrs. McClellan was in a retired private box in the dress circle, and Mrs. President Lincoln was present for a short time during the evening. As we semi-officially announced that the General's presence was anticipated, it is but fair to state that General McClellan at first accepts Mr. Grau's invitation to attend, but, being detained by other engagements, sent Mr. Grau the following note, of which no mention was made to the audience, because no official notice had been given on the subject:--

 [Lt. Col. Sweitzer's letter is reproduced]

     As is usual upoln such occasions, there were many rumors that the brave and popular General was here, there and everywhere--in the parquet, the dress circle, the boxes, but he could not be found, though at every pause in the performance opera glasses were anxiously levelled to catch a glimpse of him, and enthusiastic individuals rushed up stairs and down stairs, and through the corridors to hunt him out. Evidently the large audience desired rather to see McClellan than to listen to the performance but the performance was amply sufficient to repay them for their attendance.

            The programme began with the first act and a scene from the third act of ‘Norma,’ in which Lorini, Morensi, Susini and Maccaferri appeared. Lorini was in good voice, but did not sing as well as in ‘Lucrezia Borgia’ on the evening previous.  Morensi was, as usual, admirable, and was heartily and deservedly applauded.  Susini did well, and Maccaferri did as well as he could. 'La Traviata' followed, with Guerrabella as the heroine and Brignoli as Alfredo. We can only repeat our former notice of the latter opera. Guerrabella acted splendidly and sang enjoyably. Brignoli’s excellent rendition of his part is familiar to the public. Both artists, as well as Amodio, were greatly applauded. The extraordinary care with which Signor Muzio affected to conduct the orchestra was equally instructive and amusing.”

Review: New-York Times, 23 November 1862, 1.

           “Gen. McClennan and the Academy of Music.--The extra performance here last evening was well attended by an audience of singularly fashionable exterior–attracted mainly by the idea that Gen. McClellan would be present. There were rumors, indeedm that the General was in the house, but the following letter would seem to indicate that that was not the case."

             A letter from Lt. Switzer to Grau says McClellan  “express[es] his regrets that he is compelled to deny himself the pleasure of attending the ‘Opera’ this evening, as proposed, and to tender you his thanks for your kind invitation.”

           The operas played were ‘Norma’ (two acts) and ‘La Traviata.’ The casts being the same as heretofore. it is unnecessary to refer to them. During the performance, Mrs. McClellan occupied box No. 50, and Mrs. Lincoln, it was understood, was in the Hall.  On the conclusion of the operatic performance, the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ was sung by the company, and the effect was electrical.”

Review: New York Herald, 24 November 1862, 4.
Brief mention of Mrs. McClellan and Mrs. Lincoln attending.
Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 24 November 1862, 3.

     "The week past has been noted for much rain outside, and for much music inside, the Academy. Notwithstanding the bad weather, the houses generally were fair. Madame Lorini appeared again as Norma, on Saturday night, to a good house, with success. Opera of 'Traviata' followed."

Review: New York Post, 24 November 1862, 2.
“The very large audience . . . heard a good performance of Verdi and Bellini music, and did not see a somewhat noted general. Mrs. McClellan and Mrs. President Lincoln were, however, present, though they were not generally recognized.”
Review: Courrier des États-Unis, 24 November 1862, 2.
The public was disappointed to learn that Gen. McClellan, who had announced his attendance, didn’t show up, though his wife did, occupying Box no. 50. Mrs. Lincoln was also in attendance.