Armand German Opera: Die Zauberflöte

Event Information

Thalia Theater

Proprietor / Lessee:
Eduard Härting

Manager / Director:
Johann Armand [tenor, director]

Adolph Neuendorff

Price: $10 boxes; $1.50 orchestra chairs, dress circle reserved; $1 parquet, dress circle; $.50 family circle

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
7 October 2015

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

07 Jan 1867, 8:00 PM

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Magic Flute; Zauberflote
Composer(s): Mozart
Text Author: Schikaneder
Participants:  Armand German Opera;  Wilhelm Formes (role: Papageno);  Josef Chandon (role: Sarastro);  Marie Frederici (role: Pamina);  Franz Himmer (role: Tamino);  Sophie Dziuba (role: Papagena);  Elvira Naddie (role: Queen of the Night)


Advertisement: New-York Times, 05 January 1867, 7.
Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 05 January 1867.

"This production is a combination of the French and German opera companies."

Advertisement: New York Herald, 07 January 1867.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 07 January 1867.
Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 08 January 1867, 8.

“The theater was overcrowded. Besides the scenery, the performance was well-done. We especially appreciate the tireless effort of conductor Neuendorff who is in charge of the preparations and rehearsals for all operas. Naddie as ‘Queen of the Night’ delighted in appearance, skill and beauty of voice. Frederici was a beautiful ‘Pamina’. All the men were excellent. Formes was more confident and skillful as ‘Papageno’ than expected. He portrayed ‘Papageno’ as a good-hearted, jovial nature person and received much applause. The orchestra and chorus showed diligence and good-will.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 08 January 1867.

“It will appear strange to a select class of opera goers that German Opera, as we have it at the Thalia Theater, with its Gretchen-faced donna, whose voice is more genial than wonderful; a tenor whose artistic sense and style only redeem a thick and heavy intonation; a baritone who is seldom more than manly and spirited, though withal a good musician; a bass who at the most seems only careful and clever – should be, after all, a promising success. Yet it ought not to be at all surprising, in view of the rarity and novelty of any genuine attempt to bring the public into familiarity with the unequaled wealth of the German intellect and imagination in music. Voices which in an Italian stage would be little more than tolerable in the sonnambulistic [sic] infancy of opera vocalism, essay Mozart, and succeed in entertaining and even instructing, popular audiences. The good a German opera does to the current musical idea of the community is not to be measured by its vocalists, but by its composers. German opera, such as we get, is popular with the intelligent German masses – not because Herr Wilhelm Formes and the rest sing it, but because Mozart, Beethoven and Weber wrote it. To have such operas as ‘The Magic Flute,’ ‘Fidelio’ and ‘Euryanthe’ sung at all, when the greater part of the money and enterprise devoted to operatic speculations is wholly invested in the modern stage masters, is at least a satisfaction, and compensates us, by force of novelty, for the want of certain sensuous perfections which belong to the Italian muse and stage. Lacking better rendition, our German masses are content to hear their musical scripture interpreted by humble ministers. A deficiency of great voices and an abundance of great music have led them to prefer music itself above the singer, and to be content with subsisting upon the average intelligence of musical performance which, it must be admitted, is stronger among the Germans than any other people. With even inferior artists in individual respects, the production of German opera seldom fails to afford us distinguishing merits of orchestra and chorus; and we are generally sure of hearing apt and appreciative musicians, if not always good vocalists. Those who remember Manager Anschutz’s seasons, remarkable as no other seasons have been for the extent and variety of their repertoires, and boasting nothing so much as a well-drilled chorus, and orchestra in its true element, and a leader inspired with his work – will witness the general justice of our remarks. We are sorry that Herr Anschutz is not again in the field.

Mozart’s opera of The Magic Flute, given last evening at the Thalia Theater, could not fail to afford pleasure of some kind; yet we do not know in what one respect its performance was better than ordinary. The songs of the three ladies of the night were a little better in singing than the old diluted strain to which we have become familiar. It is rare that we find in these wierd [sic] sisters a union of the graces and the muses, as that the German supernumerary Muses have full voices, or that the Graces have presentable ankles. But it is well to remark that a stylish rendering of these trios would be the last thing desirable; and there is at least a merit of simplicity in the German rendering.

Herr Himmer returned to the stage as Tamino with all his old grace and expression as an artist, and all his natural defects as a singer. It would be easy to imagine a better vocalized performance then his, and yet be hard to supply upon the German stage, as it exists in New-York, a more finished artist and actor. Madame Frederici-Himmer has undoubtedly improved, but her voice, clever in its medium tones, has lost none of the ringing sharpness of its more extreme expression. In the charming duet in the first act, which is one of Mozart’s marvels of simplicity and beauty, her enthusiasm of manner was a compensation. 

We are not partial to Papagenos whose heads are in any way bald, and whose mustache and beard are too express and German; so we are obliged to object to the make-up of Herr Formes. Without realizing the romance of the merry Papageno, his singing was spirited and correct.

Of Mlle. Naddie we hope to hear more. The part of the Queen of the Night is blessed with a music so deliciously subtle and airy that Shakespeare’s elves might sing it. The voice of Mlle. Naddie is too tremulous, but its sincerity at least to suggest this beauty. The best praise of the general performance must be given to Sarostro [sic], as sang by Mr. Joseph Chandon of the French opera. A calm, well-sustained, even bass is needed for the profound, dreamy and powerful music which makes this part one of the grandest in the range of the opera. The song of ‘In diesen heilgen hallen’ will admit any extent of basso-power; and to say that M. Chandon sang it gracefully and with careful expression is the praise we think due a clever artist. We should have been glad to have heard the opera more fully and earnestly sustained in respect of chorus; and we trust that the managers will not neglect to use every means to perfect their troupe, and to satisfy the taste from which they are to draw their support.”

Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 12 January 1867, 360.

“The performance was satisfactory. Himmer proved to be a genuine artist; he sang with understanding and taste. Also Formes as Papageno sang satisfactorily, and he displayed more liveliness in his playing than we expected. Chandon’s performance was decent. Although he is singing nasally, he phrases well and knows how to use his voice skillfully. Naddie could not live up to the demands of the ‘Queen of the Night.’ Even in the calm parts of the music, her voice was not steady, and she is lacking the technique for the ‘bravura passages’. Her voice is pretty, though, and she seems to have talent. Admirable was her German pronunciation. She is French and has never sung in German before. Her articulation was clearer than that of many who shared the stage with her. Dziuba as ‘Pamina’ was interesting because of the freshness of her voice and her appearance. Her performance would benefit from more dynamics in her singing style. Although a beautiful voice, her singing seemed too monotonous.”

Review: New-York Times, 14 January 1867, 4.

“It is a peculiar fact connected with German opera that the season invariably selected for presenting it to the public is the worst that can be chosen, and under such circumstances it is even stranger that it should occasionally prosper. There are individuals who cannot bear good fortune, and there are enterprises that flourish amid decay. It would not surprise us if the Thalia theatre came under the latter classification.

The ‘Magic Flute’ by Mozart – a work which is interesting, even when maltreated, was played last week. There are necessarily many deficiencies in its distribution at the Thalia theatre—the stage of which is much too small for spectacular productions of this sort. Mlle. Naddie, late of the French company, was the queen of the night, and sang the difficult rôle with marked and decided effect. The lady is a fine artist, and properly managed, would speedily become a favorite with the public. Mme. Marie Frederici and Herr Franc [sic] Himmer also belong to the troupe and rendered good service, as did Mr. Wilhelm Formes and Mr. Chaudon. It will be seen that the company is by no means weak. When thoroughly in harness it will, we doubt not, give general satisfaction. The orchestra [sic] and chorus were inefficient, the attendance good.”