Academy of Music
Manager / Director:
5 November 2019
2nd performance of Dinorah. "We are inclined to the belief that each repetition of the opera will add to its popularity."
“Decidedly the storm gods are adverse to Manager Grau. Upon Opera nights we are sure to have a down-pouring of rain which would deter the attendance of any people save the determined New York opera-goers. The taste for music is gaining ground in this city with its indulgence, and in spite of cold and rain a most fashionable audience assembled at the Academy of Music to enjoy the second representation of ‘Dinorah.’
The overture was rendered last evening with more care than on the first performance of the opera, and was duly applauded. The goat behaved with great propriety, and ushered in Mlle. Cordier, who was in good voice, and obtained from the audience applause where on the first evening no marks of favor had been given. This fact carries out our previous assertion that the opera would gain upon public favor the oftener it was heard. We must entreat Brignoli to throw some semblance of life and animation into his role. The moment he accepted the part it is due to the public that some effort be made by him to convey at least a glimmering of what the illustrious composer meant the part to be—that of a cowardly, avaricious peasant. His frigidity seriously mars the effect of the first act, and prevents that display of comic opera which is its very life. Mlle. Cordier in this act is hindered from a proper rendition of her role by the extreme stiffness of Brignoli. Even the fine singing of this favorite tenor cannot make us close our eyes to the fact that he neither dresses nor plays the character as he should. A little condescension, Signor Brignoli; wear a wig which will represent the real style of the peasant’s headdress; in fact, such a one as Amodio wears; put on a coarse jacket, and endeavor to look as unlike your usual self as possible. The opera and the public will gain thereby.
The first act was coldly received, and as the curtain fell upon the fine terzetto as its termination but little applause was given. The act was heavy, undoubtedly, from a want of that spirit of comedy which the composer infused in it, and which is its very existence. The second act includes the shadow aria, which is always sure to obtain, when sung even by a second rate artist, a rapturous encore, but how much more so when so finely rendered as it was by Mlle. Cordier. The audience, fairly captivated, call loudly for an encore, but in vain. Dinorah reappeared and acknowledged the applause; but she did not comply with the expressed desire for a repetition of the favorite song. The rest of the act was given with much the same ensemble as on Monday evening last, the broken bridge and falling Dinorah creating the same sensation. The third act passed off with more life and animation. It is more telling, from the fact that it includes more melody. Susini rendered his hunter’s air with great power and gusto, and was much applauded. Brignoli made amends for his shortcomings in the first act by his fine reaper’s song; while Morensi and Miss Stockton received great applause for their goatherd duo. The voice of the former is most pleasing, and even in the unimportant part she has in ‘Dinorah’ it is heard to great advantage. We are aware that over praise is injudicious, but at the same time deem undue reticence as a wrong done to an artist seeking diligently for improvement. Morensi, with care and study, will attain eminence in her profession. The audience was not so numerous as upon the first representation of the opera, but their applause was freely given. It must be borne in mind that ‘Dinorah’ is originally a comic opera, and that its translation into Italian somewhat detracts from its light character. We repeat our observation as regards scenery. The rocky cliffs which are spanned by the bridge are not so bold as the capabilities of the Academy stage would allow. A greater display here would render the act more effective. In the third act, the scenery is insufficient. ‘Dinorah,’ to be fully appreciated, must have all the stage accessories possible.
The intention of Meyerbeer when he wrote ‘Le Pardon de Ploermel’ was to make a very simple opera. He improved upon this idea, however, and added to the original draft, which was in two acts, and in which the only persons to appear were Dinorah, Hoel and Corentin, the chorus, the two goatherds, the hunter and the reaper. These additions, however, could be omitted without materially altering the libretto. As given here, the opera is nearly complete, a few unimportant cuts having been made to reduce it to New York time—two and a half hours. We are assured that Meyerbeer himself authorized these alterations. The loss of music must be made up by splendid and natural scenery, and by effective groupings of the choruses. The attempt made at this display is inadequate.”