Maretzek Italian Opera: L’Africaine

Event Information

Academy of Music

Manager / Director:
Max Maretzek

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
5 January 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

15 Apr 1867, 8:00 PM

Program Details

“The Arion Society have for this occasion kindly volunteered their cooperation,” NYT ad, 04/14/67, p. 7.

Performers and/or Works Performed


Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 12 April 1867.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 14 April 1867, 7.
Review: New York Sun, 16 April 1867, 4.

Last evening Mr. Maretzek produced, for the second time in a year, Meyerbeer’s charming and picturesque opera of ‘L’Africaine.’

All that pleases the eye, delights the ear and satisfies the taste, is embodied in this work—in which Meyerbeer’s emancipation from the bondage of Severe Music is pleasantly demonstrated through a multitude of rich, dreamy, and decidedly Italian airs.  It is unnecessary to catalogue all the beauties of the opera, but few things in modern music are superior in mellow richness than the duo between Vasco and Inez in act second, the three choruses of the third act, the entirely sensuous music that runs all through the fourth act, and in the fifth—the single, beautiful lamentation of the dying Selika as that dusky princess sees Vasco, for whom she has sacrificed first her love, now her life departing over the hurrying waters with the girl of his heart. The scenes through which these pass, and the incidents which they illustrate are full of evergreen interest.  The opera, in a word, is thoroughly picturesque in music, story and scene.  It blends a warlike element, a roving element, a religious element, an amorous element, a tragic element, an element of costume to please the ladies, and an element of dance to please the gentlemen. As represented at the Academy now, ‘L’Africaine’ is thoroughly enjoyable. The choruses are even brilliantly given, and the orchestral department is in absolute harmony.  A delicious bit of instrumentation, which preludes the fifth act, is always certain of a rapturous encore.  Senora Poch, to whom is confided the role of Selika, the Madagascar maid, who loves her capturer, Vasco, is entirely capable as far as voice goes, and in the dramatic expression of the part is all that was expected.  Sig. Mazzoleni in Vasco has ‘a part to tear a cat in,’ and as our robust tenor is fond of tearing cats at all times, his success may be imagined.  Signore Ortolani makes an interesting Inez, and she sings her music and loves her lover with aristocratic mildness, as becomes a princess and the daughter of such a heavy old grandee as Signor Antonucci makes.  The rest are all good in their way.”