Posts Tagged ‘Castle Square Opera Company’


Johann Strauss the younger’s operetta, A Night in Venice, Daly’s Theatre, New York, 1884

December 4, 2014

six chorines from the first American production of Johann Strauss the younger‘s operetta, A Night in Venice (Eine Nacht in Venedig), which was staged by J.C. Duff’s Comic Opera Company at Daly’s Theatre, New York, on 26 April 1884 for the summer season before embarking on a tour. A ‘Grand Pigeon Ballet’ was introduced into the third act, lead by the premier ballerina, Eugenia Cappalini. A Night in Venice was revived at the American Theatre, New York, in 1888 by the Castle Square Opera Company.
(cabinet photo: Sarony, New York, probably 1884)

‘Johann Stausss’ new operetta, ”Night in Venice,” was produced and warmly applauded in Vienna last Tuesday night [9 October 1883], the Viennese adopting this method of making some reparation to the composer for the abuse with which the composition was received on the occasion of its original presentation in Berlin [Neues Friedrich Wilhelmstadisches Theater, 3 October 1883]. The Germans hissed the operetta all through its performance, and the critics severely condemned it as unequal to any of Strauss’ previous efforts, describing the libretto as utter nonsense, and the music poor, thin and utterly unworthy of the composer.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Sunday, 14 October 1883, p. 1b)

‘… The piece is put upon the stage with the usual liberality of this house in scenery and costumes. A special feature was made in the bill of a pigeon ballet executed by twenty dancers. The result gave an insufficiently-rehearsed dance and occasioned some ridicule for the pigeon dresses, which would have been pretty and effective but for a feather-brush tail adorning each of the ballet exciting the sarcastic mirth of the audience at each peculiar movement of the dancers… .’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 3 May 1884, p. 106b)

‘One of Strauss’ recent operas, ”A Night in Venice,” was produced at Daly’s Theater the other night by Manager Duff. Mr. Duff is distinguished from other managers by his profound contempt for the libretto of any opera with which he may be concerned. The result of this contempt is a rather severe pecuniary loss for the past two years. His method of bringing out comic opera is to buy the music for any reasonable sum and turn it over to the leader of his orchestra. Then he hires a man for any sum, from $10 upward, to translate the score from German or French into English. ”A Night in Venice” contains some charming melodies and several concerted pieces that are extremely pretty. It is as melodious as ”The Merry War’‘ and ”Prince Methusalem.” which were by the same composer, and with a good libretto it might become as successful as either of these very successful operas. Now it is a failure. As time advances, Mr. Duff’s contempt for good librettos is apt to prove expensive.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Sunday, 4 May 1884, p. 3c)


Lizzie Macnichol

August 3, 2013

Lizzie Macnichol (fl. late 19th Century), American vocalist and actress
(photo: unknown, probably USA, 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card of Lizzie Macnichol was issued in the United States during the 1890s with Old Reliable Sweet Caporal Cigarettes.

Besides appearing in The Mikado and other revivals produced by the Castle Square Opera Company at the American Theatre, New York, during 1898 and 1899, Lizzie Macnichol is recorded to have been on tour in the United States in 1890 with the Emma Juch Grand English Opera Company under the management of Locke & Davis. Among further operatic enterprises Miss Macnichol appeared in Rob Roy (Whitney Opera Company, Herald Square Theatre, New York, 20 October 1894), and was still in the cast when the piece toured the United States in 1896.

Lizzie Macnichol appeared as Nancy in the film of the second act of Friedrich von Flotow’s opera Martha (released in 1898 or 1899). Grace Golden was also in this production.

New York, 9 August 1899
‘MISS LIZZIE MACNICHOL, the leading contralto of the Castle-square opera company, died suddenly on 12th inst. [i.e. 12 July 1899], from appendicitis. Miss Macnichol, or Mrs C.L. Reitz, as she was known in private life, having married a second time, her first husband having been Franz Vetta, the basso singer, was one of the most popular members of the Castle-square opera company, and had appeared at the American Theatre in this city in a round of important contralto rôles in both light and grand opera. She made her débût in 1888 with the Emma Juch opera company, in Maritana, and made a pronounced hit six years later in De Koven and Smith’s opera, Rob Roy.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 26 August 1899, p. 14b)