Benjamin Lumley in Her Majesty's Theatre - 20 June, 1844

from Reminiscences of the Opera, pages 89-90:

Signor Costa's "Don Carlos" was produced for the eminent conductor's own benefit, on the 20th June. It had been long talked of, long expected, and the musical dilettanti of the day were naturally excited by curiosity as to the result of its production. The "Malek Adel" of the same composer, although when it was brought out it attained a certain kind of celebrity (chiefly from the renown of a cavatina sung by Rubini), and was even repeated upon the Italian stage in Paris, had long since disappeared from the boards. Nevertheless considerable expectations were still afloat. "Don Carlos" was well "mounted," and supported by Grisi, Mario, Lablache, and Fornasari. Like its predecessor, it utterly failed to maintain any prominence. It survived but a very few nights, and then, like "Malek Adel," sank into the vast "limbo" of forgotten works. Whatever may have been the real merit of this production, from a managerial point of view it was undeniably a failure. That is to say, it neither attracted the public nor brought money to the treasury. It is by such tests alone that an operatic or a theatrical director can discover what is and is not conducive to the interest of an establishment. The subject of "Don Carlos," it may be stated, was "sombre" and lugubrious, and on the first night, Mario and Lablache were both hoarse, wearied by long rehearsals. This could not be otherwise than detrimental to "first impressions," but the artists gallantly supported their conductor's fame on the second night of performance.

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cite as

Benjamin Lumley, Reminiscences of the Opera (London, 1864), p. 89-90. accessed: 24 February, 2024

location of experience: Her Majesty's Theatre


Benjamin Lumley
Opera manager, Solicitor

Listening to

hide composers
Don Carlos
written by Michael Costa (conductor)
performed by Luciano Fornasari, Giovanni Matteo Mario, Giulia Grisi, Luigi Lablache

Experience Information

Date/Time 20 June, 1844
Medium live
Listening Environment in the company of others, indoors, in public

Originally submitted by sp327 on Mon, 03 Aug 2015 16:45:41 +0100
Approved on Sun, 24 Apr 2016 15:36:19 +0100