Benjamin Lumley - 12 March, 1850

from Reminiscences of the Opera, pages 270-1:

Whilst Madame Sontag — whose return to London, as well as that of the other principal artists, was a matter of public notoriety — was yet singing in Paris, I had recourse to Madame Parodi, one of the objects of interest in the previous season. She was to appear as the chief "star" of the pre-Easter period, and considerable excitement was awakened in musical circles by the announcement that Pasta's favourite pupil would sustain the character of Medea, one of the parts of that great singer that were most strongly stamped upon the memory of a former generation of opera-goers. So, with the "Medea" of Mayer, and Mademoiselle Parodi as the enchantress, the theatre once more opened its doors. That I had been judicious in producing this opera, as a lure to curiosity, was attested by the result. But it never could have been expected to occupy a permanent position on the boards of Her Majesty's Theatre. The music of Mayer was of the ante-Rossinian school, and was consequently entitled to the respect of the old opera- goers, who in their early days had looked upon Rossini as a mere tune-maker. But it was not one of the best specimens of the early period of the present century, and it had owed its reputation to the correctness of its cold classicality, and, on the Anglo-Italian stage, to the powerful acting of Pasta. To modern ears it seemed tedious and almost commonplace — at all events, deficient in the dramatic warmth of later composers. The "mantle" of Pasta however, even to the literal acceptation of the word, had descended to her pupil; Parodi's performance created a lively interest, stamped, as it was, with the traditions of the great vocal Siddons of the Italian stage. It was powerful, impressive, and, of its kind, brilliant. The "cast" included Beletti and Calzolari — both sure, steady, and satisfactory singers of another school; Madame Giuliani; and, lastly, a new tenor, Micheli, who made his first appearance as Giasone, but failed utterly to obtain a favourable verdict from the critical audience of "Her Majesty's."

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Benjamin Lumley, Reminiscences of the Opera (London, 1864), p. 270-1. accessed: 2 December, 2023


Benjamin Lumley
Opera manager, Solicitor

Listening to

hide composers
Medea in Corinto
written by Simon Mayr
performed by Enrico Calzolari, Giovanni Beletti, Madame Julian van Gelder, Teresa Parodi

Experience Information

Date/Time 12 March, 1850
Medium live
Listening Environment in the company of others, indoors, in public

Originally submitted by sp327 on Wed, 05 Aug 2015 14:04:03 +0100
Approved on Wed, 20 Apr 2016 13:23:03 +0100