Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Benefit concert given in aid of the foundation of an Institute for Small Children

Venue: Apollo Hall (Apollo Hall)

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 21/08/1851

Season: Summer

Beneficiary: Institute for Infants

Programme including:

General participants:
  • Prague Concert Orchestra [Prager Koncert Orchesters]: participating orchestra
  • MINKUS, Ludwig: director of ensemble, vl
  • ERBELE, ?: director of ensemble
KITTL, Jan Bedřich : unspecified Concert Overture, orch
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Overture Der Hebriden [Fingalshöle] (The Hebrides), orch, op.26
MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus : aria Porgi, amor from act 2 of opera Le nozze di Figaro, v, orch, K492
     • Mink, ? : v
NICOLAÏ, Otto : unspecified cavatina, v, [orch / pf?]
     • Beutel, Mathilde : v
PAŘÍZEK, ? : unspecified song, v, pf
     • Beutel, Mathilde : v
SERVAIS, Adrien François : Fantasie on motives from Rossini's opera Il Barbiere di Siviglia, vc, [orch / pf?]
     • Kauders, ? : vc
JELEN, Alois : chorus O vítej nám (Oh, victory to us), vv
     • Estates Theatre chorus: vv

Commentary:

Bohemia 19/8/1851 reported that this event had been postponed from 18th August owing to the celebrations for the birthday of the Emperor Franz Josef I. The profit from the concert was destined for the founding in Prague of several Institutes for Infants, and specifically for one at Vyšehrad. Participating in the event were to be ‘favourite artists and the Concert Orchestra [beliebten Künstlern und dem Koncert-Orchester].’ On account of the worthy beneficiary and the interesting programme, the correspondent thought that the concert would be well attended.

A review, signed ‘V.’, was published by Bohemia 24/8/1851. The correspondent remarked that as far as he was aware, the Apollo Hall was on this occasion opening its doors for the first time to a musical event. This ‘beautiful, and for our concert audience just large enough’, hall was considered to be important on account of the lack of such local public venues suitable for concerts and academies. However, the venue was thought to be deficient in tems of its acoustic, specifically affecting orchestral and solo instrumental music but not in works for voice. The problem could ‘in part be eliminated through using a number of instrumentalists fitted to the venue, and in part by some adjustments to the locality.’ Of the concert programme, the critic remarked that the two overtures by Kittl and Mendelssohn had been given previously by the ‘Prager Koncertorchester’. On this occasion the orchestra was noted to be comprised of members remaining from that ensemble which had been founded ‘last month’ [perhaps implying that the orchestra had since been disbanded], and reinforced with some musicians from the [Estates] Theatre. The two pieces were performed ‘with the usual skilfulness.’

The singing of Miss Mink [Minková]
, a primadonna of the Pest Opera and noted to have been a participant in the first and final productions given in the Czech opera during the previous season, was commented upon in detail by the Bohemia critic. Although ‘her voice no longer bears the blossom of the early years of a singer, it nevertheless displays a great roundedness and harmony.’ Her abilities were thought to be particularly manifest in her ‘splendid technique and well-considered interpretation’. The other female singer appearing in the event, Miss Th. Beutel [Beutlová] of the Court Opera in Vienna was thought to be ‘a young novice with a very amenable voice’ and was well-schooled. She performed a cavatina by Nicolai and a Czech song by ‘Pařisek’ with piano accompaniment played by herself. Following both pieces she was [curtain-]called. The violoncellist Kauders enhanced his reputation as a virtuoso through his performance of Servais’s Fantasie, being described as ‘a worthy pupil of the magnificent Träg.’ This was followed by the choir of the [Estates] Theatre singing the chorus by Jelen. The programme also included spoken declamations; Miss Frey [Freyová] reciting a Prologue by Hickl and Mr Haase Saphir’s Die Grundrechte der Ehe. After the concert the orchestra gave a musical entertainment in the garden of the venue. ‘Mr Minkus led the production in the Hall and in the open air [the performance was directed by] Mr Eberle, with circumspection and energy.’

The programme is related in the order in which the works were described by the Bohemia 24/8/1851 review, and not in performance order.


Summary of sources:

Bohemia (19/08/1851)
Bohemia (24/08/1851)