Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881

Event title:

Benefit musical-declamatory Academy in aid of the Institute for the Care and Employment of the Adult Blind [Prague Seminary Institute for the Blind]

Venue: Žofín Island (Žofín Hall)

Event type: Art music culture

Date: 04/04/1857

Season: Lent

Beneficiary: Seminary Institute for the Blind

Programme comprising:

General participants:
  • Estates Theatre orchestra: participating orchestra
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Concert Overture Schöne Melusine, orch, op.32
ERNST, Heinrich Wilhelm : Rondo Rondo Papageno, vl, pf, op.20
     • Rappoldi, Edouard : vl
BELLINI, Vincenzo : unspecified aria from opera La Sonnambula, v, orch
     • Brenner, Johanna : v
AUBER, Daniel François Espirit : Lullaby from act I of opera La muette de Portici, v, orch
SPOHR, Louis : aria unspecified, from opera Jessonda, v, orch, op.63
     • Lukes, Jan Ludevít : v
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, Felix : Concerto for piano and orchestra, pf, orch, nr.2, D minor, op.40
     • Gerber, Charles : pf
VEIT, Wenzel Heinrich : song Des Müden Abendlied no.6 of 6 songs [Sechs Lieder], v, pf, op.32
     • Brenner, Johanna : v
PROCH, Heinrich : song Das Vergissmeinnicht, v, pf
     • Brenner, Johanna : v
unspecified Czech folksongs, v
     • Lukes, Jan Ludevít : v


Mercy’s Anzeiger 16/3/1857 reported that on ‘Saturday 4th April of this year will take place in the Hall of the Žofín Island a great Musical-declamatory Academy for the benefit of the Institute for the Accomodation and Employment of Adult Blind.’ Mercy’s Anzeiger 21/3/1857 related again the date of this event, adding too that the well-known violin virtuoso Mr Eduard Rappoldi from Vienna had kindly agreed to participate. On 27/3/1857 a further brief note appeared in Mercy’s Anzeiger adding that participating in this concert would be the well-known pianist Mr Karl Gerber.

The German-language Prague newspaper Tagesbote aus Böhmen 31/3/1857 reported that ‘On 4th April takes place a musical-declamatory Academy [eine musikalisch-deklamatorische Akademie] for the benefit of the Institute for the Accomodation and Employment of the Adult Blind.’ Full details of the concert were published by Tagesbote aus Böhmen 3/4/1857: ‘Programme to the musical-declamatory Academy [Akademie] on 4th April 1857 for the benefit of the Institute for the Blind: 1) Overture by Mendelssohn. 2.
Die Witwe des Rajah“ by Uffo Horn, spoken by Mrs Allram-Lechner, member of the Estates Theatre. 3. Papageno Rondo by Ernst, performed by Mr Eduard Rappoldi, member of the Royal Court Opera orchestra in Vienna. 4. Aria from the operaDie Nachtwandlerin“, sung by Miss Jenny Brenner, member of the Estates Theatre. 5)a) Schlummerlied from the opera die Stumme“ by Auber. b) aria from the opera Jessona“ by L. Spohr, sung by Mr L. Lukes, member of the Estates Theatre. 6) Second Concerto in D minor by Mendelssohn for the piano with orchestra, performed by Mr Carl Gerber. 7. Lieder. a) Des Müden Abendlied by Veit, – b) Das Bergissmeinnicht by Proch, sung by Miss Jenny Brenner, member of the Estates Theatre. 8. Folksongs, sung by Mr L. Lukes, member of the Estates Theatre.’ 

An unsigned review of this event was published by
Lumír 9/4/1857. Given in aid of the Institute for adult blind, this annual concert was ‘again very splendid.’ It opened with Mendlessohn’s Overture ‘to the tale about the beautiful Meluzina [Die schöne Melusine]... excellently performed by the local theatre orchestra. Mrs Alramová [the actress Alram-Lechnerová] recited a pretty, fluent, but now old ballade „Die Witwe des Rajah“ by U. Horn... The [Vienna] court virtuoso Mr Rappoldi came especially from Vienna for this concert and entranced the audience with his outstandingly magical bow, namely in Ernst’s composition entitled „Papageno-rondo.“ The native pianist Mr Gerber aquitted himself solidly. Much more outstanding was Mrs Bernnerová in songs by our Veit and by Proch, and the crown of the whole [occasion] appeared [to the] patriotic audience our Lukes who again performed Czech folksongs with spirit and sincerity in Czech as a farewell, for he leaves his country very soon for the north.’ His performance was received with prodigious applause and he was presented with a published Czech poem entitled Pomněnka Vltavská Janu Lukesovi [Vltava Forget-me-not to Jan Lukes]. The poem was then quoted in full.

A review, signed ‘Z.’, of this concert was published by Mercy’s Anzeiger 5/4/1857. The correspondent reported that ‘Yesterday [on the same day as a concert by Alexander Dreyschock given in the Estates Theatre] took place a benefit concert, namely for the benefit of the Institute for Adult Blind. The programme as well as the artistic quality of the soloists was in all cases as well appropriate to the success of the concert as was the humane [charitable] cause of the event. The opening [number] comprised Mendlessohn’s Overture to Die schöne Melusine precisely performed by the Theatre orchestra under the direction of Mr Tauwitz. This was followed by a splendid declamation by Mrs Allram-Lechner [Lechnerová], who narrated the dignified poem by Uffo Horn Die Witve des Rajah. Miss Brenner [Brennerová] and Mr Lukes celebrated a similar triumph in performing in song as latterly in their farewell performance in the theatre. Miss Brenner with felicitous disposition presented a brilliant execution of the first aria from Sonnambula, and then we experienced a performance of Veit’s magnificent „Abendlied des Mäden [Mädchen]“, then a song „Vergißmeinnicht“ by Proch, with her extraordinary coloratura and the sonority of her well-balanced voice...’

Tagesbote aus Böhmen 13/4/1857 reported that the net profit gained from this event for the Institute for the Adult Blind amounted to 451fl 43kr.

Summary of sources:

Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (16/03/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (20/03/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (27/03/1857)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (31/03/1857)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (03/04/1857)
Mercy's Anzeiger für Böhmen (05/04/1857)
Lumír (09/04/1857)
Tagesbote aus Böhmen (13/04/1857)