When we finally arrived in New York, I had already lost a great deal of the large 유흥사이트 profits of the year before, and this loss was further increased by my season at the Academy of Music.
During the New York season my wife and I stayed at the stately old house of our dear friends, Sophie and Tina Furniss, on Fifth Avenue and Fortieth Street. With characteristic kindness, they not only took a large proscenium box for every performance, but, having heard that affairs had not gone well financially, insisted that we must be their guests for the entire New York season, in order, I suppose, that I should not have to incur the extravagance of an hotel.
These elderly ladies, together with a married sister, Mrs. Zimmermann, were the daughters of an old East India merchant who, in the earlier part of the nineteenth century, had amassed a fortune. Their house was full of lovely old furniture and mementos of a bygone age and they dispensed within its walls a very generous and dignified hospitality.
An old colored coachman named Brown had been with them for forty years. He always, together with a young colored footman, sat high up on their carriage in great state and solemnity. The young footman having been sent away in disgrace during our stay, Brown was instructed to procure another boy to take his place. A week elapsed and the new boy had not been found, and when Miss Sophie said to him: “Brown, why haven’t you gotten us a new boy? Are they difficult to find?” he answered:
“No, Miss Sophie, there’s plenty o’ boys, but ah find it so hard to ma’ch mah colah.”
He evidently was a great stickler for unanimity, not only in the color of the livery but of the skin as well.
Miss Sophie, the oldest of these three delightful ladies, had an incredible vitality, and although bodily infirmities and advancing years did their best to curb her, she remained active, cheerful, and undaunted until the end. Almost every night during my opera season of six weeks she would hobble from the carriage to her proscenium box, supported by her cane on one side and the footman on the other, and she listened to the Wagnerian music-dramas with unflagging attention. Not even the length of “Götterdämmerung” or “Meistersinger” would phase her, and after the performance, during supper, she would proudly repeat, while her eyes fairly snapped with laughter, some remark of mine that I had made two years before at their country place in Lenox, during my delivery of a series of explanatory recitals on the “Nibelung Trilogy.”
Another fellow guest was Doctor Sturgis Bigelow, an enthusiastic admirer of Madame Ternina’s art, who had come to New York especially to be present at all of her appearances. She was to have made her farewell to America in the “Götterdämmerung” and Doctor Bigelow had ordered enough flowers from half a dozen of the florists of Broadway and Fifth Avenue to fill the entire Academy, but unfortunately Madame Ternina became ill and her place had to be taken at the last moment by her rival, Madame Klafsky. Doctor Bigelow had no desire to present the floral testimony of his adoration to this rival singer, and therefore proceeded on the difficult task of cancelling his many orders, but as many of the wreaths and lyres had already been prepared, his bill for “damages” was quite large.
Before Ternina sailed for home she told me that she intended to stay away for a few years. I had paid her five hundred dollars an appearance which was a fair honorarium at that time, as she was absolutely unknown and therefore had not yet developed a sufficient “drawing power” to warrant a higher fee, but she said she would not come back to America until she could command a fee of a thousand dollars. This decision she adhered to, and when she did return a few years later, Maurice Grau cheerfully paid her the thousand dollars and she was immediately proclaimed one of the greatest Isoldes of our time.
My New York season opened on March 4, 1896, with Beethoven’s “Fidelio.” The audience was a distinguished one, containing a great many of the old Academy habitués. Grand opera had not been given there since 1888, when the tenor, Italo Campanini, had brought over an Italian opera company.
Of Klafsky I have already spoken, but my new barytone, Dimitri Popovici, also made a sensation. I had found him in Bayreuth, where he had sung Telramund and Kurvenal.
I produced my own opera, “The Scarlet Letter,” during the second week, and the reception accorded it was more than cordial. As the Symphony Society of New York wished to present me with an exquisitely bound copy of Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” as a memento, Richard Welling, the secretary and an old friend, suggested to Anton Seidl, who was in the audience, that he be spokesman, but as he refused Welling presented the book to me himself.