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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0002-0008-0013

Author: CFA
Date: 1826-06-30

[30 June.]

Friday was consequently passed in comparative quiet, although I was still obliged to go through the ritual routine of Turtle and wine by way of a Luncheon. In the afternoon we lounged away a short hour at the Panorama of Athens.1 It is a pretty thing and in the absence of the original is of some Service to discover the locations of the interesting spots of ancient history. I think it would be an excellent arrangement for the Professor of Greek Literature at Cambridge { 58 } to lecture in a room surrounded with this. It would be the most instructive use the University could put it to. It was altogether too warm however for us to sit with sufficient patience to see the whole of it. But thus the day elapsed and in the evening we went to the Park Theatre and saw the Marriage of Figaro murdered, as sundry amateurs failed very much in their endeavours to get over their first Appearance. The whole was consequently turned to ridicule. We were paid however by the Garcias who sung a little Spanish piece “en famille” quite sweetly. The idea and the melody made the thing singularly charming. In common life unfortunately voices do not agree so exactly. Miss Garcia afterwards sang an English song, which was pretty well. We returned home late and retired almost immediately, pitying the poor Comte Almaviva, on his mortification.2
1. In D/CFA/1, CFA mentions visiting the panorama on 29 June. This replica of Athens in modern times was displayed at the Rotunda, at the corner of Chambers and Cross streets (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:223; Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island , 6:542).
2. The singer in Mozart’s opera is not named, but his performance was also poorly noted by others (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:198).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0002-0009-0001

Author: CFA
Date: 1826-07-01

July 1st. 1826.

I found an invitation to dine with the corporation of the City on the 4th. this morning and this combining with the urgencies of my friends induced me to postpone my departure until the middle of the succeeding week, making my stay longer than I had anticipated, but these things happen but seldom in man’s life and it is wisdom to prolong them to the utmost. I spent the morning however in making and receiving calls, and spent half an hour with Blunt in the Chancery Court. Little was done of interest and I was glad to get away. I walked in to see Mr. Hone the Mayor,1 who seems to be a most exceedingly pleasant man. I went to see Mr. Bradish, Mrs. De Wint and others, and received calls from Mr. Chew,2 Mr. Sullivan and others. The former is a very pleasant acquaintance, I made by means of Mr. Bradish, he is of Philadelphia and like myself on a visit here. Having been extremely civil to me as indeed every body has been, I have enjoyed myself very much.
The afternoon was spent in a short stroll in the Castle Garden,3 and in the evening Tudor returned apparently determined upon being more mad than ever. We went immediately to the Opera and heard Tancredi performed.4 Garcia certainly sings delightfully although on the decline, Miss Garcia performed very well, but on the whole I liked the piece little as it is cut down to be performed with us. It is { 59 } a mere exhibition of select passages which certainly are very fine but not to be entitled to be called a regular Opera. The piece is famous so that it would be useless to speak of the extracts which have been so generally called fine. Madame Barbieri is pleasing, her voice has not the melody nor the full rich tone of the Garcia but notwithstanding she does exceedingly well, particularly when in contrast with the amazingly powerful deep notes of Angrisani. I do not think much of the younger Garcia. On the whole I came away with less pleasure to night however than on Tuesday for although passages were eminently fine in this piece yet considering it as a display of voice, I thought it not equal to what the other would have been had Garcia performed. And it had the disadvantage to an unpractised visitor of being serious Opera which cannot be so pleasing as the Comic until Music is made every thing to the mind. We left some of our party at the Theatre and returned to the National Hotel early.
1. Philip Hone (1780–1851), the wealthy, cultivated diarist, who was serving a one-year term as mayor ( DAB ).
2. A member of the famous Philadelphia family, descendants of Benjamin Chew, the jurist (same).
3. A pleasant park located in the Southwest Battery, formerly the fortification, Castle Clinton (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:227; Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island , 6:406, 622).
4. Tancredi and Almenaide, a novelty opera by Rossini, whose usual cast is listed in Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:187.