The Astor Opera House, also known as the Astor Place Opera House and later the Astor Place Theatre,was an opera house in Manhattan, New York City, located on Lafayette Street between Astor Place and East 8th Street. Designed by Isaiah Rogers, the theater was conceived by impresario Edward Fry, the brother of composer William Henry Fry, who managed the opera house during its entire history.
Manhattan, often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.
The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
Astor Place is a one-block street in NoHo/East Village, in the lower part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It runs from Broadway in the west, just below East 8th Street; to Lafayette Street, ending at Alamo plaza. "Astor Place" is also sometimes used for the neighborhood around the street. It encompasses two plazas at the intersection with Cooper Square, Lafayette Street, Fourth Avenue, and Eighth Street – Alamo Plaza and Astor Place Station Plaza. It was named for John Jacob Astor, soon after his death in 1848. A $21 million reconstruction to implement a redesign of Astor Place began in 2013.
Fry engaged the Sanquerico and Patti Opera Company under the management of John Sefton to perform the first season of opera at the house. The opera house opened on November 22, 1847 with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Ernani with Adelino Vietti in the title role.Sefton and his company were not re-engaged by Fry, and the opera management of the house went to Cesare Lietti for the second season. During his tenure the opera house presented the United States premiere of Verdi's Nabucco on April 4, 1848.
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.
Ernani is an operatic dramma lirico in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the play Hernani by Victor Hugo.
Nabucco is an Italian-language opera in four acts composed in 1841 by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera. The libretto is based on biblical books of Jeremiah and Daniel and the 1836 play by Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornu, although Antonio Cortese's ballet adaptation of the play, given at La Scala in 1836, was a more important source for Solera than the play itself. Under its original name of Nabucodonosor, the opera was first performed at La Scala in Milan on 9 March 1842.
Lietti was also replaced after one season, and the Astor's third and longest lasting opera manager, Max Maretzek, was hired for the third season, which commenced in November 1848.The following year Maretzek founded his own opera company, the Max Maretzek Italian Opera Company, with whom he continued to stage operas at the Astor Opera House through 1852. Under Maretzek the opera house saw the New York premiere of Donizetti's Anna Bolena on January 7, 1850 with soprano Apollonia Bertucca (later Maretzek's wife) as the title heroine.
Max Maretzek was a Moravian-born composer, conductor, and impresario active in the United States and Latin America.
The Max Maretzek Italian Opera Company was a touring American opera company that performed throughout the United States from 1849-1878. The first major opera company in Manhattan and one of the first important companies in the United States, it had a long association with the Academy of Music in New York City where it presented an annual season of opera from 1854 until the company's demise in 1878 There the company performed the United States premieres of Rigoletto, Il trovatore, and La traviata among other works.
Anna Bolena is a tragic opera in two acts composed by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after Ippolito Pindemonte's Enrico VIII ossia Anna Bolena and Alessandro Pepoli's Anna Bolena, both recounting the life of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England's King Henry VIII.
The theatre was built with the intention of attracting only the "best" patrons, the "uppertens" of New York society, who were increasingly turning out to see European singers who appeared at local venues such as Niblo's Garden. It was expected that an opera house would be:
Niblo's Garden was a New York theatre on Broadway, near Prince Street. It was established in 1823 as "Columbia Garden" which in 1828 gained the name of the Sans Souci and was later the property of the coffeehouse proprietor and caterer William Niblo. The large theatre that evolved in several stages, occupying more and more of the pleasure ground, was twice burned and rebuilt. On September 12, 1866, Niblo's saw the premiere of The Black Crook, considered to be the first piece of musical theatre that conforms to the modern notion of a "book musical".
a substitute for a general drawing room – a refined attraction which the ill-mannered would not be likely to frequent, and around which the higher classes might gather, for the easier interchange of courtesies, and for that closer view which aides the candidacy of acquaintance.
In pursuit of this agenda, the theatre was created with the comfort of the upper classes in mind: benches, the normal seating in theatres at the time, were replaced by upholstered seats, available only by subscription, as were the two tiers of boxes. On the other hand, 500 general admission patrons were relegated to the benches of a "cockloft" reachable only by a narrow stairway, and otherwise isolated from the gentry below,and the theatre enforced a dress code which required "freshly shaven faces, evening dress, and kid gloves."
Limiting the attendance of the lower classes was partly intended to avoid the problems of rowdyism which plagued other theaters in the entertainment district at the time, especially in the theatres on the Bowery. Nevertheless, it was the deadly Astor Place riot in 1849 which caused the theatre to close permanently – provoked by competing performances of Macbeth by English actor William Charles Macready at the Opera House (which was operating under the name "Astor Place Theatre", not being able to sustain itself on a full season of opera) and American Edwin Forrest at the nearby Broadway Theatre.
After the riot, the theater was unable to overcome the reputation of being the "Massacre Opera House" at "DisAster Place."By May 1853, the interior had been dismantled and the furnishings sold off, with the shell of the building sold for $140,000 to the New York Mercantile Library, which renamed the building "Clinton Hall".
In 1890, in need of additional space, the Association tore down the opera house building and replaced it with an 11-story building, also called Clinton Hall, which still stands on the site.
La traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It is based on La Dame aux camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils. The opera was originally titled Violetta, after the main character. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice.
23rd Street is a broad thoroughfare in the New York City borough of Manhattan, one of the major two-way, east-west streets in the borough's grid. As with Manhattan's other "crosstown" streets, it is divided into its east and west sections at Fifth Avenue. The street runs from Avenue C and FDR Drive in the east to Eleventh Avenue in the west.
8th Street is a street in the New York City borough of Manhattan that runs from Sixth Avenue to Third Avenue, and also from Avenue B to Avenue D; its addresses switch from West to East as it crosses Fifth Avenue. Between Third Avenue and Avenue A, it is named St. Mark's Place, after the nearby St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery on 10th Street at Second Avenue.
The Astor Place Riot occurred on May 10, 1849, at the now-demolished Astor Opera House in Manhattan and left between 22 and 31 rioters dead, and more than 120 people injured. It was the deadliest to that date of a number of civic disturbances in Manhattan, which generally pitted immigrants and nativists against each other, or together against the wealthy who controlled the city's police and the state militia.
The Academy of Music was a New York City opera house, located on the northeast corner of East 14th Street and Irving Place in Manhattan. The 4,000-seat hall opened on October 2, 1854. The review in The New York Times declared it to be an acoustical "triumph", but "In every other aspect ... a decided failure," complaining about the architecture, interior design and the closeness of the seating; although a follow-up several days later relented a bit, saying that the theater "looked more cheerful, and in every way more effective" than it had on opening night.
Park Row is a street located in the Financial District, Civic Center, and Chinatown neighborhoods of the New York City borough of Manhattan. The street runs east-west, sometimes called north-south because the western end is nearer to Downtown Manhattan. At the north end of Park Row is the confluence of Bowery, East Broadway, St. James Place, Oliver Street, Mott Street, and Worth Street at Chatham Square. At the street's south end, Broadway, Vesey Street, Barclay Street, and Ann Street intersect. The intersection includes a bus turnaround loop designated as Millennium Park. Park Row was once known as Chatham Street; it was renamed Park Row in 1886, a reference to the fact that it faces City Hall Park, the former New York Common.
Sarasota Opera is a professional opera company in Sarasota, Florida, USA, which was founded as the Asolo Opera Guild and, until 1974, presented a visiting company's productions. Between 1974 and 1979, it set about mounting its own productions in the same venue until, in 1979, it acquired the Edwards Theatre, which became the Sarasota Opera House in 1984. The house underwent a further renovation in 2008, creating a 1,119-seat venue.
The Astor House was the first luxury hotel in New York City. Located on the corner of Broadway and Vesey Street in Lower Manhattan, it opened in 1836 and soon became the best known hotel in America.
The Bouwerie Lane Theatre is a former bank building which became an Off-Broadway theatre, located at 330 Bowery at Bond Street in Manhattan, New York City. It is located in the NoHo Historic District.
The New Victory Theater is an off-Broadway theater located at 209 West 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, in Midtown Manhattan. The New Victory presents work for children and family audiences year-round, programming a full season of theater, dance, puppetry, circus, opera, physical theater and other types of performance art from around the world. In 2012, The New Victory Theater received a special Drama Desk Award for “providing enchanting, sophisticated theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people.”
Clinton and Russell was a well-known architectural firm founded in 1894 in New York City, United States. The firm was responsible for scores of notable New York City buildings, downtown and throughout the city.
Lafayette Street is a major north-south street in New York City's Lower Manhattan. It originates at the intersection of Reade Street and Centre Street, one block north of Chambers Street. The one-way street then successively runs through Chinatown, Little Italy, NoLIta, and NoHo and finally, between East 9th and East 10th Streets, merges with Fourth Avenue. A buffered bike lane runs outside the left traffic lane. North of Spring Street, Lafayette Street is northbound (uptown)-only; south of Spring Street, Lafayette is southbound (downtown)-only.
The Fourteenth Ward Industrial School is located at 256-258 Mott Street between Prince and Houston Streets in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was built for the Children's Aid Society in 1888-89, with funds provided by John Jacob Astor III, and was designed by the firm of Vaux & Radford in the Victorian Gothic style. The Society built a number of schools for indigent children at the time. It was later known as the Astor Memorial School.
Alexander Saeltzer was a German-American architect active in New York City in the 1850s and 1860s. His work includes the Anshe Chesed Synagogue, Academy of Music, Theatre Francais, the Duncan, Sherman & Company building and the South Wing of the Romanesque revival structure at 425 Lafayette Street built between 1853 and 1881 as the Astor Library.
The Center for Fiction, originally called the New York Mercantile Library, is a not-for-profit organization in New York City, with offices currently located at 80 5th Avenue, Suite 1201 in Manhattan. The Center for Fiction will be moving to 15 Lafayette Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn in the fall of 2018. Prior to their move in early 2018, The Center for Fiction was located at 17 East 47th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues in Midtown Manhattan. The Center works to promote fiction and literature and to give support to writers. It originated in 1820 as the Mercantile Library and in 2005 changed its name to the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction. although it presents itself as simply "The Center for Fiction".
Palmo's Opera House was a 19th-century theatre in Manhattan, New York that was located on Chambers Street between Broadway and Centre Street. It was one of the earliest opera houses in New York before it was converted into one of the earliest Broadway theatres. The theatre was conceived by Ferdinand Palmo, an Italian immigrant and successful restaurateur in New York City. It was located inside the former Stoppani's Arcade Baths building. Modest alteration to the building was done in 1843 to convert the building into a theater.
State Street is a short street in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. It runs from west Whitehall Street as a continuation of Water Street, then turns north at Battery Park to become its eastern border. Passing Pearl and Bridge Streets, it terminates at the northeast corner of the park, at Bowling Green, where the roadway continues north as Broadway and west as Battery Place.