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Royal Italian Opera

Source: The Illustrated London News, August 5, 1848, p.78

Meyerbeer's "Huguenots" will be no doubt the culminating point of attraction to the remainder of the season. Nothing else is talked of in the musical circles, and the perfection of the ensemble is recognised on all hands.

The emotions enkindled during the third act by the conjuration and benediction of the "daggers," and then by the magnificent acting and singing of Viardot and Mario, are quite overwhelming. On Saturday night, a triple encore was demanded for the "Conjuration." The "Rataplan" chorus, the "Pif-paf" martial song of Marini, and the cavatina of Alboni in the second scene, are encored nightly. The work was repeated on Thursday night for the benefit of the gifted Viardot, and will be given again to-night (Saturday) and on Tuesday next.

On Tuesday night, Donizetti's "Lucrezia Borgia" was performed. Grisi, Alboni, Tamburini, and Mario were in splendid voice. The "Chorus of Masques," in the Prologue, was encored, and Alboni's drinking song demanded three times. The trio in the second act was also encored, and was superbly executed by Grist, Mario, and Tamburini.

At the eleventh hour on Thursday, owing to the sudden indisposition of Signor Mario, there was the advent of Roger in the arduous part of Raoul. He had never played the character before, but he had studied it for the French Grand Opera. He sang it in French, of course, as he had only three hours' notice, and no rehearsal. His success was immense. Nothing could be more expressive than his singing of the opening air, "Plus blanche que l' hermine," with the alto obligato of Hill. He electrified the house in the Septuor of the Duel, and was rapturously encored. The duo with Viardot, in the third act, was wonderfully sung, and was cheered from first to last. Viardot sang the duo in French, and thus the ensemble was perfect. The reception of this artiste was most cordial, and she had the honour of a recal before the curtain with Roger, amidst a shower of bouquets. The beauty of the organ of the French tenor, his fine style of declamation and power of expression, surpassed every expectation. Marini and Alboni had their usual encores, and the "Conjuration" was given twice in all its might and majesty. The house was crowded to excess.

On Thursday next Rossini's "Guillaume Tell" will be mounted with great splendour. Roger will appear in Arnold, Madame Castellan in Mathilde; and Marini, Tamburini, Polonini, Mei, Lavia, Tagliafico, &c., are in the cast. It will be worth a pilgrimage to hear the overture and choruses.