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MARETZEK, MAX:

Austrian impresario; born at Brünn, Moravia, June 28, 1821; died at Pleasant Plains, New York, May 14, 1897. He was a pupil of Seyfried in Vienna, and also attended the university in that city. Several years later he became connected with Italian opera in London. In 1848 he went to New York, where he began his career as leader of the orchestra at the Italian opera. From 1849 to 1878 he was organizer and manager of grand opera at the Astor Place Opera House, the Academy of Music, and Pike's Opera House (now the Grand Opera House). He occasionally made professional tours to other cities of the UnitedStates, and to Mexico and Cuba. In 1849 he brought to America the celebrated singer Mlle. Bertucca, who afterward became his wife.

In Oct., 1854, Maretzek leased the Academy of Music, and in the following year had a brilliant season, his company including La Grange, Brignoli, Vestvali, and Badiali. "Semiramide" and "Il Trovatore" were produced for the first time in America during that season. "Rigoletto" was brought out in 1855, and "Traviata" and "William Tell" in 1856. In 1858 Maretzek engaged Piccolomini, and on Nov. 24 of that year he introduced Adelina Patti. He controlled the Academy from 1864 until it burned down in 1866. Among his singers of that period were Gazzaniga, Clara Louise Kellogg, Ronconi, Adelaide Phillips, Mazzolini, and Succi. On Nov. 25, 1863, he conducted the first performance of "Faust" in America, the cast including Kellogg, Sulzer, Mazzolini, and Biacchi.

Upon the restoration of the Academy of Music in 1867, opera was given there under his direction, with Kellogg, Mazzolini, Ronconi, Minnie Hauck, and Antonicci in the cast. In the following year he leased Pike's Opera House, but returned to the Academy in 1869, where he brought out the French tenor Lefranc. It was here also that Lucca made her first appearance under Maretzek's management in 1872.

The list of operas introduced by Maretzek to the New York public, in addition to those already mentioned, includes the following: "Forza del Destino"; "Ione"; "Carneval de Venice"; "Don Sebastiano"; "Saffo"; Peri's "Judith"; "Fra Diavolo"; "Le Prophète"; "L'Africaine"; "Aroldo"; "I Masnadier"; "Medea"; "Crispino e la Comare"; "Romeo et Juliette"; "L'Etoile du Nord"; "Luise Müller"; "I Due Foscari"; "Attila"; "Roberto"; "Anna Bolena"; "Policlito"; "Maria di Rohan"; "Linda di Chamounix"; "La Favorita"; "Don Pasquale"; "Macbeth"; "Marino Faliero"; "Belisario"; "Betty"; "I Lombardi." During the latter part of his life Maretzek enjoyed great popularity as a teacher of singing in New York. On Oct. 12, 1889, his golden jubilee was celebrated, Mme. Lehmann, Herr Kalisch, Signor Perotti, Mme. Fursch-Madi, Miss Anna Juch, Herr Alvary, Herr Fischer, the Daly and Palmer companies, as well as several other artists, participating. Maretzek composed the operas "Hamlet" (Brünn, 1843) and "Sleepy Hollow" (Academy of Music, New York, 1879). He composed also orchestral and chamber music, pianoforte pieces, songs, etc., and wrote "Crotchets and Quavers," New York, 1857.

Bibliography:
  • The Herald, New York, May 15, 1897;
  • Baker, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians.
S. J. So.
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