October 4, 1849 (Thursday)

Beautiful day.

Went to the Walnut St. Theatre this evening to hear Mrs. Seguin.  She appeared in “The Bravo, or  The Red Mask.”  It is a very poor thing as an opera altho’ the plot is rather interesting; the music is very poor, so that I could not form an opinion as to Mrs. Seguin.

The Walnut Street Theatre, America’s oldest, continuously operating theatre, was first visited by Nathan on January 8.

Soprano Anne (née Childe) Seguin (ca. 1814–1888) was New York’s favorite opera singer in the 1840s. Born in England, she graduated from the Royal Academy and, in 1832, married bass Edward Seguin (1809–1852). Mrs. Seguin made her debut in Italian opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket in 1836. In 1837, she and her husband had the honor of singing at Queen Victoria’s coronation.  Her American debut came in February 1839 at the Park Theatre, New York when she played Rosina in The Barber of Seville. The Seguins were very popular in America, often appearing together (Edward played Gradenigo to Anne’s Violetta in Bravo on this night in 1849) and eventually formed their own production company.  When Edward died in 1852, Mrs. Seguin retired from the stage and became a voice teacher.

The Bravo; or The Red Mask, also known as The Red Mask; or The Council of Three was an opera with music by Tom Cooke (1782–1848) (adapted from an earlier opera by A. Berrettoni) and libretto by James Robinson Planché (1796–1880). It was first performed in Drury Lane, London in 1834, although the theatre manager prevailed upon Planché to write a happy ending, thus subverting the moral message intended by James Fenimore Cooper who had written the novel, The Bravo (1831), upon which the opera is based.

Sources:

“James Robinson Planché.” International Dictionary of Theatre. Vol. 2. Gale, 1993. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.

“Obituary: Mrs. Anne Seguin.” New York Times, August 25, 1888, 4.

“Tom Cooke.” Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. New York: Schirmer, 2001. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 2 Oct 2011.

Brown, T. Allston. A History of the New York Stage: From the First Performance in 1732 to 1901. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1903.

Roy, Donald. Plays by James Robinson Planché. British and American Playwrights. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press, 1986.

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