Astor Place Opera House, sole lessee Mr. G. V. Brooke ... The injunction of the Court of Chancery having been dissolved, the regular and respectable legitimate monkey performances will be continued ... Donetti's comic troupe of monkeys, dogs and goats. At 8 o'clock the performance will commence with an overture by the orchestra. Leader ... Mr. Tyte. To be followed by the Collation d'Afrique ... After which, wonderful rotary exercises, by Mons. Von Spingalen, his first appearance in America. To conclude with the ascension of the dog, John Bull...
Astor Place Opera House, sole lessee Mr. G. V. Brooke ... The injunction of the Court of Chancery having been dissolved, the regular and respectable legitimate monkey performances will be continued ... Donetti's comic troupe of monkeys, dogs and goats. At 8 o'clock the performance will commence with an overture by the orchestra. Leader ... Mr. Tyte. To be followed by the Collation d'Afrique ... After which, wonderful rotary exercises, by Mons. Von Spingalen, his first appearance in America. To conclude with the ascension of the dog, John Bull...

The riot, the monkeys, and at the end of the line, a library

Astor Place Opera House, sole lessee Mr. G. V. Brooke ... The injunction of the Court of Chancery having been dissolved, the regular and respectable legitimate monkey performances will be continued ... Donetti's comic troupe of monkeys, dogs and goats. At 8 o'clock the performance will commence with an overture by the orchestra. Leader ... Mr. Tyte. To be followed by the Collation d'Afrique ... After which, wonderful rotary exercises, by Mons. Von Spingalen, his first appearance in America. To conclude with the ascension of the dog, John Bull...

[New York: publisher not identified, n.d., but 1852]. Tall narrow broadside approx. 22¼" x 5¾". Display type; some toning, else very good. The Astor Place Opera House opened on November 22, 1847 under the management of Edward Fry who managed the opera house during its entire history. The house had something of an infamous and checkered history for its catering mostly to the moneyed classes. It was brought down for good by dogs, goats, and monkeys. From the Daytonian in Manhattan blog (daytoninmanhattanblogspotdotcom) we find the following wonderous account of the mess that ensued. "The dichotomy between classes, as well as the rivalry between England and America, boiled over on May 10, 1849. Edwin Forrest was the reigning American tragedian; the position held in England by Irish-born William Macready. A fierce rivalry already existed between the two actors and local loyalties to Forrest were intense. When the Astor Opera House booked Mccready to play Macbeth, thousands crowded into the streets of the fashionable neighborhood to voice their dissatisfaction. "While the moneyed patrons inside applauded the British actor, scores of disgruntled immigrants who had paid their $1 admission were intent on disrupting the performance. A pamphlet with the unwieldy title Account of the Terrific and Fatal Riot at the New-York Astor Place Opera House on the Night of May 10th 1849, with the Quarrels of Forrest and Macready, including all the Causes which led to that Awful Tragedy! laid out the details of that night: “'Around this edifice, we say, a vast crowd was gathered. On the stage the English actor Macready was trying to play the part of Macbeth, in which he was interrupted by hisses and hootings, and encouraged by the cheers of a large audience, who had crowded the house to sustain him. On the outside a mob was gathering, trying to force an entrance into the house, and throwing volleys of stones at the barricaded windows. In the house the police were arresting those who made the disturbance-outside they were driven back by volleys of paving stones'. "The rabble turned its focus as much against the exclusive neighborhood and its residents as against the actor. Bricks and rocks crashed through mansion windows, and panic ensued. The Seventh Regiment responded, firing into the crowd to quell the disorder and driving away what Harper’s Bazaar called 'the bleeding rioters, demoralized and defeated.' When it was over 25 were dead and 120 hurt. "Although the theater suffered severe damage to its reputation-it earned the nickname the “Dis-Astor Place Opera House”-it continued providing its high-end clientele with grand opera ... Some later historians blamed the riot for the eventual failure of the Astor Place Opera House, but it was actually a clever ploy by William Niblo, the proprietor of rival Niblo’s Garden, that undid the theater. The New-York Tribune would report that he, “having vowed that he would ruin the Astor Place Opera House, succeeded in destroying its odor of aristocracy by hiring it for a dog show.' "By booking the theater under an assumed name, Niblo was able to secure it for what the New York Times called 'a novel species of entertainment.' On June 8, 1852 the newspaper reported 'The grand troupe of trained monkeys, dogs and goats, just brought over by Mr. Niblo, from Paris, made their first appearance.' "When the owners of the Opera House realized what was going on, they served an injunction on Niblo 'forbidding the promised performance on the ground that it was not ‘respectable' enough for that House.' Niblo countered that the 'self-elected Censors' could not deem the performance 'not respectable' because they had not seen it. His argument held and the curtain rose. "The audience was shown 'half a dozen monkeys, of different species, large and small, seated at table-where they ate dinner, served by a couple of comical little fellows of the same race.' The act was followed by horse-riding dogs and monkeys, and 'sundry similar feats.' "The snobbery of the Opera House owners was fodder for ridicule. The New York Times said 'The fastidiousness of the owners of the Opera house was at once seen to be a most absurd affectation of gentility,' and the comic magazine the Lantern published a cartoon of 'dandified sprigs' in the lobby of the building. A small boy says to his father, 'Why, Pa, how much larger the monkeys look off the stage, than they did on.' "Two days later Judges Duer and Bosworth decided in favor of Niblo, saying the show was “respectable” in spite 'of the fastidiousness and ultra-exclusiveness of the owners of that establishment.' The Times unabashedly opined 'This is a substantial triumph of the doctrines of liberty, equality and fraternity, over aristocratic pretension.' "It was the beginning of the end for the Astor Opera House. The New-York Tribune later remarked ’Donetti’s highly respectable company of trained animals’ would appear every evening until further notice. Such was the inglorious end of the opera house. "Far downtown at the corner of Beekman and Nassau Streets Clinton Hall had been dedicated on November 2, 1830. The Mercantile Library was housed here; but by the time that dogs, goats and monkeys were treading the boards of the Opera House the library had outgrown the its building. "In 1884 The History of New York City noted “So, after much deliberation, the association purchased the Astor Place Opera-House, which was fitted up with a capacity of one hundred and twenty-thousand volumes. In 1854 the library was moved into the new home, a distance of two miles from its former dwelling-place.” (Thank you, Daytonian in Manhattan.) Not found in OCLC. Item #58317

Price: $1,500.00

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