Maurice and Max Strakosch were brothers who emigrated from Austria. Their connection to the Pfaff's circle is tenuous; only two known sources tie them to Pfaff's directly. Furthermore, the sources indicate that contemporaries may have confused Maurice and Max with one another.
Maurice Strakosch was born in Moravia, of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire sometime around 1824. He quickly demonstrated a unique gift for music, performing as a concert pianist at the age of eleven. His musical talents also extended to opera where he gained renowned as a tenor. (“Death of Maurice Strakosch,” The New York Times, October 10, 1887; “Forty Years A Manager,” The New York Times, October 11, 1887) In 1843 he moved to New York to travel with Salvatore Patti, another tenor who managed a traveling opera troupe. (“Forty Years A Manager,” The New York Times, October 11, 1887; Katherine K. Preston, Opera on the Road: Traveling Opera Troupes in the United States 1825-1860, pg 129-130, 145). Maurice eventually managed his own troupes for a number of years, composing and performing his own pieces along the way (Preston, Opera on the Road, 203, 251). Maurice began his own company and developed a partnership with Bernard Ullman, which lasted until 1860. The two may have met at Pfaff's to discuss their careers (Lause, 59). One of the few sources that places Maurice in the Pfaff's circle is a recollection of journalist Charles Godfrey Leland who remembered Maurice as “hard to deal with and irritable” (Memoirs 344). Maurice died in Paris on October 9, 1887 (“Death of Maurice Strakosch,” The New York Times, October 10, 1887; “Forty Years A Manager,” The New York Times, October 11, 1887).
Max Strakosch was born in Moravia, of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire on September 27, 1835. He followed his brother to the United States in 1853. He was not known as a musical performer as was his brother, but Max did gain recognition as a theatre manager and impresario. In January, 1862, Max wrote a letter to Gottschalk offering him the chance for a round of American concerts. Gottschalk accepted and began the concert series in New York in February (G. Chase 296). After Maurice left to tour Europe and manage his sister-in-law Adelina Patti’s concerts, Max remained in the United States and continued to put on operatic performances, including Don Pasquale, Norma, Il Trovatore, La Favorita, Don Giovanni, and Lucrezia Borgia (Tompkins and Kilby 156, 225). Max frequently found himself arguing with creditors and city officials as he tried to pursue his management career. In the fall of 1874 Max sued the New York City Police Commissioner who had broken up some of Max’s performances in order to “preserve the peace.” Max contended that the police were not concerned with preserving order, but only wanted to shut down his performance because it was performed on a Sunday (“Sunday Concerts: Is the Law Forbidding Them Constitutional - The Case of Max Strakosch against the Police Commissioners” The New York Times, November 26, 1874). Not unlike many impresarios, Max struggled to maintain the finances necessary for the production of his shows (“Max Strakosch Bankrupt,” The New York Times, May 27 1881). In 1878 Max was sued for a breach of contract of marriage and attempting to seduce a woman (“Max Strakosch’s Trouble,” The New York Times, June, 14 1878). He did achieve a measure of success and in 1883 Max opened his own theatre in New York (“Max Strakosch’s New Theatre,” The New York Times, June 1, 1883). In the obituary of Charles Ignatius Pfaff, Max is mentioned as one of the "Knights of the Round Table" who had made their impression on the establishment ("In and about the City: Death of Charles I. Pfaff," 2) In 1888 Max fell ill and struggled with his health for the remaining four years. He died on March 17, 1892 (“Max Strakosch Dead,” The New York Times March 18, 1892).
In January, 1862, he wrote a letter to Gottschalk offering him the chance for a round of American concerts. Gottschalk accepted and began the concert series in New York in February, soon lending his sympathetic support to the Union cause.[pages:296]
Figaro reports that Max Strakosch is forming a traveling operatic troupe and lists the performers expected to join (41).[pages:41]
The text mentions that Gramercy Park between 20th and 21st streets and 3rd and 4th Avenues is the "abode of many old families" (80) including Max Strakosch.[pages:80]
The obituary identifies him as one of the "Knights of the Round Table" of the "lions of Bohemia."[pages:2]
Strakosch was a musician struggling to open an opera company in the city. He was part of a rival of two other men intending to do the same, yet all would meet at Pfaff's to discuss the hectic life of touring musicians (59).
During the Depression, Strakosch proposed to gradually reduce what he was paying his performers. When one of his rivals, B. Ullmann, heard this, he likened Strakosch's suggestion to the relationship between a peasant and his donkey (89).
Eventually, Strakosch and Ullmann headed for Europe leaving the third member of their rivalry, Max Maretzek, to become the master of New-York based American opera (114).[pages:59, 89, 114]
Leland mentions Max's brother, with whom he collaborated in business, as "hard to deal with and irritable."[pages:344]
Listed as Maurice Strakosch. Director of the American Company performance group.[pages:45]
In the 1866-67 season he assembled the Max Strakosch Alliance which put on a "grand inaugural concert" Oct. 1, 1866 at Cooper Institute (228).
Strakocsh and Maretzeck were the team with "wretched management" of the Academy of Music that could not bring Adelina Patti (diva) to their stage (374). Odell mentions that in the 1868-69 season they presented Clara Lousie Kellogg, who had had success in Europe, at the Academy of Music, in concerts ending with the third act of Faust. This was quite a popular concert series (471).
It is important to note that Max Strakosch is NOT Maurice Strakosch - they are brothers. Maurice was married to Amalia Patti and helped her sister Adelina get her very successful career started (653).[pages:228,374,471,653,682]
(Information here may also be for his brother, Maurice.) Strakosch served as pianist in a concert of Maretzke on Jan. 11, 1851, at Tripler Hall. He seems to have been a figure in the concert scene from 1850-56; his wife also played with him. At the Academy, in late January of 1857 (575), he conducted the opera, subsequently starting a new season of opera that February. He held concerts in Brooklyn in the 1856-57 season and also ran a series of 4 subscription concerts for which advertisments in the Star and the New York Herald stop around Jan 24 - the date of the first concert. Because of this, Odell is unsure whether the shows at the Athenaeum (scheduled for 1/24, 1/31, 2/5, 2/12 $1 admission + $0.50 for reserved seating) ever ran (601).[pages:92,265,502,507,575,576,600,601]
Strakosch brought distinguished instrumentalists to New York on Feb.13, 1865 for the 1864-65 musical season at Niblo's Saloon.[pages:694]
Strakosch is mentioned in a letter from Philadelphia that follows the Feuilleton that discusses the Opera (3).[pages:3]
It is unclear which Strakosch Personne is writing about.[pages:2]
Personne mentions a Straksoch, but it is unclear who he is referring to (3).[pages:3]
(It is unclear which Strakosch Personne is writing about.) Mentioned in relation to the "Opera Wars" (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions that Mr. Strakosch has departed for Europe and may bring back something for the next opera season. It is unclear which Mr. Strakosch he is writing about (2).[pages:2]
Personne refers to a Strakosch, but it is unclear who he is discussing.[pages:3]
(It is unclear which Strakosch Personne is writing about.) Personne mentions there was some discord in Boston when Greeley ran into Strakosch (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions the Strakosch Company (3).[pages:3]
It is unclear which Strakosch Personne writes about.[pages:2]
It is unclear which Mr. Strakosch Personne refers to as helping give a benefit at the opera house in Cincinnati. Personne mentions that the "Strakosch nightengales" are in Pittsburgh (2).[pages:2]
It is unclear which Strakosch Personne is writing about (2).[pages:2]
Personne mentions an upcoming performance by the Strakosch company (2).[pages:2]
Personne mentions a Mr. Strakosh, but it is unclear who he is referring to (3).[pages:3]
It is unclear which Strakosch Personne intends, but he makes a passing mention of a Strakosch.[pages:3]
It is unclear which Strakosch the Chicago critic refers to (2).[pages:2]
(It is unclear which Strakosch Quelqu'un is writing about.) Mentioned in a discussion of quarrels in several of the intellectual and artistic spheres.[pages:3]
Racovita states regarding her career, "I had picked out Max Strakosch, who was then the best impresario, and whom I knew and found very sympathetic. We had already arranged for several tours, and I was ready with a number of roles" (336). After a disagreement between Strakosch and her husband, Serge von Schewitsch, about the length of the tour, Racovita did not sign the contract.[pages:336]
The biographical profile of Max's brother, Maurice, mentions Max's collaboration on musical endeavors.
Spofford mentions that Kellogg sang in America under the management of Strakosch (380).[pages:380,383]
Tompkins mentions Strakosch's productions of Don Pasquale and his season of Italian opera including Norma, Il Trovatore, La Favorita, Don Giovanni, and Lucrezia Borgia.[pages:156, 225]
"His piano compositions were once very popular, among them the music of one of Bayard Taylor's songs" (716).[pages:716]
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