by Kevin Walsh

I had always thought Maretzek Court, off Bloomingdale Road north of Amboy Road in Pleasant Plains, Staten Island, honored a developer or builder but actually the court honors a long-ago musician.

The handy-dandy Morris’s Memorial History of Staten Island has a listing for Max Maretzek Senior (1821-1898) born in Brno in what is now the Czech Republic, a musical kimpresario who received musical education in paris and London and immigrated to the USA in 1848, becoming manager of the Astor Place Theatre in 1850. In 1854 he introduced Italian opera at the Academy of Music, enabling “Il Trovatore” to be heard in the USA for the first time, and conducted the first performance of “Faust” on these shores. He maintained a “cozy residence on the heights, overlooking Pleasant Plains” and upon his death was interred in Moravian Cemetery in New Dorp.

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