And Vincent succeeded in the United States
He then was offered a curious contract: the American theater impresario Samuel Rothapfel signed Vicent along with other rookie singers to play in the Rialto Theater in New York. Movies were shown in that theater and before or after them future opera singers would sang. I don’t know if they sang opera pieces or popular songs. All I know is that he once sang in front of Douglas Fairbanks, who was attending that day since his movie “Manhattan Madness” was being played.
When he left Cuba heading New York he did something that became a constant throughout his career: his kindness, people skills and simplicity. Those words came out from the pen of all the journalists who knew him and who considered him almost immediately “his friend”. When he was sailing to New York he wrote a letter to say goodbye to all the public and press from Cuba. The main goal of this letter was to thank all the kindness and sympathy he was shown while in Cuba. This letter was published in the main newspapers from La Havana.
The play in the Rialto Theater lasted for a month, from the end of August until the end of September 1916. According to the press reviews I have he was very successful and he got a great acceptance from the public. The director of the Rialto Theater signed him indefinitely but when Vicent received an offer from the Boston National Grand Opera Company he didn’t want to be a career stopper and let him go. But under one condition: “once the season in Boston and Chicago was over, he had to go back to the Rialto Theater to help with his presence keeping the high level the company had”. This condition was met and it shows the good impression people had about his abilities, even when he was just a rookie.
Between November and December 1916, with the Boston National Grand Opera Company, he road trips north America: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Baltimore and Toronto (Canada). He first appeared together with his fellows María Gay and José Cardones.
He signs several employment contracts with other companies. He receives an excellent review in the specialized newspaper “Musical Courier” in February 1917.
New York, June 1917
Portrait of Vicent Ballester