If her father was ambitious and daring, Maria was so likewise. She had to sing with Velluti a duet in Zingarelli’s “Romeo e Giulietta,” and in the morning they rehearsed it together, Velluti reserving his fioriture for the evening, lest the young debutante should endeavor to imitate his ornaments. In the evening he sang his solo part, embroidering it with the most florid decorations, and finishing with a new and beautiful cadenza, which astonished and charmed the audience; Maria seized the phrases, to which she imparted an additional grace, and crowned her triumph with an audacious and superb improvisation. Thunders of applause greeted her, and while trembling with excitement she felt her arm grasped by a hand of iron. “Briccona!” hissed a voice in her ear, as Velluti glared on her, gnashing his teeth with rage. After performing in London, she appeared in the autumn with her father at the Manchester, York, and Liverpool Festivals, where she sang some of the most difficult pieces from the “Messiah” and the “Creation.” Some said that she failed, others that she sang with a degree of mingled brilliancy, delicacy, and sweetness that drew down a storm of applause.
Garcia now conceived a project for establishing Italian opera in the United States, and with characteristic daring he set sail for America with a miserable company, of which the only talent consisted of his own family, comprising himself, his son, daughter, and wife, Mme. Garcia having been a fairly good artist in her youth. The first opera produced was “Il Barbiere,” on November 29, 1825, and this was speedily followed by “Tancredi,” “Otello,” “Il Turco in Italia,” “Don Giovanni,” “Cenerentola,” and two operas composed by Garcia himself—“L’Amante Astuto,” and “La Figlia dell’ Aria,” The young singer’s success was of extraordinary character, and New York, unaccustomed to Italian opera, went into an ecstasy of admiration. Maria’s charming voice and personal fascination held the public spellbound, and her good nature in the introduction of English songs, whenever called on by her admirers, raised the delight of the opera-goers of the day to a wild enthusiasm.