Tulane's Prof. John Baron has written a great piece on ante bellum New Orleans' rejection of Mozart:
To put these half dozen Figaro performances in New Orleans in perspective: during the years 1836 to 1841, Davis’ French theater put on 364 performances of 65 operas by 27 composers, while Caldwell’s English opera put on dozens more. Or, statistcally, Figaro constituted less than 1% of the opera fare of New Orleans in the two decades of the 1820’s and 1830’s. Then, after 1840, Figaro was a forgotten opera in New Orleans.
Not that Mozart got an entirely fair shot:
It seems that Da Ponte’s original Italian text of Figaro was not sung here. Davis catered to French-speaking audiences, and his version of Figaro was in French: Les Noces de Figaro. Caldwell, on the other hand, used an arrangement of the opera by the English composer Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, which greatly diluted Mozart’s masterpiece. [...] His Marriage of Figaro, for example, included 10 songs and 6 dances of his own composition; he shifted arias from one opera to another; and he replaced recitatives with spoken dialogue.
I was thinking along these lines listening to the overture of Wagner's Rienzi (1840) yesterday, frustrated at not having pinpointed its American premier. Baron says:
Mozart’s music was old by 1800 (he died in 1791); there were exciting new works by Beethoven and Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Schumann, Verdi, Brahms, Wagner, Mahler, and Richard Strauss which [ante bellum American] audiences found relevant to their own times.
The search continues.