Opera Scotland

Pietro Mascagni

L'amico Fritz in Scotland

Posted 30 Sep 2016

L’ Amico Fritz received its first Scottish performance on 12 November 1892, at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Dundee. Within a couple of weeks it was seen in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Carl Rosa Opera Company which presented it was conducted by the Belgian immigrant Eugene Goossens. Goossens now lived in Britain, and went on to found a dynasty of great musicians. The cast was assembled from across the world – with the Canadian Charles Hedmondt singing Fritz and American Ella Russell as Suzel. The rabbi David was played by a young Australian bass, Lemprière Pringle. A second American soprano, Pauline Joran, sang the boy Beppe. Fortunately she was not only young and slender, but also an excellent violinist, so was able to play her own instrument on stage.

The following season a further seven performances were given, divided between Glasgow and Edinburgh. On these occasions, a very long evening followed, as Cavalleria Rusticana was added to the bill, sometimes played before, and sometimes after. Pagliacci, a shorter work, had not yet arrived on the scene, to be quickly recognised as Cavalleria’s perfect companion.

L’amico Fritz has not been seen in Scotland since these early performances over a century ago, and so the concert performance by Scottish Opera in October is extremely welcome.

Our illustration is of the composer, Pietro Mascagni.

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