Opera Scotland

Marie Roze

Marie Roze

Posted 17 Sep 2011

Marie Roze (1846 - 1926) was a French operatic soprano.  She spent much of her career in Britain with Carl Rosa (making quite a number of appearances in Scotland), touring the USA regularly and as a result becoming a well known public figure. She first appeared in Scotland with Mapleson's Italian Opera Company in October 1873 in Faust. The Herald critic, who'd heard her before, promised audiences "a good soprano voice, used artistically....her vocalisation is essentially French... her great beauty and graceful figure..... do not detract from the charm of her performance."

Roze was the first Manon in the UK and during Carl Rosa's 1885 tour was first to play the role in Scotland.  She sang Elsa in Lohengrin; and Carmen many times. In fact, Bizet wrote the role with her in mind. She was unable to play the part at the premiere in 1875 as she was contracted to the Italian Opera in London.

Roze gave her 270th performance of Carmen at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre during the 1886 tour. Students from Edinburgh University made a presentation to her, and afterwards pulled her carriage round to the Royal Hotel, where she made a speech from the balcony.

Of a performance as Carmen in Glasgow in 1888, the Herald critic noted "every-one is familiar with the character and with the prima-donna's impersonation of it. Madame Roze refines without weakening. Her Carmen is bright, graceful and spirited, with exquisite varieties of intonation....her art is so finished as to seem unstudied - even the slight break in her accent is not without charm."

Her popularity led to great demand for her services, and an American promoter won the bidding for 1887-88.  But the American agents failed to deposit the required amount of £5000 in her London bank account in time, their ship being delayed by fog.  Carl Rosa was able to step in and secure Roze's services for another year. 

Not long before her retirement from the operatic stage, she was to tour in 1891 in a company called the "Carl Rosa Carmen Company", playing of course the principal, involving her in three performances in the role each week. During the tour they visited Edinburgh.

See some of the roles she played in Scotland here by scrolling down the page and click through them to see additional information.

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