Opera Scotland

Carl Rosa Opera Company

The Carl Rosa Opera Company is arguably the most influential opera company ever to have existed in the UK.  This is in part because of its long life and in part because of the large number of perfomances given each season across the country.

This touring company operated from 1874 to 1960 passing through various financial difficulties, including being insolvent at least twice. But its record of taking opera in English to new audiences, using a blend of well known stars and young singers, was unmatched, and they were responsible for many UK and Scottish opera premieres.  In addition, they had a policy of offering tickets (certainly the majority) at 'popular prices'.

The Carl Rosa Opera Company toured throughout the UK, even mounting regular London seasons.  Of particular interest to Opera Scotland is that it made an important contribution north of the border.  Opera Scotland has compiled listings of over 2500 main stage performances of opera by Carl Rosa Opera in Scotland.

Carl Rosa and his wife, the Edinburgh-born soprano Euphrosyne Parepa, learned how to operate an opera company (the Parepa-Rosa Opera company) during their time in the States.  They developed the ambition of starting an English-language opera company in the UK, and made enough money to finance their plans.   They launched the first season in Manchester in 1873, using the name the Carl Rosa Opera company.  Sadly Parepa soon died following a still birth, and before long Rosa drove himself on to build the business in accordance with their plans.

Soon the business grew, and was incorporated in 1887.  Two other brand names soon appeared. One was the Carl Rosa Carmen Opera company (seemingly a vehicle for Marie Roze, a star of the day and who was soon to retire) and which may have been a joint venture. The other was the Carl Rosa Light Opera Company, performing specially commissioned works (Paul Jones then Marjorie), and which seems to have been a joint venture. In consequence the rump of the business was occasionally labelled the Carl Rosa Grand Opera company in programmes and advertisements. Following a command performance at Balmoral of Fra Diavolo, Queen Victoria conferred the titles 'Royal' and 'Her Majesty's Servants' on the Carl Rosa Opera Company in January 1893.  Hence the names appear for some years as the Royal Carl Rosa Opera on advertisements and programmes, though not always in reviews.

The company became insolvent in 1898, and then in the 1920s, but was again reconstructed, the brand name continuing to prove powerful.

By the time of the organisation's Diamond Jubilee, management claimed Carl Rosa Opera had by then logged over 35m attendances, and quoted 1917 as a year when "over three-quarters of a million paid for admission".  Consider how this compares today with our subsidised companies!

After 1945, it became increasingly clear that subsidy would be needed to finance touring opera; the standards of the company were falling, and the repertory repetitive.  After a period of increasingly public dispute in the 1950s, the Arts Council took the decision to subsidise Sadler's Wells tours, and Carl Rosa Opera gave its last perfomance, in London in 1960.

The impresario Peter Mulloy revived the brand in 1998 and his Carl Rosa company performs operetta, principally Gilbert and Sullivan, bringing the conventions of opera afresh to a new generation at home and abroad.  They have an informative website www.carlrosaopera.co.uk.

To see a list of the operas performed by Carl Rosa Opera from 1874-1899 and the date of its first performance, click through the link below. Note that a single star denotes a Scottish premiere and a double star a UK premiere.

Operas performed by Carl Rosa in Scotland »

Aïda
1892 - Aïda
1921 - Aïda
1923 - Aïda
1924 - Aïda
Amico Fritz
1892 - Amico Fritz
1893 - Amico Fritz
Ballo in maschera
1939 - Masked Ball
Barber of Seville
1934 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1937 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1939 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1940 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1942 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1943 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1948 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1949 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1951 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1952 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1955 - Barbiere di Siviglia
1956 - Barbiere di Siviglia
Bastien und Bastienne
1895 - Bastien and Bastienne
Beggar Student
1884 - Beggar Student
1885 - Beggar Student
Black Domino
1891 - Black Domino
Bohème
1897 - Bohème
1918 - Bohème
1922 - Bohème
1937 - Bohème
1943 - Bohème
1944 - Bohème
1946 - Bohème
1948 - Bohème
1949 - Bohème
1951 - Bohème
1952 - Bohème
1954 - Bohème
1955 - Bohème
1956 - Bohème
Bohemian Girl
1874 - Bohemian Girl
1877 - Bohemian Girl
1879 - Bohemian Girl
1880 - Bohemian Girl
1881 - Bohemian Girl
1882 - Bohemian Girl
1883 - Bohemian Girl
1884 - Bohemian Girl
1885 - Bohemian Girl
1886 - Bohemian Girl
1887 - Bohemian Girl
1888 - Bohemian Girl
1889 - Bohemian Girl
1890 - Bohemian Girl
1891 - Bohemian Girl
1892 - Bohemian Girl
1893 - Bohemian Girl
1894 - Bohemian Girl
1895 - Bohemian Girl
1896 - Bohemian Girl
1897 - Bohemian Girl
1898 - Bohemian Girl
1899 - Bohemian Girl
1913 - Bohemian Girl
1923 - Bohemian Girl
1924 - Bohemian Girl
Cadi
1881 - Cadi
Carmen
1880 - Carmen
1881 - Carmen
1883 - Carmen
1884 - Carmen
1885 - Carmen
1886 - Carmen
1887 - Carmen
1888 - Carmen
1889 - Carmen
1890 - Carmen
1891 - Carmen
1892 - Carmen
1893 - Carmen
1894 - Carmen
1895 - Carmen
1896 - Carmen
1897 - Carmen
1898 - Carmen
1899 - Carmen
1912 - Carmen
1913 - Carmen
1915 - Carmen
1922 - Carmen
1923 - Carmen
1924 - Carmen
1930 - Carmen
1934 - Carmen
1937 - Carmen
1947 - Carmen
1948 - Carmen
1949 - Carmen
1951 - Carmen
1952 - Carmen
1954 - Carmen
Cavalleria Rusticana
1892 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1893 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1894 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1895 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1896 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1897 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1898 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1899 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1912 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1920 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1921 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1922 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1927 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1937 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1939 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1944 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1946 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1951 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1954 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1955 - Cavalleria Rusticana
1956 - Cavalleria Rusticana
Colomba
1883 - Colomba
Crown Diamonds
1874 - Crown Diamonds
Damnation of Faust
1894 - Damnation de Faust
Dante and Beatrice
1918 - Dante and Beatrice
Diarmid
1897 - Diarmid
Djamileh
1892 - Djamileh
1893 - Djamileh
Don Giovanni
1874 - Don Giovanni
1886 - Don Giovanni
1887 - Don Giovanni
1888 - Don Giovanni
1889 - Don Giovanni
1892 - Don Giovanni
1896 - Don Giovanni
1897 - Don Giovanni
1934 - Don Giovanni
1956 - Don Giovanni
Don Pasquale
1927 - Don Pasquale
Elixir of Love
1892 - Elisir d'amore
1893 - Elisir d'amore
Esmeralda
1883 - Esmeralda
1884 - Esmeralda
1886 - Esmeralda
1894 - Esmeralda
Fadette
1886 - Fadette
Faust
1874 - Faust
1876 - Faust
1877 - Faust
1880 - Faust
1881 - Faust
1882 - Faust
1883 - Faust
1884 - Faust
1885 - Faust
1886 - Faust
1888 - Faust
1889 - Faust
1890 - Faust
1891 - Faust
1892 - Faust
1893 - Faust
1894 - Faust
1895 - Faust
1896 - Faust
1897 - Faust
1898 - Faust
1899 - Faust
1907 - Faust
1912 - Faust
1914 - Faust
1916 - Faust
1919 - Faust
1921 - Faust
1922 - Faust
1923 - Faust
1924 - Faust
1925 - Faust
1935 - Faust
1937 - Faust
1939 - Faust
1944 - Faust
1946 - Faust
1949 - Faust
1952 - Faust
1954 - Faust
1955 - Faust
1956 - Faust
Favorite
1884 - Favorita
Fidelio
1877 - Fidelio
1883 - Fidelio
1907 - Fidelio
1925 - Fidelio
Fille du Régiment
1890 - Daughter of the Regiment
1891 - Daughter of the Regiment
1892 - Daughter of the Regiment
1893 - Daughter of the Regiment
1894 - Daughter of the Regiment
Fledermaus
1934 - Fledermaus
1935 - Fledermaus
1937 - Fledermaus
1939 - Fledermaus
Flying Dutchman
1877 - Fliegende Holländer
1882 - Fliegende Holländer
1895 - Fliegende Holländer
1896 - Fliegende Holländer
1930 - Fliegende Holländer
1951 - Fliegende Holländer
Forza del Destino
1910 - Force of Destiny
Fra Diavolo
1874 - Fra Diavolo
1877 - Fra Diavolo
1891 - Fra Diavolo
1893 - Fra Diavolo
1894 - Fra Diavolo
Galathée
1887 - Galatea
Gipsy Baron
1938 - Gipsy Baron
Golden Web
1893 - Golden Web
Goldsmith of Toledo
1922 - Goldsmith of Toledo
Hansel and Gretel
1895 - Hansel and Gretel
1930 - Hansel and Gretel
Huguenots
1891 - Huguenots
Ivanhoe
1895 - Ivanhoe
Jeanie Deans
1894 - Jeanie Deans
1918 - Jeanie Deans
John Socman
1952 - John Socman
Kiss
1949 - Kiss
Lady in White
1882 - Lady in White
Lily of Killarney
1876 - Lily of Killarney
1877 - Lily of Killarney
1881 - Lily of Killarney
1890 - Lily of Killarney
1898 - Lily of Killarney
Lohengrin
1881 - Lohengrin
1886 - Lohengrin
1891 - Lohengrin
1894 - Lohengrin
1895 - Lohengrin
1898 - Lohengrin
1899 - Lohengrin
1921 - Lohengrin
1923 - Lohengrin
Lucia di Lammermoor
1889 - Lucia di Lammermoor
Lurline
1889 - Lurline
Madama Butterfly
1918 - Madam Butterfly
1919 - Madam Butterfly
1921 - Madam Butterfly
1922 - Madam Butterfly
1924 - Madam Butterfly
1937 - Madam Butterfly
1939 - Madam Butterfly
1943 - Madam Butterfly
1944 - Madam Butterfly
1946 - Madam Butterfly
1947 - Madam Butterfly
1948 - Madam Butterfly
1949 - Madam Butterfly
1951 - Madam Butterfly
1954 - Madam Butterfly
Magic Flute
1913 - Zauberflöte
1914 - Zauberflöte
Manon
1885 - Manon
Manon Lescaut
1956 - Manon Lescaut
Maritana
1874 - Maritana
1876 - Maritana
1877 - Maritana
1879 - Maritana
1880 - Maritana
1881 - Maritana
1882 - Maritana
1884 - Maritana
1885 - Maritana
1887 - Maritana
1891 - Maritana
1892 - Maritana
1895 - Maritana
1896 - Maritana
1897 - Maritana
1898 - Maritana
1899 - Maritana
1916 - Maritana
1923 - Maritana
1925 - Maritana
Marriage of Figaro
1877 - Nozze di Figaro
1883 - Nozze di Figaro
1886 - Nozze di Figaro
1888 - Nozze di Figaro
1891 - Nozze di Figaro
1924 - Nozze di Figaro
1942 - Nozze di Figaro
1943 - Nozze di Figaro
Martyr of Antioch
1898 - Martyr of Antioch
Masaniello
1887 - Masaniello
Mefistofele
1884 - Mefistofele
1913 - Mefistofele
Meistersinger von Nürnberg
1896 - Mastersingers of Nuremberg
1921 - Mastersingers of Nuremberg
Merry Wives of Windsor
1877 - Lustigen Weiber von Windsor
1894 - Lustigen Weiber von Windsor
1907 - Lustigen Weiber von Windsor
1912 - Lustigen Weiber von Windsor
1920 - Lustigen Weiber von Windsor
1944 - Lustigen Weiber von Windsor
Messalina
1930 - Messalina
Mignon
1879 - Mignon
1880 - Mignon
1881 - Mignon
1883 - Mignon
1884 - Mignon
1885 - Mignon
1886 - Mignon
1887 - Mignon
1888 - Mignon
1889 - Mignon
1891 - Mignon
1895 - Mignon
1896 - Mignon
1897 - Mignon
1912 - Mignon
1913 - Mignon
1919 - Mignon
Nadeshda
1885 - Nadeshda
1886 - Nadeshda
Nordisa
1887 - Nordisa
Orpheus and Euridice
1894 - Orfeo ed Euridice
Otello
1892 - Otello
Pagliacci
1893 - Pagliacci
1894 - Pagliacci
1895 - Pagliacci
1896 - Pagliacci
1897 - Pagliacci
1898 - Pagliacci
1899 - Pagliacci
1912 - Pagliacci
1920 - Pagliacci
1921 - Pagliacci
1922 - Pagliacci
1927 - Pagliacci
1937 - Pagliacci
1939 - Pagliacci
1944 - Pagliacci
1946 - Pagliacci
1951 - Pagliacci
1954 - Pagliacci
1955 - Pagliacci
1956 - Pagliacci
Pauline
1877 - Pauline
Piccolino
1879 - Piccolino
Poet's Dream
1898 - Poet's Dream
Postilion of Longjumeau
1892 - Postillon de Longjumeau
1893 - Postillon de Longjumeau
Promessi Sposi
1881 - Promessi Sposi
Prophète
1892 - Prophet
Puritan's Daughter
1889 - Puritan's Daughter
Queen of Sheba
1911 - Queen of Sheba
1912 - Queen of Sheba
Rantzau
1893 - Rantzau
Rienzi
1894 - Rienzi
Rigoletto
1882 - Rigoletto
1919 - Rigoletto
1926 - Rigoletto
1939 - Rigoletto
1943 - Rigoletto
1945 - Rigoletto
1946 - Rigoletto
1947 - Rigoletto
1951 - Rigoletto
1952 - Rigoletto
1955 - Rigoletto
Robert le Diable
1897 - Robert the Devil
Robin Hood
1877 - Robin Hood
Roméo et Juliette
1890 - Romeo and Juliet
1891 - Romeo and Juliet
1892 - Romeo and Juliet
1896 - Romeo and Juliet
1897 - Romeo and Juliet
1919 - Romeo and Juliet
Ruy Blas
1886 - Ruy Blas
Samson et Dalila
1922 - Samson and Delilah
1925 - Samson and Delilah
Satanella
1877 - Satanella
Siege of Rochelle
1877 - Siege of Rochelle
Son and Stranger
1895 - Son and Stranger
Sonnambula
1874 - Sonnambula
1879 - Sonnambula
Star of the North
1889 - Étoile du nord
Stella Maris
1920 - Stella Maris
Stradella
1880 - Alessandro Stradella
Tales of Hoffmann
1914 - Tales of Hoffmann
1916 - Tales of Hoffmann
1917 - Tales of Hoffmann
1918 - Tales of Hoffmann
1919 - Tales of Hoffmann
1920 - Tales of Hoffmann
1921 - Tales of Hoffmann
1923 - Tales of Hoffmann
1924 - Tales of Hoffmann
1946 - Tales of Hoffmann
1954 - Tales of Hoffmann
1956 - Tales of Hoffmann
Talisman
1891 - Talisman
Taming of the Shrew
1880 - Taming of the Shrew
Tannhäuser
1893 - Tannhäuser
1894 - Tannhäuser
1895 - Tannhäuser
1896 - Tannhäuser
1897 - Tannhäuser
1898 - Tannhäuser
1899 - Tannhäuser
1912 - Tannhäuser
1913 - Tannhäuser
1919 - Tannhäuser
1921 - Tannhäuser
1922 - Tannhäuser
1924 - Tannhäuser
1935 - Tannhäuser
1938 - Tannhäuser
1954 - Tannhäuser
Tosca
1919 - Tosca
1945 - Tosca
1946 - Tosca
1947 - Tosca
1948 - Tosca
Traviata
1882 - Traviata
1890 - Traviata
1893 - Traviata
1919 - Traviata
1924 - Traviata
1938 - Traviata
1939 - Traviata
1943 - Traviata
1944 - Traviata
1946 - Traviata
1948 - Traviata
1952 - Traviata
Trovatore
1874 - Trovatore
1876 - Trovatore
1877 - Trovatore
1880 - Trovatore
1882 - Trovatore
1883 - Trovatore
1884 - Trovatore
1885 - Trovatore
1886 - Trovatore
1887 - Trovatore
1889 - Trovatore
1890 - Trovatore
1891 - Trovatore
1892 - Trovatore
1893 - Trovatore
1894 - Trovatore
1895 - Trovatore
1896 - Trovatore
1897 - Trovatore
1898 - Trovatore
1899 - Trovatore
1907 - Trovatore
1912 - Trovatore
1913 - Trovatore
1915 - Trovatore
1916 - Trovatore
1919 - Trovatore
1920 - Trovatore
1922 - Trovatore
1924 - Trovatore
1940 - Trovatore
1942 - Trovatore
1946 - Trovatore
1948 - Trovatore
1949 - Trovatore
1952 - Trovatore
1954 - Trovatore
1955 - Trovatore
Vivandière
1896 - Vivandière
Walküre
1896 - Valkyrie
Water Carrier
1876 - Water Carrier
1877 - Water Carrier
1950 - Water Carrier
Zampa
1876 - Zampa
1877 - Zampa
1881 - Zampa

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