Opera Scotland

Carmen 1912Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Carmen

The production was reviewed in the Aberdeen Press and Journal (5 February), and indeed some comments on the week as a whole were given.

"Reflections on last week's operatic performance are, as a whole, of a most satisfactory nature. It would have been difficult to have made a better selection, embracing, as it did, representative examples of almost every school of operatic writing.  Practically three of the operas were in the nature of novelties to Aberdeen, and so long as they are well and adequately advised, the musical curiosity of our opera habitues is a fairly safe thing to reckon on.  The remaining four operas down for performances were works which, regarded from the box office and the public point of view, are generally considered as eminently safe."

"The performances, as a whole, were of a high standard - in one or two instances superlatively so.  The principals, though not including any star of dazzling brilliance, were almost invariably artistes of sterling attainments, and the general equality of the casts was a point that deserves special commendation. The chorus, which we always regard as a strong point with Carl Rosa, did excellent work. They go about their work in a whole-hearted fashion, as if they really enjoyed it, , and on one or two occasions sustained a choral excellence as convincing as it was brillliant."

"The leading feature of the week was undoubtedly the orchestra.  The leaders in their various departments are all orchestral players of first rank; the quality of the winds and brass will bear comparison with the highest standards, and the principal strings were not a whit behind.  In this respect, we cannot refrain from mentioning the name of the assistant conductor and principal first violin, Mr R. Mackenzie, whose confident and brilliant playing marks him out as a leader of unusual ability, whose work contributed in no small degree to the advanced standard of the orchestral ensemble."

" A word should be given to Miss Annie Elliott, the principal dancer, and her accomplished assistants.  Ballet in grand opera is often a very tedious business, but the charming elegance and terpsichorean ability of Miss Elliott made the bllets in the various operas a genuine artistic success."

"The performance of Carmen was noteworthy in the appearance of Miss Phyllis Archibald and Mr Hedmont as Carmen and Don Jose respectively.  Miss Archibald's delineation of the bewitching and fascinating  gipsy coquette was a piece of excellent dramatic characterisation.  Lacking perhaps in that element of hertless devilry that is sometimes made so aggressive by exponents of this part, Miss Archibald's rading was full of abandon and entrancing wantonness, and in the last scene with Don Jose her acting was most convincing in its dramatic intensity.  Her voice, a rich mezzo of strikingly expressive quality and big compass, which she uses with all the skill of a finished artist, was heard to fine advantage in the 'habanera' and the sparkling 'Bohemian Canzonet'. Miss Madoline Spicer made a charming Micaela.  Possessing a pure but not very big sopranao voice of excellent quality,her singing and acting throughout was in every way enjoyable." 

"In Mr Hedmondt's Don Jose we had further evidence of his undoubtedly great gifts as an operatic artist.  His dramatic conception was all that we look for from Mr Hedmondt (and that is saying a great deal), and his rare vocal artistry was amply demonstrated in his rendering of the famous 'Flower Song'.  The Escamillo of Mr Felix Fleischer was a picturesque and dashing dramatic characterisation, but vocally he was not so satisfactory. He was apparently suffering from cold, which probably explains the lack of resonance in his voice, and in one instance at least, a certain doubtfulness in his intonation."

"The parts of Frasquita and Mercedes were admirably interpreted by Miss Winifred Geverding and Miss Lilian Matthews, who gave evidence of capital vocal ability and real dramatic weight... The chorus sang with real verve and spirit, the ladies particularly distingushing themselves in the 'Cigarette Girls' Chorus', which was most effectively treated.  In some of the later choral numbers the excessive tempo made distinct articulation almost impossible,, besides distracting from the full vocal tone which the music demanded."

"The orchestra found in Bizet's brilliant and delightful scoring a distinctly grateful task, and their work throughout was quite up to the high standard we have learned to expect from them.  Mr Van Noorden conducted in his characteristically able fashion.

The schedule for the Aberdeen visit commencing 29 January was: Mon Mignon; Tue Tannhäuser; Wed Merry Wives of Windsor; Thu Faust; Fri Queen of Sheba; Sat mat Carmen; Sat eve Trovatore. The company moved south to Dundee the following week, with the same operas, though played in a different order. The one exception was Merry Wives, which was replaced by Cav & Pag.

The cast for the Saturday matinee of Carmen is from a programme in Aberdeen City Library, with details of the following Tuesday's performance confirmed from the Dundee Courier & Argus.

Performance Cast

Moralès a corporal of dragoons

Mr H Schofield

Micaëla a peasant girl

Madoline Spicer

Don José a corporal of dragoons

Charles Hedmondt

Zuniga a lieutenant of dragoons

Leslie Austin

Carmen a gypsy

Phyllis Archibald

Frasquita a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Winifred Geverding

Mercédès a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Lilian Matthews

Lillas Pastia an innkeeper

Albert Fenton

Escamillo a toreador

Felix Fleischer

Dancaïre a smuggler

Frederick Clendon

Remendado a smuggler

William O'Connor

Performance DatesCarmen 1912

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

3 Feb, 14.00

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

7 Feb, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

13 Feb, 19.30

Grand Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

16 Mar, 14.00

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