Opera Scotland

Tannhäuser 1922Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Tannhäuser

The Carl Rosa's Scottish tour at the beginning of 1922 was an unusually long one with 21 different operas on display. If the seven renderings of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci are regarded as fourteen shows, that totals 105 performances (instead of 98) over the fourteen weeks from 16 January to 22 April embracing five venues. It began in the north-east, with one week in Perth, two in Aberdeen and one in Dundee. There followed an eight week stay in Glasgow, almost a northern headquarters for the company, and two final weeks in Edinburgh.

The most frequently performed operas in the season were Samson and Delilah (11), Carmen (9) and Madam Butterfly (9). Four works received only a single outing - The Valkyrie (in Aberdeen) and Lily of KillarneyBohème and Tosca in Glasgow.

The first week commencing Monday, 16 January, in Perth's delightfully intimate Edwardian auditorium, ran in this order: Mon Carmen; Tue Tales of Hoffmann, Wed Maritana, Thu Samson and Delilah, Fri Cav & Pag, Sat mat Madam Butterfly, Sat eve Il Trovatore.

In Aberdeen there were changes. Cav & Pag were dropped briefly, but the expanded repertoire saw the introduction of Bohemian GirlFaust and Mignon, as well as some larger-scale works by  Verdi Aïda) and Wagner (Tannhäuser, LohengrinValkyrie).

Dundee had not been visited since 1919 when Her Majesty's became a cinema, but the King's was now available, at least until 1928, when it, too, was acquired by a cinema company. The schedule for the week in Dundee was a fairly standard digest of the existing repertoire - Mon Faust, Tue Carmen, Wed Cav & Pag, Thu Samson and Delilah, Fri Tannhäuser, Sat mat Madam Butterfly, and Sat eve Trovatore.

With eight weeks to fill, it was inevitable that as well as nearly all of the above, a number of works would appear that were not seen elsewhere. These included Lily of Killarney, RigolettoMastersingersBohème and Tosca.

 

Eva Turner is here in a leading Wagner role. A decade later she included 'Elisabeth's Greeting' in concert programmes, and it is one of a small number of arias she recorded commercially. Even the small roles are generally sung by prominent members of the company such as Frederick Clendon and Horace Vincent. CLeipzig trained onductor Charles Webber was an acknowledged expert in German repertoire and in the decade before the war had worked on the music staff at Dresden and Bayreuth as well as conducting at smaller houses. 

Cast details for 10 February are compiled from reviews in the Dundee Advertiser and Dundee Courier and Argus on Saturday, 11 February.

From the Advertiser:-

'Tannhäuser filled the bill at the King's Theatre last night, and a packed house greeted the only Wagnerian opera of the week. Analysts may place tags on motifs as they please, but the great appeal of Tannhäuser lies in the splendid interweaving of music with drama, and on both sides last night's performance fell a little short.

'Miss Eva Colton's Venus, excellent vocally, lacked the warmth of its sensuous surroundings, and only in the close of the opening act did she strike the imagination. Tannhäuser gave Mr Perry a further opportunity to display a clear dramatic sense. His singing in the first act was full of spirit and fire, his ode in praise of Love being rich in vocal colour, and he cleverly fills the silent spaces. Miss Eva Turner as Elizabeth sang with great clearness and brilliancy, and ''The Prayer'' had fine searching quality. Mr Kingsley Lark filled the part of Wolfram with distinction, his soft voice particularly being of beautiful texture and his utterance beyond reproach. Mr Harry Brindle as the Landgrave moved and sang with dignity, full rich tone filling his part in the Hall of Song.'

According to the Courier:-

'Last night's performance, if not brilliant, was solid and satisfactory.'

'Miss Eva Turner's magnificent voice was heard to great advantage as Elizabeth. Her entry on the stage was not so sweepingly dramatic as it might have been, but her whole performance was dignified and full of poetic beauty. The Greeting to the Hall of Song was magnificently declaimed, and Elizabeth's Prayer was purely devotional in treatment, but Miss Turner rose to great vocal and dramatic heights in the scene near the end of the second act with the seven male principals. Hers was a great piece of fine dramatic singing which could be excelled or even equalled by few on the operatic stage of today.

'Mr Perry's Tannhäuser was a most excellent performance. A little reserved - perhaps due to the state of his voice - he sang very charmingly not only in his passionate song in the second act but also in his Narration in the third, which was given with quite exceptional dramatic feeling. Mr Harry Brindle's fine voice and broad style made him a most impressive Landgrave and Mr Kingsley Lark sang with delightful sweetness of voice and grace of vocalization as Wolfram.'

'The massed effects in the Hall of Song scene were splendidly broad and telling, and the Chorus of Pilgrims was tunefully sung. The Overture, a treat in itself, was brilliantly played, and the accompaniments throughout were excellent, although we thought the brasses not quite so tuneful as usual. A word is due to the harpist for her fine work, especially of course in the second act, and Mr Charles Webber's conducting was careful and discreet.'

Performance Cast

Venus

Eva Colton

Tannhäuser a knight and minnesinger

John Perry

Shepherd boy

Gladys Parker

Wolfram von Eschenbach a knight and minnesinger

Kingsley Lark

Hermann Landgrave of Thuringia

Harry Brindle

Walther von der Vogelweide a knight and minnesinger

Horace Vincent

Heinrich der Schreiber a knight and minnesinger

Jack Wright

Biterolf a knight and minnesinger

Frederick Clendon

Reinmar von Zweter a knight and minnesinger

E Gilding Clarke

Elisabeth niece of the Landgrave

Eva Turner

Performance DatesTannhäuser 1922

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

31 Jan, 19.15

King's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

10 Feb, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

17 Feb, 19.15 11 Mar, 14.15 20 Mar, 19.15 7 Apr, 19.15

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

17 Apr, 19.15

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