Opera Scotland

Madam Butterfly 1924Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Madama Butterfly

Carl Rosa Opera tours

The Carl Rosa company was in the habit of coming to Scotland in February and running its tour through the early spring.   In early 1924, from 28 January to 19 April they toured Aberdeen, Perth, Greenock, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Aberdeen Press and Journal of Tuesday, 29 January, was enthusiastic about Eva Turner's singing, though less so about her ability to portray a fifteen-year-old innocent. Of the remaining cast: 'Mr Hughes Macklin was happily articulate as the unheroic Pinkerton, he sang with plenty of power especially in the rapturous love duet, was something too stolid in becoming such an adventurous blade as Pinkerton and his love-making was desperately conventional.'

When the company reached Edinburgh, the Scotsman of Saturday, 12 April suggested that the cast of principals 'left little to be desired.'

'Miss Turner has developed an excellent dramatic conception of the character of the hapless Japanese girl, and there was an arresting charm in her impersonation last night. The note of pathos was never unduly emphasised, and yet the pathos was always there, passing at the climax of the story into a dignity which was strangely touching. As at her previous appearances this week, as Fidelio and as Aïda, her singing was beautiful in its warmth and expressiveness.'

'She had an admirable colleague in Miss Gladys Parr as Suzuki, a most artistic performance, vocally and dramatically. Mr Ben Williams made a good Pinkerton, and the duet for Butterfly and Pinkerton at the close of the first act was worked up to a fine climax. Mr Booth Hitchen was very effective as the Consul, and Mr William Peacock as Goro, Mr E Hemingway as the Prince, Mr Bernard Ross as the Bonze, and the remaining members of the cast were all good. Mr Hubert Bath conducted, and the performance as a whole was another example of the sterling work of the Carl Rosa Company.'

To arrive in Dundee on 22 December 1924 was unusual. To stay for a two week season even more so (indeed a unique event in the history of Carl Rosa performances in Dundee). In that era Christmas Day was not a holiday, and the company mounted a performance of Il Trovatore. On New Year's Day, Maritana was on offer. Unusual works being presented were La TraviataMarriage of Figaro and Fidelio. This fortnight in Dundee was not connected to visits to the other Scottish centres, as they left Dundee after Saturday, 3 January 1925, reappearing in Glasgow on 9 March.

Repertoire for Dundee

Repertoire for the two Dundee weeks was as follows:

First Week: Mon Carmen, Tue Tannhäuser, Wed Tales of Hoffmann, Thu (Christmas Day) Trovatore, Fri Traviata, Sat Mat Faust, Sat Eve Bohemian Girl.

Second Week: Mon Aïda, Tue Butterfly, Wed Marriage of Figaro, Thu (New Year's Day) Maritana, Fri Fidelio, Sat Mat Samson & Delilah, Sat Eve Faust.

There seems not to have been a review of the Dundee performance - just the announcement that the title role would be taken by Beatrice Miranda.  She had spent the early years of her career with the Carl Rosa and was a founder member of BNOC. Now, with Eva Turner leaving the company to begin her international career in Milan, Miranda returned.

There is a programme for the performance of 11 April archived in Edinburgh Central Library, from which the full cas thas been taken.

Performance Cast

Lieutenant F B Pinkerton U S Navy

Hughes Macklin (28 Jan)

Ben Williams (11 Apr)

Goro marriage broker

William Peacock (28 Jan; 11 Apr)

Suzuki Cio-Cio-San's servant

Olive Gilbert (28 Jan)

Gladys Parr (11 Apr)

Sharpless U S Consul in Nagasaki

Booth Hitchen (28 Jan; 11 Apr)

Cio-Cio-San known as Madam Butterfly

Eva Turner (28 Jan; 11 Apr)

Beatrice Miranda (30 Dec)

Bonze a priest, Cio-Cio-San's uncle

Bernard Ross (28 Jan; 11 Apr)

Prince Yamadori

Mr E Hemingway (11 Apr)

Mother

Evelyn Tay (11 Apr)

Imperial Commissioner

Mr E Hemingway (11 Apr)

Official Registrar

Harold Furness (11 Apr)

Kate Pinkerton

Ethel Freegarde (28 Jan)

Olive Gilbert (11 Apr)

Performance DatesMadam Butterfly 1924

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

28 Jan, 19.15

Perth Theatre | Perth

11 Feb, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

27 Feb, 19.15 11 Mar, 19.15 24 Mar, 19.15

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

11 Apr, 19.15

King's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

30 Dec, 19.15

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