Opera Scotland

Nozze di Figaro 1924Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Marriage of Figaro

The tour

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. Figaro only entered the repertory in Glasgow, continuing to Edinburgh, and, later in the year, Dundee.

Figaro

The single Edinburgh performance on Monday, 14 April (the start of the second week there), was greeted with enthusiasm by the Scotsman critic the next day. Performance practice was beginning to undergo a welcome process of change. 'Sir Thomas Beecham's exquisite revival, some years ago, of The Marriage of Figaro, a production which has remained as one of the best things in the repertory of the British National Opera Company, set up a new and more exacting standard by which performances of Mozart's sparkling opera are judged. The opera has been revived recently by the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company, and last night, when the new production was given for the first time in Edinburgh, at the Lyceum, it was gratifying to observe how closely it conformed to the improved conceptions of the work. It was not only Mozart's opera, but it was also Beaumarchais's comedy, put upon the stage with an appropriate elegance and distinction.'

'it is questionable if a much better Figaro than Mr Appleton Moore has been seen in Edinburgh. He sang well, and he carried off the humours of the character with great ease and finish. Miss Maude Neilson was an excellent Susanna and Miss Eveline Burks made a graceful and very effective Countess. Miss Gladys Parr was a fine Cherubino. She sang the music of the part with just that smooth perfection which it demands, while her portrayal of the demurely impudent page, with roguery and romantic seintiment struggling for mastery, was as artistic a piece of comedy as has been seen in opera in Edinburgh for many years.'

'The Count of Mr Booth Nitchen was another excellent impersonation, while his singing was always true and mellow. Mr Frederick Clendon made a good dr Bartolo, singing the music of the part in an excellent buffo style and furnishing an object-lesson in artistic tact and never going outside the text of composer or librettist. The Marcelline of Miss Olive Gilbert was amusing; Miss Ethel Earle made an attractive Barbarina; the Don Basilio of Mr Jack Wright had a genuine humorous quality which required no adjuncts in the way of a grotesque makeup, and Mr Harry Mann as the gardener was excellent in a role offering small opportunities.'

December in Dundee

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 Scottish public 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 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.

Cast details for Wednesday, 31 December are from reviews in the Dundee newspapers of Thursday, 1 January 1925.

Performance Cast

Figaro the Count's valet

Appleton Moore (Apr 14; Dec 31)

Susanna the Countess's maid

Maude Neilson (Apr 14; Dec 31)

Bartolo a doctor, the Countess's former guardian

Frederick Clendon (Apr 14; Dec 31)

Marcellina Bartolo's housekeeper

Olive Gilbert (Apr 14)

Winifred Burns (Dec 31)

Cherubino the Count's page

Gladys Parr (Apr 14; Dec 31)

Count Almaviva

Booth Hitchen (Apr 14; Dec 31)

Don Basilio a priest and music master

Jack Wright (Apr 14)

Parkyn Newton (Dec 31)

Countess Almaviva

Eveline Birks (Apr 14; Dec 31)

Antonio a gardener, Susanna's uncle

Harry Mann (Apr 14)

William Minette (Dec 31)

Don Curzio a lawyer

Mr H Bodicombe (Dec 31)

Barbarina daugher of Antonio

Ethel Earl (Apr 14)

Helen Breen (Dec 31)

Dancer

Ailne Phillips (Apr 14)

Performance DatesNozze di Figaro 1924

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

13 Mar, 19.15 25 Mar, 19.15

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

14 Apr, 19.15

King's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

31 Dec, 19.15

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