Opera Scotland

Maritana 1889Dundee Amateur Opera Company

Read more about the opera Maritana

Following the success of the previous season's Martha, the Dundee company assembled the same principals to perform another popular favourite. Durward Lely took the opportunity to try a new role, which, as with Lionel, he would enjoy singing frequently in his thriving professional career. No stage director is credited, bat Messrs Chapman and Beattie, the gas engineer, were on the staff at Her Majesty's Theatre. The gas lighting helped reveal the splendours of the costumes provided for (or more likely by) the ladies and gents of the chorus, with complete changes required for each of the three acts.

The Dundee Advertiser took the opportunity to send not only its music critic, but also 'Our Lady Correspondent'. A brief extract from her piece appears below:

            In the second act there is a complete change of costume, and the scenery is specially pleasing. It represents first the interior of a fortress where Don Caesar is confined; but in Scene 2 it opens out to display a saloon where a courtly throng is assembled, giving on to a terrace, from which stretches a sun-lit park with fine trees. The Court dresses make a splendid show. Some have black lace draped over red, white, or yellow; others white lace over pink, or heliotrope, or blue. Perhaps the most effective may be said to be the scarlet and yellow gowns, which ‘tell’ splendidly with the black lace. The two young ladies who dance the Saraband for the delectation of the company are dressed in pale yellow skirts trimmed with two rows of black lace, and black velvet bodices with a hint of gold braid down the front. The picturesqueness of the scene would have been enhanced had each lady been provided with a fan to sway with Spanish elegance. They would have occupied the hands gracefully, too, and hands are apt to be somewhat in the way in amateur performances as a rule. Only the Marchioness has a pink one, and she wears a heliotrope dress. Maritana appears in a bridal gown of white satin with a train, her figure enveloped in a veil of sprigged net.

            The gentlemen in this scene can worthily compete as far as millinery goes with the ladies. Their velvet costumes literally glitter with gold or silver braid and spangles, and their plumed hats and lace ruffles might well excite a sigh of envy in the feminine bosom. Just fancy a black velvet Court suit covered with silver lace, and puffs of scarlet satin here and there, and the cloak, which only hangs over the shoulders, lined with scarlet too. Don Caesar is a ‘killing’ figure in this act when he exchanges his poverty-stricken attire for the gay garments of a bridegroom. For, you know, he is to be executed like poor Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard, and, like him, is to marry just before the event - not for the sake of leaving his widow anything, for Don Caesar is plagued with obdurate creditors, but in order to purchase the privilege of being shot like a gentleman instead of hanged like a felon. So he puts on his gorgeous dress of golden-brown plush, on which the light plays with bewitching softness, the doublet and hose laced, the cloak lined with old gold satin, the sombrero with drooping feather clapped picturesquely upon his head. A gold-fringed and embroidered sword belt crosses his chest, and supports his gold-hilted weapon. Don José - who is called, by the way, impartially Don José, Don Eosé, and Don Hosé - still retains his rich suit, and is kept in countenance by the Marquis, who wears a dignified costume of black velvet and silver, glittering with spangles and slashed with pink satin. The King, who appears enveloped in a black cloak in the first act, throws off his disguise, and discloses a black suit relieved with crimson satin embroidered with jet; the star of some famous order glitters on his breast.

Performance DatesMaritana 1889

Map List

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

6 Feb, 19.30 7 Feb, 19.30 8 Feb, 19.30 9 Feb, 19.30

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