Opera Scotland

Lustigen Weiber von Windsor 1907Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Merry Wives of Windsor

Nicolai's charming comedy has never really established itself in Britain, no doubt due to competition from Verdi's Falstaff.   This was recognized by Carl Rosa as the first revival for many years - in Scotland, at any rate, the first since 1894.  However it seems to have escaped their attention that, by an odd chance, the Moody-Manners company had only recently brought it into their Scottish repertoire a few months earlier, in October 1906.  Clearly, in those days, companies did not worry about such clashes, even if it was a source of irritation for audiences.

The complete cast for 22 February is taken from a programme in the collection of the NLS.  In addition a very brief review in the Scotsman of the Glasgow performance identifies six of the principals, and the review in the Scotsman (23 March), quoted below, show consistent casting.  

"By its genuinely entertaining qualities the Merry Wives of Windsor in Nicolai's setting, amply justifies its inclusion in the current week's repertory of the Carl Rosa Company.  Its name does not appeal like some of the more familiar operas with which it is associated on the bill.   It is, therefore, encouraging to find an audience of such dimensions and cordiality as occupied the King's Theatre last night.  From beginning to end it went with verve.  The full-bodied humour of Shakespeare's creations and the sparkling music of the composer, as interpreted by the artistes, combined to secure this result.

'From both a musical and a histrionic standpoint, the members of the company acquitted themselves with distinction.  The Mrs Ford of Miss Elzabeth Burgess merited nothing but praise.  The vivacious, mischievous, high-sprited matron was presented with remarkable fidelity and convincingness.  The brilliance of Miss Burgess's soprano voice, the facility and naturalness of her style, and her admirable vocalisation combined to secure a finished study of the part.  Miss Doris Woodall, who has a voice of pleasing fullness and quality, made a successful Mrs Page;  and Miss Ina Hill acted gracefully and sang attractively as Anne Page.

Mr Arthur Winckworth, as Falstaff, was, of course, the centre of interest.  He sustained the part in the proper spirit.  Shakespeare's great part was viatalised and visualised.   Mr Winckworth's full, rich voice accorded appropriately with the immensity of his make-up.  The other parts were capably sustained.  Mr Charles Victor's rendering of the jealous husband as Ford was an admirably convincing effort.  Mr Edward Davies sang and acted well as Fenton."

The review in the Greenock Telegraph (16 March) said of Miss Elizabeth Burgess, as Mrs Ford, "Her alternate and quick-changing moods of anger, pouting sulkiness, and sarcastic, jeering laughter as the tormented husband vainly and ragingly sought here and there in vain for the lusty knight was a lesson in acting for playgoers to ponder.  Needless to say the chorus-singing and orchestration were a powerful and efficient help.  The piece was staged after old English fashion, and quaint old Windsor and the Garter Inn, and Herne's Oak once again to live and have their being.  The last-named scene, with the electric lights, and the fairies in the forest, was surprisingly beautiful."

 

The 1907 Carl Rosa tour in Scotland

In 1907, Carl Rosa Opera in Scotland spent two weeks at the Glasgow Grand, one at the Alexandra, Greenock and finally one at Edinburgh King’s Theatre (7.30; 2pm)

Glasgow w/c 25 February:  Mon Marriage of Figaro; Tue 26 Trovatore; Wed 27 Merry Wives of Windsor; Thu 28 Fidelio ;  Fri 29 Cav Pag;  Sat 30 m Tannhauser;  Sat 30 e Rigoletto.

Glasgow w/c 4 Mar:  Mon Don Giovanni;  Tue 5 Lohengrin;  Wed 6 Faust;  Thu 7 Carmen; Fri 8 Fidelio;  Sat 9 m Merry Wives of Windsor;  Sat 9 e Trovatore.

Greenock w/c 11 Mar:  Mon Lohengrin; Tue 12 Marriage of Figaro;  Wed; -  Thu 14 Fidelio;  Fri 15 Merry Wives of Windsor; Sat 16 m Tannhauser;  Sat 16 e Faust.

Edinburgh w/c 18 Mar:  Mon Tannhauser;  Tue 19 Don Giovanni;  Wed 20 Carmen;  Thu 21 Faust;  Fri 22 Merry Wives of Windsor; Sat 23 m Fidelio; Sat 23 e Trovatore.

 

Summary

4 Merry Wives of Windsor; Fidelio.  3 Trovatore; Tannhäuser; Faust; Carmen.  Marriage of Figaro; Don Giovanni; Lohengrin.  Rigoletto; Cav & Pag.

12 operas, 28 performances QED.  

Performance Cast

Mrs Ford Frau Fluth, wife of Ford

Elizabeth Burgess (Feb 22)

Mrs Page Frau Reich, wife of Page, Anne's mother

Doris Woodall (Feb 22)

Anne Page Jungfer Anna Reich, daughter of Page

Ina Hill (Feb 22)

Fenton a young gentleman

Edward Davies (Feb 22)

Ford Herr Fluth, a Windsor merchant

Charles Victor (Feb 22)

Page Herr Reich, a Windsor merchant

Frederick Clendon (Feb 22)

Slender Junker Spärlich, an elderly gentleman

Charles Le Sueur (Feb 22)

Dr Caius a French gentleman

John Ebbeler (Feb 22)

Bardolph

Alec Richard (Feb 22)

Sir John Falstaff a knight

Arthur Winckworth (Feb 22, 27)

Host of the 'Garter Inn'

Albert Fenton (Feb 22)

First Citizen

Arthur Hyde (Feb 22)

Second Citizen

William Rousell (Feb 22)

Third Citizen

Arthur Thomas (Feb 22)

Fourth Citizen

Frank Inniss (Feb 22)

Performance DatesLustigen Weiber von Windsor 1907

Map List

Grand Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

27 Feb, 19.30 9 Mar, 14.00

Alexandra Theatre | Greenock

15 Mar, 00.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

22 Mar, 19.30

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