Opera Scotland

Fidelio 1907Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Fidelio

At this stage of operatic history in the UK, Fidelio was almost as much of a rarity as The Merry Wives of Windsor, performed the previous evening. These two unusual pieces were sandwiched between performances of the rather more popular Faust and Trovatore.

The review in the Greenock Telegraph (15 March) talked of a 'large and very appreciative audience' and that "from beginning to finish the performance was a rare delight. All  the principals in the cast were in capital singing trim, and each did his and her utmost to make the evening's entertainment the unqualified  success it was."

The reviewer in the Scotsman (25 March) wrote "Of Saturday afternoon's audience in the King's Theatre there can have been but few who had heard Fidelio in Edinburgh before.  So long has the interval been that the last performance belongs to a distant age in the city's theatrical history, and a new generation of opera-goers has been born, that has had no opportunity of knowing Beethoven's work but by reputation and concert performances of its overtures.  The reason is by no means so plain as the fact.  Curiosity alone, one would suppose, should attract an audience to hear the master's one opera, even though it had been less of a masterpiece than it is.  Now that it has been reintroduced, it may be hoped that better times are in store.  A few more performances with the skill that the Carl Rosa Company has shown on the stage and in the orchestra should thaw the public at last into recognition of the power of so beautiful a work.  The heroine, Leonora, who penetrates in disguise, under the name of Fidelio, to her husband's prison, and saves him from the hand of murder, was played by Miss Grace Nicoll, whose rich voice and accomplished art bore her triumphantly over the great climax of the second act. The jailer Rocco's part was sung with dignified skill by Mr Arthur Winckworth.  The stately Spanish tyrant, Don Pizarro, was well represented by Mr Frederick Clendon.  It is not till the opera is half-way through that the plot allows the political prisoner, Don Florestan, to appear; but the curtain has scarcely risen upon the dungeon scene when Mr Julius Walther convinced everybody that he was the right man for the part. Marcellina was in the more than competent hands of Miss Ina Hill.  Mr Arthur Hyde as Jaquino and Mr John Ebbeler as Don Fernando showed that, like the others, they were actors as well as singers.  The orchestra, under Mr Walter van Noorden, achieved successfully its very important share in a successful performance."

Details of the full cast are taken from a programme in the NLS collection in Edinburgh. The Scotsman review (25 March) of the Edinburgh performance gives one change from the programme; Grace Nicoll has replaced Lucile Hill as Leonora.

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 Feb: Mon Marriage of Figaro; Tue Trovatore; Wed Merry Wives of Windsor; Thu Fidelio; Fri Cav Pag; Sat m Tannhäuser; Sat e Rigoletto.

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

Greenock w/c 11 Mar: Mon Lohengrin; Tue Marriage of Figaro; Wed; Thu Fidelio; Fri Merry Wives of Windsor; Sat m Tannhäuser; Sat e Faust.

Edinburgh w/c 18 Mar: Mon Tannhäuser; Tue Don Giovanni; Wed Carmen; Thu Faust; Fri Merry Wives of Windsor; Sat m Fidelio; Sat e Trovatore.

During the tour there were four performances each of Merry Wives of Windsor and Fidelio; three of Trovatore, Tannhäuser, Faust and Carmen; two of Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Lohengrin; and one of Rigoletto, Cav & Pag. In all 28 performances of 12 operas.  

Performance Cast

Jaquino Rocco's assistant

Arthur Hyde

Marzelline Rocco's daughter

Ina Hill

Rocco gaoler

Arthur Winckworth

Leonore Florestan's wife, disguised as Fidelio

Lucile Hill (Feb 28; Mar 8)

Grace Nicoll (Mar 14, 23)

Don Pizarro prison governor

Charles Victor

Florestan a Spanish nobleman

Julius Walther

Don Fernando the King's Minister

John Ebbeler

Performance DatesFidelio 1907

Map List

Grand Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

28 Feb, 19.30 8 Mar, 19.30

Alexandra Theatre | Greenock

14 Mar, 00.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

23 Mar, 14.00

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