Opera Scotland

Creation 1893Dundee Choral Union

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By 1893, the Dundee Amateur Choral Union often imported the orchestra assembled by their Glaswegian equivalent - the band of London freelancers who, at about this time, renamed themselves as the Scottish Orchestra.

On this occasion, however, the 'Full Orchestral Accompaniment' was provided from other sources. It is most likely that the conductor, Carl Drechsler Hamilton, brought a band of his regular collaborators through from Edinburgh. Had the performance been on a Sunday, it would have been possible to employ the excellent pit band of Her Majesty's Theatre in the Seagate. However on a Thursday these stalwart musicians would have been gainfully employed accompanying one of the touring companies. There was also a pool of freelance players in Dundee, and Hamilton may have used some of them.

The most notable of the soloists was the well-established bass Frangcon Davies. He enjoyad a highly successful singing career, and not long before had been one of the original cast members in Sullivan's Ivanhoe. His daughter became a well-established stage actress, and lived to a great age. Early in her career Gwen Frangcon-Davies toured in the very successful musical comedy The Arcadians. By the thirties she was playing Gertrude in a famous London production of Hamlet directed by John Gielgud, in which he also took the title role, with Peggy Ashcroft as Ophelia and a teenaged Alec Guinness as Osric.

Effie Stewart had recently completed a season touring with the Carl Rosa company, during which she had played leading operatic rtoles, including Donna Anna, Aïda and Santuzza. The orchestra on this occasion was led by William Daly. The organist was an important local musician - pianist, conductor and composer David Stephen.

Performance DatesCreation 1893

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Kinnaird Hall | Dundee

6 Apr, 19.30

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