Opera Scotland

Jeanie Deans 1918Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Jeanie Deans

A perceptive reviewer in the Glasgow Herald (23 March 1918) commented as follows:-

"When Jeanie Deans was last heard in Glasgow, about a quarter of a century ago, there was a hope that a new school of Scottish composers would remove our reproach of comparative barrenness in the higher forms of music. MacCunn charmed everybody with his 'Land of the Mountain and the Flood', and it took some time for us to realise that he had given his best in his early work.   

Jeanie Deans had only a moderate degree of success after its first performance, but it demonstrated effectively the young composer's seriousness and his grasp of some of the essentials of dramatic composition. It is difficult to say what importance attaches to last night's revival at the Theatre Royal. There was a crowded, enthusiastic audience, but such audiences have been almost commonplace to the Carl Rosa Company since they opened their present season in Glasgow."

"A great deal has happened to music in twenty-five years and MacCunn's score seems much simpler to those of us who had an early acquaintance with it. It aims, of course, at being complex music-drama with an unbroken stream of music and an elaborate orchestra to support emotional climaxes. But that is where MacCunn seems to have made a mistake. He had great technical cleverness, he was spoken of as the young Scottish composer and he felt he must say big things. Jeanie Deans occasionally begins to be big, but it fails to realise its promise. The music has not a sufficient flow of information, and the composer's big intentions prevent him from being even charming in a small way. Had he been content with less, he might have achieved more."

"Jeanie Deans has been a neglected opera, and, after last night's performance, one must confess that its neglect has not been altogether undeserved. In detail, however, there are not a few features of interest. The orchestra is well used. The touches of Scottish colour are occasionally quite happy. And there are snatches of tender melody, a suggestion of humour, and a few moments of real passion."

"If the opera last night left on the whole the impression of pretentious striving, the fault did not lie with the Carl Rosa Opera Company. The enthusiasm of the audience, indeed, seemed to be directed at the performers.  Miss Beatrice Miranda was brilliantly successful as the heroine, and Miss Clara Simon made a tragic, appealing Effie." 

The anonymous reviewer went on to state that the other parts were played by capable artists, but added little more than listing their names.

"The opera was most effectively staged, and the excellent ensemble argued careful and intelligent rehearsal. Jeanie Deans is worth hearing for its subject and its association with a Scottish composer who once promised well.  But", came a telling comment, "one fears that when it next goes on the shelf it will stay there."

Context

This visit to Edinburgh Lyceum by the Carl Rosa was unusual in that it lasted only one week, and that was at the end of July, not a time of year when the company habitually visited Scotland.

MacCunn's Jeanie Deans had been commissioned by the Carl Rosa, but had not been performed for some years. This was presumably a new staging, as the designers of sets and costumes were given a credit in the programme.

Sources 

Cast details for Jeanie Deans and Hoffmann are taken from the OperaScotland copy of the midweek programme, seen below.

The touring schedule for Scotland during the year 1918 was as follows:-

The season consisted of two weeks at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum, then four weeks at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. Following a break of two months or so, the company returned to Glasgow for four weeks and finally a week back at the Royal Lyceum.

Edinburgh w/c Feb 18: Mon Tannhäuser; Tue Carmen; Wed Madam Butterfly; Thu Faust; Fri Bohème; Sat m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat e Maritana.

Edinburgh w/c Feb 25: Mon Cav and Pag; Tue Bohème; Wed Merry Wives of Windsor; Thu Tales of Hoffmann; Fri Mignon; Sat m Madam Butterfly; Sat e Trovatore.

Glasgow w/c Mar 4: Mon Carmen; Tue Tannhäuser; Wed Bohème; Thu Faust; Fri Madam Butterfly; Sat m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat e Trovatore.

Glasgow w/c Mar 11: Mon Cav & Pag; Tue Mignon; Wed Tales of Hoffmann; Thu Merry Wives of Windsor; Fri Bohème; Sat m Madam Butterfly; Sat e Maritana.

Glasgow w/c Mar 18: Mon Tannhäuser; Tue Bohème; Wed Trovatore; Thu Tales of Hoffmann; Fri Jeanie Deans; Sat m Carmen; Sat e Faust.

Glasgow w/c Mar 25: Mon Madam Butterfly; Tue Carmen; Wed Jeanie Deans; Thu Cav and Pag; Fri Mignon; Sat m Tannhauser; Sat e Bohemian Girl.

Glasgow w/c Jun 24: Mon Tannhäuser; Tue Bohème; Wed Tales of Hoffmann; Thu Don Giovanni; Fri Carmen; Sat m Madam Butterfly; Sat e Trovatore.

Glasgow w/c Jul 1: Mon Jeanie Deans; Tue Cav and Pag; Wed Mignon; Thu Madam Butterfly; Fri Marriage of Figaro; Sat m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat e Faust.

Glasgow w/c Jul 8: Mon Merry Wives of Windsor; Tue Madam Butterfly; Wed Don Giovanni; Thu Dante and Beatrice and Pagliacci; Fri Tannhäuser; Sat m Jeanie Deans; Sat e Carmen.

Glasgow w/c Jul 15: Mon Mignon; Tue Faust; Wed Tannhäuser; Thu RigolettoFri Dante and Beatrice and Pagliacci; Sat m Bohème; Sat e Tales of Hoffmann.

Edinburgh w/c Mon 22 Jul CarmenTue Dante and Beatrice and Pagliacci; Wed Jeanie Deans; Thu Tales of Hoffmann; Fri Don Giovanni; Sat m Madam ButterflySat e Maritana

Our archivist has been unable to find a programme or review of the single performance of Bohemian Girl given on the tour (Saturday 30 March). As that was the final performance of the visit any such review would be rare.

Eleven weeks with seven performances each - total seventy-seven.

Nine Madam Butterfly; Tales of Hoffmann. Seven Carmen; Bohème; Tannhäuser. Five Jeanie Deans; Mignon; Faust. Four Cav & Pag; Trovatore. Three Maritana; Don Giovanni; Dante and Beatrice & Pagliacci; Merry Wives of Windsor. One Rigoletto; Bohemian Girl; Marriage of Figaro

Performance DatesJeanie Deans 1918

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

22 Mar, 19.15 27 Mar, 19.15 1 Jul, 19.15 13 Jul, 14.00

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

24 Jul, 19.15

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