Opera Scotland

Faust 1952Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Faust

According to the Aberdeen Evening Express (4 April), the performance the previous night was "one of the highlights of their short season in Aberdeen. Although this opera is often described as one of the heavier works, and an opera which might all too easily develop into absurd melodram, there was never the slightest suggestion of this during three delightful hours' entertainment. The principals were particularly suited for their roles. Gwent Lewis handled the part of Faust competently if a little restrained at times. He has a good tenor voice. Una Hale as Marguerite seemed much happier with this role, and her arias went over splendidly.  The rousing climax in the prison scene was only achieved by her passionate singing.  Of the leading trio it was Arthur Wallington who stole the limelight. Here was the perfect Mephistopheles. As he strutted the stage with his arched eye-brows, skullcap, fierce red coat and all, he added to his fine bass voice with such rare stage technique that even with all his wickedness he commanded a strange fascination from the audience.  Jean Carrol - a most accomplished actress as well as an experienced singer - and Ronald Jackson in supporting roles, drew considerable applause, and in their arias certainly came up to the high standard set by their principals. Mr Arthur Hammond set himself a standard at the beginning of the week. Not once has he dropped below this excellence. He handles the orchestra in a restrained fashion, and is the perfect link between vocalist and orchestra."

The Carl Rosa tour in spring 1952 involved seven weeks in Scotland - one in Aberdeen, two in Edinburgh and four in Glasgow. It was notable for a new piece commissioned for the 1951 Festival of Britain, John Socman by George Lloyd. This was only shown in the central belt, however. 

The full Scottish schedule was as follows:

Aberdeen (His Majesty's) - Week commencing 31 March: Mon Carmen, Tue Rigoletto, Wed Traviata, Thu Faust, Fri Barber of Seville, Sat mat Bohème, Sat eve Trovatore.

Edinburgh (King's) - Week commencing 7 April: Mon Flying Dutchman, Tue Bohème, Wed Barber of Seville, Thu Rigoletto, Fri John Socman, Sat mat Butterfly, Sar eve Faust.

Week commencing Monday 14 April: Mon Cav & Pag, Tue Traviata, Wed Trovatore, Thu Butterfly, Fri Tosca, Sat mat Bohème, Sat eve Carmen.

Glasgow (Theatre Royal) - Week commencing Monday 21 April: Mon Traviata, Tue Bohème, Wed Barber, Thu Dutchman, Fri Rigoletto, Sat mat Butterfly, Sat eve Faust.

W/c Monday 28 April: Mon Barber, Tue Hoffmann, Wed Butterfly, Thu Cav & Pag, Fri Carmen, Sat mat Bohème, Sat eve Trovatore.

Wk/c Monday 5 May: Mon Carmen, Tue Dutchman, Wed Rigoletto, Thu Faust, Fri John Socman, Sat mat Carmen, Sat eve Bohème.

Week commencing Monday 12 May: Mon Butterfly, Tue Tosca, Wed Hoffmann, Thu Trovatore, Fri Traviata, Sat mat Barber, Sat eve Cav & Pag.

Cast details are from a programme in Aberdeen City Library. For the Glasgow performance of Thursday 8 May, with identical performers, there is a programme in the Opera Scotland collection, which also includes the following evening's John Socman. A programme for 8 May has been preserved in the Mitchell library and shows an identical cast.

Performance Cast

Faust a learned doctor

Gwent Lewis

Méphistophélès the devil

Arthur Wallington

Valentin Marguerite's brother

Ronald Jackson

Wagner a student of Dr Faust

Richard Golding

Marguerite

Una Hale

Siébel a student of Dr Faust, in love with Marguerite

Jean Carrol

Marthe a neighbour

Stella Phillips

Performance DatesFaust 1952

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

3 Apr, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

12 Apr, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

26 Apr, 19.15 8 May, 19.15

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