Opera Scotland

Rigoletto 1867Madame Lancia's Grand English Opera Company

Read more about the opera Rigoletto

Thi was the first performance of Rigoletto in Scotland, some fourteen years after it came to London. Madame Lancia's Grand English Opera Company made an extensive tour of the British Isles through the second half of 1867. The itinerary included Birmingham at the end of June. By September they were in Leeds, October in Sheffield. Other stops are to be confirmed, but for three nights at the end of December, after the Glasgow visit, they were the first company to perform at the newly renovated theatre in Cork, which had been closed for two years.

They came to Glasgow for a two week season at the Royal Colosseum. This huge new theatre had only opened on 28 November, and stood on the site of the present Theatre Royal. After a commercially difficult couple of years that important name was adopted following the demolition of the old Theatre Royal in Dunlop Street, which had made way for St Enoch's Station.

The programme in Glasgow was largely of popular favourites. However two of Verdi's middle period masterpieces, the wildly popular Trovatore and still controversial Traviata, were now joined by Rigoletto and Un ballo in maschera, both receiving their Scottish premieres.

First week, commencing Monday 9 December: Mon Trovatore, Tue Sonnambula, Wed Rigoletto, Thu Bohemian Girl, Fri Un ballo in maschera, Sat Maritana.

Second week, beginning Monday 16 December: Mon Faust, Tue Traviata, Wed Don Giovanni, Thu Barber of Seville, Fri Trovatore, Sat Bohemian Girl.

Other operas performed elsewhere on the tour, though not in Glasgow, included Lurline (Wallace), Satanella (Balfe) and The Crown Diamonds (Auber). After the opera, the company usually concluded the entertainment with a short opera, play or farce such as The Waterman (Dibdin), The Wandering MinstrelThe Two Poles or My Precious Betsy.

The company seem not to have appeared in Scotland again. No programmes have yet been traced, and attempts to piece together casts from press reviews and advertisements have proved difficult. The abbreviated cast given below is is derived from reports of performances at other venues, which seem to be consistent.

Performance Cast

Duke of Mantua

William Parkinson

Rigoletto a jester

Charles Durand

Sparafucile a professional assassin

Mr Tempest

Gilda Rigoletto's daughter

Florence Lancia

Maddalena sister of Sparafucile

Carlotta Zerbini

Performance DatesRigoletto 1867

Map List

Royal Colosseum and Opera House | Glasgow

11 Dec, 00.00

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