Opera Scotland

Attaque du Moulin 1916Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Attack on the Mill

The context

Bruneau's tuneful piece of French verismo was receiving its first provincial tour, just as the First World War made its plot grimly topical.

The Glasgow Herald review (24 March) drew attention to the fact that it was the first performance in Scotland. 

"With the war absorbing everyone's thoughts, it is natural that the theatre should attempt to strike a popular note by giving the public warlike fare.  Bruneau's Attack on the Mill, produced before a crowded Glasgow audience last night by the Carl Rosa Opera Company, may not be as completely up to date as The Man Who Stayed at Home, but it deals with the subject of war in some of its most poignant aspects, and reflects the great modern struggle in so far as the opposing forces are French and German. The grey uniforms and spiked helmets of the Germans are very modern.  The figure of Marcelline is supposed to suggest France mourning the loss of Alsace and Lorraine and into her mouth has been put some fierce denunciations of war.  The last word is with her."

"The Carl Rosa management, probably feeling that the public have had enough of horrors, save the miller from the Germans at the last moment, and so achieve a 'happy ending'.  The alteration can hardly be defended artistically, and in any case, was hardly necessary to ensure the work's success.  Opera lovers are well accustomed to tragedy.  The Attack on the Mill, however, found great favour with last night's audience.  The performance, too, was an exceptionally brilliant one. If this opera does not take a permanent place in the Carl Rosa Company's repertory, it ought at least to repay handsomely the time and care spent in its production."

"The opera was most effectively set, showing both smiling Alsace and Alsace shattered by German frightfulness.  Rehearsal had obviously been very thorough, and the performance ran with perfect smoothness from overture to final curtain. Space will not permit of more than mention of the excellent work of Mr Arthur Winckworth as Merlier, Mr Hughes Macklin as Dominique, Miss Christine Oliver as Marcelline and Miss Beatrice Miranda as Françoise. 

The less important soloists, the chorus, and the orchestra, also contributed their best, and Mr Henriquez de la Fuente conducted with conspicuous clearness and point."

 

The 1916 Scottish tour

The Scottish circuit that year consisted of two weeks at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum, followed by three at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. Advertisements state the orchestra included fifty performers.

Edinburgh w/c 21 Feb: Mon Tales of Hoffmann; Tue Aïda; Wed Tannhäuser; Thu Trovatore; Fri Cav & Pag; Sat m Faust; Sat e Bohemian Girl.

Edinburgh w/c 28 Feb: Mon Carmen; Tue Tales of Hoffmann; Wed Mignon; Thu Magic Flute; Fri Faust*; Sat m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat e Maritana.

Glasgow w/c 6 Mar: Mon Tales of Hoffmann; Tue Carmen; Wed Faust; Thu Trovatore; Fri Cav & Pag; Sat m Aïda; Sat e Maritana.

Glasgow w/c 13 Mar: Mon Tannhäuser; Tue Tales of Hoffmann; Wed Aïda; Thu Magic Flute; Fri Faust; Sat m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat e Bohemian Girl.

Glasgow w/c 20 Mar: Mon Carmen; Tue Mignon; Wed Cav & Pag; Thu Attack on the Mill; Fri Tales of Hoffmann; Sat m Faust; Sat e Trovatore.

The whole visit amounted to seven performances of Tales of Hoffmann; five of Faust; three of Aïda, Cav & Pag, Carmen and Trovatore; two of Tannhäuser, Bohemian Girl, Mignon, Maritana and Magic Flute; and just one of Attack on the Mill.

  • The advertised performance in Edinburgh of Attack on the Mill scheduled for Friday, 3 March, and which would have been the Scottish premiere, was replaced by one of Faust. The latter performance was seemingly not reviewed.

Performance Cast

Merlier an elderly miller

Arthur Winckworth

Françoise the miller's daughter

Beatrice Miranda

Dominique a Belgian peasant, betrothed to Françoise

Hughes Macklin

Marcelline housekeeper at the mill

Christine Oliver

Performance DatesAttaque du Moulin 1916

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

23 Mar, 19.15

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