Opera Scotland

Zauberflöte 1916Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Magic Flute

It may seem mildly eccentric to begin our description of this performance of a work that is now familiar to most operagoers with a mention of the Second and Third Boys, or Genii as the new translation by Edward J Dent called them. However two young singers, recently graduated from music college, had just made their presence felt after only a few months in the chorus. Eva Turner and her friend Gladys Parr would enjoy long and impressive careers. Dame Eva sang in most of the world's great opera houses, renowned for several of the major dramatic roles. While Miss Parr stayed in Britain, she sang with all the top British companies and went on to create some new roles in operas by Benjamin Britten.

Pioneering revival

The Scotsman review (3 March), from which cast details have been taken, noted "One of the greatest benefits conferred upon the musical public by the Carl Rosa Opera Company has been the revival of Mozart's Magic Flute. 

''The opera is one which it is by no means easy to produce in any adequate fashion: it involves a large cast, it makes heavy demands upon the singers, and to preserve anything like the artistic atmosphere appropriate to the work requires a series of elaborate and impressive stage pictures. In respect of all these points, the Carl Rosa management did exceedingly well when the opera was first added to the present repertory a few years ago, and in subsequent performancess the original creditable standard has been well maintained."

The performance

"Last night's performance called for a good deal of praise. There were points which invited criticism, but it would be a very ideal performance of Magic Flute which did not, and the main thing is that the audience was furnished with a very good idea of a great musical classic. 

''Mr Edward Davies was the Tamino, and saving a certain explosiveness of utterance which detracts from all his work, he gave a good rendering of the character.

"The Pamina of Miss Dorothy Robson was attractive, and Miss Beatrice Miranda, as on other occasions, grappled not without success, with the difficulties of the music of the Queen of the Night. 

''Other familiar impersonations were the Sarastro of Mr Arthur Winckworth, the Papageno of Mr Frederick Clendon, and the Papagena of Miss Dorothy Lawson Taylor.  The Monastatos of Mr Reginald Gordon was rather lacking in force, and Mr Charles Bernard might have made the Hierophant more impressive. 

The three attendants upon the Queen of the Night had excellent representatives in the Misses Annie Mackenzie, Jean Douglas Wilson and Stella Phelps. The three Genii, too, who have such charming music, were very agreeably impersonated by the Misses Winifred Geverding, Eva Turner and Gladys Parr.  Mr Ronald Mackenzie conducted, and to good purpose, saving that a little more animation throughout, and a firmer rhythm, would have been an advantage."

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 Mon 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 entire Scottish schedule 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; with just one of Attack on the Mill.

  • The advertised performance in Edinburgh of Attack on the Mill was replaced by one of Faust. The latter performance was seemingly not reviewed.

Performance Cast

Tamino a Prince

Edward Davies

First Lady in attendance on the Queen

Annie Mackenzie

Second Lady in attendance on the Queen

Jean Douglas-Wilson

Third Lady in attendance on the Queen

Stella Phelps

Papageno a bird-catcher

Frederick Clendon

Queen of Night

Beatrice Miranda

Monostatos a servant in the Temple

Reginald Gordon

Pamina daughter of the Queen of Night

Dorothy Robson

First Boy

Winifred Geverding

Second Boy

Eva Turner

Third Boy

Gladys Parr

Speaker at the Temple

Charles Bernard

Sarastro High Priest of Isis and Osiris

Arthur Winckworth

Papagena disguised as an old woman

Dorothy Lawson-Taylor

Performance DatesZauberflöte 1916

Map List

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

2 Mar, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

16 Mar, 19.15

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