Opera Scotland

Faust 1955Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Faust

A short review in the Glasgow Herald (6 May) says the standard of previous productions in the week was well maintained.  "The company are fortunate in this opera in having such a versatile bass as Stanislav Pieczora, who filled the role of Mephisopheles so admirably.  He has a commanding presence and both in voice and appearance can convey a most sinister atmosphere.  Estelle Valery repeated her success of Wednesday night, making an appealing Marguerite. Charles Craig as Faust and John Heddle Nash as Valentine both contributed some good singing."

"The production as a whole was seldom static, though the crowd scenes might occasionally have been better handled, and there were some excellent scenic effects and imaginative touches in the direction. The opera was in the capable hands of Arthur Hammond, who maintained close liaison between the cast and the orchestra throughout the performance."

The Carl Rosa organisation was desperately short of funds in its later years. While it was often criticised, with justification, for its shortcomings in stage direction and design, as well as the difficulties it sometimes had with orchestral standards, the management still persevered in introducing novelties on a regular basis. Even an old war-horse ilke Faust received attention, with an attempt to restore Gounod's first thoughts - no baritone aria (composed later for Charles Santley in London) and spoken dialogue instead of turgid recitative.

There was another unusual feature of this tour - the company briefly gained access to several old theatres which now operated as cinemas without, at this point, having lost their stages. Thus the usual two fortnights at the Opera House Belfast and at Glasgow Theatre Royal came after experimental weeks at the Gaumonts in Chester, Doncaster and Preston.

After Glasgow there was a week at the Globe in Stockton-on-Tees before the company came north again for a week at the Dundee Gaumont. This was the Carl Rosa's first Dundee visit since 1928, when the King's had first become a cinema. It was a huge success. Every performance sold out, and an extra Wednesday matinee was added to the schedule. The company returned the following season, and the Dundee date was then taken over by Sadler's Wells with equal success - until the stage was finally ripped out in 1961 - ironically, only a few months before the establishment of Scottish Opera.

Unlike the newly re-introduced Dundee venue, the Glasgow Theatre Royal was a regular feature of Carl Rosa tours. Works shown only in Glasgow were Don Giovanni, Carmen, The Tales of Hoffmann and Tannhäuser. Both cities saw Bohème, Barber of Seville, Cav & Pag, Rigoletto, Trovatore and Faust.

The schedule

The full tour schedule was:

Glasgow (1) - week commencing 2 May: Mon Bohème; Tue Barber of Seville; Wed Cav & Pag; Thu Faust; Fri Tannhäuser; Sat mat Bohème; Sat eve Carmen.

Glasgow (2) - week commencing 9 May: Mon Tales of Hoffmann; Tue Rigoletto; Wed Bohème; Thu Cav & Pag; Fri Don Giovanni; Sat mat Barber of Seville; Sat eve Trovatore.

The intervening week, commencing Monday, 16 May, was spent at the Globe Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees.

Dundee - week commencing 23 May: Mon Bohème; Tue Rigoletto; Wed mat Barber of Seville; Wed eve Cav & Pag; Thu Faust; Fri Barber of Seville; Sat mat Bohème; Sat eve Trovatore.


Cast taken from a Dundee programme in the OperaScotland archive.


Performance Cast

Faust a learned doctor

Charles Craig

Méphistophélès the devil

Stanislav Pieczora

Valentin Marguerite's brother

Arthur Copley

Wagner a student of Dr Faust

Richard Golding


Estelle Valery

Siébel a student of Dr Faust, in love with Marguerite

Mona Ross

Marthe a neighbour

Julia Bouttell

Performance DatesFaust 1955

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

5 May, 19.30

Gaumont Theatre | Dundee

26 May, 19.00

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