Opera Scotland

Zauberflöte 1913Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Magic Flute

In view of how popular a piece it is nowadays, it seems surprising that The Magic Flute was only on the fringes of the repertory in the 19th century, and apart from this brief period around the time of the First World War it was ignored by the Carl Rosa. Oddly, it featured again in the autumn of 1913, when the opera was picked up by the Edinburgh-based Denhof company, giving its final performances. Denhof had the great advantage of Beecham as conductor - see details here.

This Rosa cast included the renowned Canadian tenor Charles Hedmondt, who sang a wide range of roles from Mozart to Wagner, and also directed the stage production in early Ring cycles in Britain. Beatrice Miranda was a young Australian who also showed great versatility, following her Queen of Night with Philine in Mignon (another high coloratura role) then Leonora in Trovatore on three successive evenings. She went on to sing several of the heavier Wagner roles. Miriam Licette was at the start of her career, and still rather stiff as an actress, but she went on to have a long career at Covent Garden and elsewhere between the wars.

Cast details are as reviewed in the Aberdeen Press and Journal of Saturday, 25 January, with a supplementary group of soloists specified in the Dundee Advertiser of 29 January and the Scotsman of 6 February.

The Scotsman was enthusiastic about the performance: 'Mr Van Noorden had allotted the chief parts to his best principals. The response on the side of the singers was so sincere that the performance must stand out to those who heard it as one to be remembered.......Mr Hedmondt in the rôle of Tamino spoke and sang admirably. He gave to a somewhat formal rôle much of the spirit of romance which is inseparable from his musical temperament; the emotional ''break'' in his voice was artistically used. A most impressive part was the Sarastro of Mr Arthur Winckworth. It was a pleasure to hear a real basso tone - not the baritone so much cultivated to-day - in ''Qui Sdegno'' (''Within this Hallowed Dwelling''). Miss Beatrice Miranda, as the mysterious Queen of the Night, sang with great purity of style, and bore her full share in the honours of the trio in the third act with Sarastro and Tamino. There was distinct talent in the singing and acting of Miss Miriam Licette as Pamina; it is a part that to be effective at all must be well sung and well acted. Mr Frederick Clendon played up to tradition in giving the burlesque quality to the part of Papageno.'

The new English translation by Edward J Dent maintained several features of the old Italian version by Gamerra (a contemporary of the composer, and himself the librettist of Lucio Silla). The Queen of Night lost her description as 'Star-blazing Queen' (Astrafiammante) but the Three Ladies all had names - Aretusa, Egle and Iperetusa. We are accustomed to the three guides being described as Boys (in German, Knaben). However Dent describes them as 'Genii' or 'Spirits'. There is a merger among the subsidiary priesthood. No Armed Men are identified separately, and there is no Speaker. Clearly these characters were combined. This had the effect, in the programme, that the voices were reversed. First Priest and Armed Man are usually allotted to the tenor. However with the Speaker, a baritone role, being renamed the others followed suit. To fit with the usual convention these parts have been swapped, with the tenor now First and the baritone Second.

This late winter Scottish season conisisted of seven weeks, each with seven performances. After a week in Aberdeen (w/c 20 Jan) then one in Dundee (w/c 27Jan), there followed three in Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre (commencing 3 Feb, 10 Feb, 17 Feb) and two in Glasgow’s Theatre Royal (w/c 24 Feb; 3 Mar).

The schedule was:

Aberdeen, w/c 20 Jan: Mon Carmen; Tue Lohengrin; Wed Trovatore; Thu Mefistofele; Fri Magic Flute; Sat m Tannhäuser; Sat e Mignon.

Dundee, w/c 27 Jan: Mon Tannhäuser; Tue Magic Flute; Wed Mignon; Thu Trovatore; Fri Mefistofele; Sat m Carmen; Sat e Bohemian Girl.

Edinburgh, w/c 3 Feb: Mon Tannhäuser; Tue Mignon; Wed Magic Flute; Thu Trovatore; Fri Lohengrin; Sat m Faust; Sat e Bohemian Girl.

Edinburgh, w/c 10 Feb: Mon Magic Flute; Tue Queen of Sheba; Wed Carmen; Thu Maritana; Fri Magic Flute; Sat m Mignon; Sat e Lily of Killarney.

Edinburgh, w/c 17 Feb: Mon Cav & Pag; Tue Don Giovanni; Wed Faust; Thu Jewels of the Madonna; Fri Tannhäuser; Sat m Jewels of the Madonna; Sat e Trovatore.

Glasgow, w/c 24 Feb: Mon Magic Flute; Tue Mignon; Wed Trovatore; Thu Cav & Pag; Fri Jewels of the Madonna; Sat m Tannhäuser; Sat e Faust.

Glasgow, w/c 3 Mar: Mon Lohengrin; Tue Jewels of the Madonna; Wed Magic Flute; Thu Mignon; Fri Carmen; Sat m Jewels of the Madonna; Sat e Magic Flute.

Performance Cast

Tamino a Prince

Charles Hedmondt (Jan 24, 28; Feb 5)

First Lady in attendance on the Queen

Mabel Owens (Jan 24)

Second Lady in attendance on the Queen

Signe Becker (Jan 24)

Third Lady in attendance on the Queen

Jean Douglas-Wilson (Jan 24)

Papageno a bird-catcher

Frederick Clendon (Jan 24, 28; Feb 5)

Queen of Night

Beatrice Miranda (Jan 24, 28; Feb 5)

Monostatos a servant in the Temple

Charles Neville (Jan 24)

Pamina daughter of the Queen of Night

Elizabeth Burgess (Jan 24)

Miriam Licette (Jan 28; Feb 5)

First Boy

Winifred Geverding (Jan 24)

Second Boy

Gladys Deane (Jan 24)

Third Boy

Janet Hemsley (Jan 24)

Speaker at the Temple

Leslie Austin (Jan 24)

Sarastro High Priest of Isis and Osiris

Arthur Winckworth (Jan 24, 28; Feb 5)

First Priest

William O'Connor (Jan 24)

Second Priest

Leslie Austin (Jan 24)

Papagena disguised as an old woman

Dorothy Lawson-Taylor (Jan 24; Feb 5)

First Armed Man

William O'Connor (Jan 24)

Second Armed Man

Leslie Austin (Jan 24)

Performance DatesZauberflöte 1913

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

24 Jan, 19.30

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

28 Jan, 19.15

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

5 Feb, 19.30 10 Feb, 19.30 14 Feb, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

24 Feb, 19.15 5 Mar, 19.15 8 Mar, 19.15

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