Opera Scotland

Cavalleria Rusticana 1955Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Cavalleria Rusticana

The Glasgow Herald reviewer (5 May) thought the performance was worthy of a much larger attendance than it had.  The almost primitive emotions that run riot can be a stumbling block to a satisfactory performance by a british company, but here we find the robust, dramatic staging and the acting necessary to convey their full impact. "Particularly noticeable in the Mascagni was the work of a young newcomer, Irene Lorimer, whose fine voice was heard to great effect in the role of Santuzza. Others who might be singled out were george Chitty (Turiddu)  amd David Allan (Alfio)....Maurits Sillem conducted the orcheatra. The playing was sensitive, and almost always well balanced with the stage".

Ruth Packer was a highly-regarded dramatic soprano who trained in Vienna before the war and became a notable teacher in the decades following her retirement. The Dutch-born conductor also played an important role in maintaining musical standards in this country, working successively with Glyndebourne, Carl Rosa, Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden.

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 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.

 

Sources

Venues

The highlight of the Carl Rosa tour of 1955 was the inclusion of several communities which had slipped off the circuit. Gaumont Cinemas had become aware that they owned several buildings that were still fully equipped with stages, and a decision was taken to allow a varied diet of live performance for six weeks every year. These included the Southend Odeon and Brighton Essoldo, as well as Gaumonts in Southampton, Chester, Doncaster and Preston.

The Tour

The only place in Scotland to be affected was Dundee - its Gaumont, the onetime King's Theatre, had been a very successful variety house, opening in 1909 and also staging touring shows, including opera, from 1921. It had been acquired by a cinema company in 1928 to satisfy the apparently insatiable demand in the city for moving pictures, especially when "talkies" were beginning to appear. It was therefore nearly thirty years since Carl Rosa had visited Dundee, even if smaller companies had appeared sporadically in other less ideal buildings.

To the surprise of many, all seven performances sold out immediately. The company's reaction was to add an extra midweek matinee (of Barber of Seville) and to make plans for an early return visit. This established a pattern which survived the takeover by Sadler's Wells, and continued until 1961, when the theatre was converted to a wide-screen cinema and lost its stage altogether (along with many other vital features - boxes, upper circle and front-of-house space). The irony, for opera audiences in the city, was that Scottish Opera was established in 1962, and first toured outside the central belt (to Aberdeen) as early as 1965. Without regular feeding, the habit of opera-going in the city has gradually died.

The two-week visit to the Glasgow Theatre Royal was, by contrast, 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.

Tour itinerary

The 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.

Sources

Glasgow Herald (5 May) and Dundee Courier and Advertiser (26 May).

Performance Cast

Santuzza a village girl

Ruth Packer (May 25)

Irene Lorimer (4 May)

Mamma Lucia the innkeeper, Turiddu’s mother

Margaret Winkler

Alfio the village carter

David Allen

Turiddu a young soldier

George Chitty

Lola Alfio’s wife

Patricia Grimshaw

Performance DatesCavalleria Rusticana 1955

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

4 May, 19.30 12 May, 19.30

Gaumont Theatre | Dundee

25 May, 19.00

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