Opera Scotland

Barbiere di Siviglia 1955Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Barber of Seville

It may seem that the Carl Rosa company would have treated an old war-horse like The Barber as a matter of routine, especially when this short Scottish visit included Dundee for the first time in decades. Not so, however, for the company chose this season to experiment with the restoration of the role of Rosina to its original mezzo-soprano pitch - by no means standard practice at the time.

This was the first visit to Dundee by the Carl Rosa Company since 1928. The seven scheduled performances sold out weeks in advance and so the cmpany added an extra Wednesday matinee performce of the Barber.This too sold out but allowed a school party from Madras College in St Andrews to attend.

According to the review in the Glasgow Herald (4 May), "After an uninspiring start with some discrepancies in the orchestra and stridency of string tone during the overture, followed by some flat singing at the beginning of the street scene, the opera settled down to provide a most enjoyable evening.  There were many excellent qualities, pace and vitality, and well-managed clowning.  Both the singing and acting of the principals - David Allan as Figaro, Odette Ansell as Rosina, Joseph Satariano as Dr Bartolo, William Aitken as Count Almaviva, and Stanislav Pieczora as Don Basilio - were consistently good, and most of the words were clearly audible.  The opera was conducted by John Ball."

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.


The complete cast is drawn from a copy of the Dundee programme in the OperaScotland archive; and the story of the school trip from the St Andrews Citizen of 29 May.

Performance Cast

Fiorello servant of the Count

Frederick Wood

Count Almaviva

William Aitken

Figaro a barber

David Allen (3 May)

John Heddle Nash

Rosina Bartolo's ward

Odette Ansell

Bartolo a doctor, Rosina's guardian

Joseph Satariano

Ambrogio Bartolo's servant

Peter Murray

Don Basilio a singing teacher

Richard Golding

Berta Bartolo's housekeeper

Patricia Grimshaw


Frederick Wood

Production Cast


John Bell

Performance DatesBarbiere di Siviglia 1955

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

3 May, 19.30 14 May, 14.30

Gaumont Theatre | Dundee

25 May, 14.00 27 May, 19.00

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