Opera Scotland

Faust 1911Moody-Manners Opera Company

Read more about the opera Faust

The most notable feature of the final 1911 Moody-Manners tour was quite clearly the absence of Fanny Moody and Charles Manners. They were spending some time touring the music halls. Meanwhile Florence Morden was promoted to take leading roles - her career would develop over the next few years with the O'Mara company. Harry Brindle's future lay largely with Carl Rosa through the twenties. Both tenors were new - the American only sang here very briefly, while Mr Christian spent a second season here in 1912 - though that was also with Carl Rosa.

The repertoire was nearly the same in both cities, though played in a different order. There were three French operas (Faust, Carmen, Samson and Delilah), plus Tannhäuser, Trovatore, and Daughter of the Regiment. The onlt variation came on Saturday evening, when Aberdeen got Bohemian Girl and Dundee The Lily of Killarney.  These were both still popular favourites which would make good money from a full house, and would be familiar to all the musicians, thus requiring minimal rehearsal, and probably getting none.

The performance schedule for the Dundee week was:

Dundee, w/c 13 March:  Mon 13 Faust;  Tue 14 Daughter of the Regiment;  Wed 15 Trovatore;  Thu 16  Tannhäuser;  Fri 17 Samson and Delilah;  Sat 18 m  Carmen;  Sat 18 e Lily of Killarney.

Dundee Ticket Prices:

Dress Circle      4s

Orch Stalls        3s

Upper Circle      2s 6d

Cast details are from a programme in Aberdeen City Library, supplemented by reviews in the Dundee Advertiser and Dundee Courier.

 

Dundee Press Previews

Dundee Advertiser: Friday, March 10, 1911

Opera in English - Moody-Manners Company's Visit to Dundee

 'At Her Majesty's Theatre next week there will be a change in the usual dramatic bill of fare.  The Moody-Manners Opera Company are to appear in a round of favourite operas. For the last three seasons this long-established company, which has done so much for the development of a love of opera in this country, has paid us an annual visit.  The performances during their most recent appearances were certainly superior to those of previous years.  There is, therefore, reason to hope for good representations on this occasion, even although Madame Fanny Moody and Mr Charles Manners are, as every one knows, busily engaged in another place.

'Seven operas in all - including the Saturday matinée - will be given.  These are: - Faust, The Daughter of the Regiment, Il Trovatore, Tannhäuser, Samson and Delilah, Carmen, and The Lily of Killarney.  None of these are novelties precisely, though Donizetti's lively Daughter of the Regiment has not been sung in Dundee for some time, and then not by this company.  Benedict's tuneful Lily of Killarney - a fine example of English opera - has also been undeservedly neglected in recent years; while many people must yet have to make the acquaintance of Saint-Saëns' Samson and Delilah - one of the most successful additions lately made to the Moody-Manners repertoire.  It should not be missed.

'Amongst the artistes are a few old friends and many newcomers.  The sopranos include Miss Florence Morden (Marguerite), Miss Rosa O'Farrell (Marie), and Miss Grace Nicoll (Leonora). Miss Bessie Weir, who used to make a good Siébel, will play Delilah; and Miss Olive Westwood, who is set down for Carmen, is, as we already know, a very handsome and picturesque figure in the part.  Miss Raymonde Amy (Michaela) and Miss Helen Culver (Azucena) are, we think, newcomers.  In the list of principal tenors are Mr Frank Christian, Mr Albert Bowyer, and Mr Charles Carter.  Mr Harry Brindle will be the Méphistophélès, Mr Manitto Klitgaard Sergeant Sulpice, Mr William Farmer Count de Luna, and Mr Graham Marr Escamillo.  From the qualities of the singers of whom we have had experience, such as Mr Brindle and Miss Westwood, we may form an idea of the accomplishment of their confrères.  The chorus and orchestra usually play an important part in Moody-Manners opera.  On this occasion the choristers number 40, which should suffice for the work; and the instrumentalists are given as 30.  The musical director is Mr Harrison Frewin.'

 

Dundee Courier: Friday, March 10, 1911

Her Majesty's Theatre - The Moody-Manners Opera Company

'Our annual week of opera in English begins on Monday first at Her Majesty's Theatre.  The programme consists of Faust on Monday evening; The Daughter of the Regiment on Tuesday; Il Trovatore on Wednesday; Tannhäuser on Thursday; Samson and Delilah on Friday; Carmen at Saturday's matinee, and The Lily of Killarney on Saturday evening.  Since last spring the Moody-Manners Opera Company has undergone changes.  It then consisted of several different companies; now there is only one.  Mrs Fanny Moody and Mr Charles Manners have given up the active pursuit of the operatic stage in favour of the music halls, and many more of the principals of last year's company are now with the Beecham Opera Company or elsewhere.

'The company which is to appear here on Monday numbers about eighty, considerably less than that of last year, still sufficient, if the quality be good, for Her Majesty's Theatre.  The most of the names are unfamiliar here, but Mr Manners will, we are sure, not send us - or anyone else - an inferior company.

'The principal sopranos are Miss Florence Morden, Miss Rosa O'Farrell - who appeared here four years ago in The Bohemian Girl - and Miss Grace Nicoll.   The altos are Miss Bessie Weir, Miss Alexander, Miss Lily Moody, and Miss Olive Westwood, none of whom are quite unknown here.  The tenors are Mr Frank Christian, Mr Albert Bowyer, and Mr Charles Carter - who appeared here in 1909; and the basses and baritones are Mr Harry Brindle, Mr Graham Marr, Mr William Farmer, and Mr R Cliffe.  Other important names in the cast are Misses Raymonde Amy and W Burns, and Messrs F Davies and C Moppett.

'All the operas in the programme have been played here by the Moody-Manners Opera Company excepting The Daughter of the Regiment and The Lily of Killarney, neither of which has been heard here for nearly ten years, when they were last produced by Mr Turner and his company.

'Mr Harrison Frewin is the musical director of the company, and Mr J MacCabe is again the business manager.'

 

A Dundee Review

Dundee Courier: Tuesday, March 14, 1911       

Her Majesty's Theatre - Moody-Manners Opera Company - Faust

'The great question - “Is Dundee musical?” received a somewhat disappointing answer last night, for the audience at Her Majesty's Theatre was not nearly so large as it ought to be.   Gounod's Faust used always to fill the house, and its failure to do so on this occasion is due either to the falling off of taste for one of the classics of opera, or to the fact that the public here at least go largely to hear singers with names that they know.

'Although last night's programme contained few familiar names, we have heard many less satisfactory performances of Faust given to a much better audience.  We hope the assurance that the performance was of a highly creditable nature may induce better support for the rest of the week.  Mr Manners' No.1 Company would, we doubt not, have been with us still had it paid; better houses than that of last night must prevail, otherwise we will be in danger of losing the present company as well.

'The feature of last night's performance was undoubtedly its quality.  Of course, some parts were better filled than others, but the differences were not so great as they have sometimes been.  No character towered above the others so as to put these in undue shade; none was so much indifferent to the others as to throw these into disproportionate importance.

'There is not much that is new to be said about Gounod's Faust nowadays.  It is perhaps the most familiar of all operas in Dundee, for such former popular favourites as The Bohemian Girl and Maritana have almost sunk into that oblivion which becomes them as dramatic works of art.  The legend of Faust is, of course, immortal, and until a finer setting for the stage than Gounod's is produced - which will be a long time - it will always enjoy a certain vogue.

'Last night’s production had the advantage of a particularly charming Marguerite in Miss Florence Morden.  Miss Morden has a delightfully round and pleasant voice which she used very skilfully.  Its quality is extremely fresh and youthful, both characteristics of the perfect Marguerite.  Miss Morden’s acting was perhaps a little immature, and therefore her earlier scenes were the most satisfactory.  Both “The King of Thule” ballad and “The Jewel Song” were sung in most careful fashion, and in the concerted music in the second act Miss Morden sang with much sympathy.

'Miss Bessie Weir, one of the members of the company who is known here, made a graceful and unusually dramatic Siébel.   Her voice is fuller and richer than when last we heard it, and promises well for her performance as Delilah on Friday evening.  Miss Alexander’s Martha was a careful and artistic bit of work, not without its appropriate touch of humour, but her voice did not blend well with the others in the second act.

'Mr Harry Brindle, promoted from the part of Wagner to that of Méphistophélès, shows himself a worthy pupil of Mr Manners.   His voice, no doubt, lacks the wonderful sonorities of his chief’s, and his Méphistophélès is not sufficiently devilish, but his voice is of admirable quality, and he uses it with cultured skill.  His “Serenade” was capitally sung, the mocking tone being finely got.

'Mr Frank Christian as Faust was a little disappointing at first, but improved greatly later on.  His opening phrases were distinctly out of tune, but he seemed to recover his voice with his youth, and later sang with much freedom and skill.  His “All hail, thou dwelling pure and lowly,” was full of careful phrasing, if lacking in vocal beauty, and his later work in the same scene was still better.  The great trio in the last act for Marguerite, Faust, and Mephistopheles was a brilliant and successful effort on the part of all three artistes.

'Mr Graham Marr, while not obliterating memories of his predecessor, gave a most capable and promising performance as Valentine.  His famous song in the second act was given with fine breadth of sympathy, and the duel and death scenes were gracefully acted.

'The chorus, though not so large as last year, is quite powerful enough for the house, and the singing was tuneful and crisp.  Particularly fine was the pianissimo effect at the end of the third act.  The Soldiers’ Chorus was as usual encored, and much of the choral work was excellent.  The same cannot be said of the band, which was rough at times, and unduly truculent in the brass division.  Mr Harrison Frewin conducted admirably.'

 

A Glasgow Notice

Glasgow Herald:  Tuesday, 21 March 1911 (p7)

Opera in Glasgow

'The Moody-Manners Company comes to Glasgow somewhat reduced in quality.  Hardly one of the old principals remain, and the new can hardly be said to make up for their loss.  That there were many vacant seats at the performance of Faust last night was probably owing to this fact, as well as to the more certain musical attractions elsewhere.  This is not to say that the company were not worthy a hearing, for, although the highest water-mark of Moody-Manners performances was not reached, the newcomers did uncommonly well.  In other respects, too, one noticed changes.  The company was not so strong numerically as formerly,  the ballet corps was smaller, and the staging of the opera was not on quite so complete a scale as on many previous occasions.

'The omission of the screen effects in the first scene, where Faust is yearning for the return of the joys of youth, was no great loss, but there rwas a singular appropriateness in dramatic effect when Mr Manners once, at any rate, at the Theatre Royal shot up in a pillar of flame in his Mephistophelean garb from the nether regions of the stage, where the devil ought to come from.  The scenic shortcomings were perhaps most noticeable, however, in the church scene.  Mr Manners has encouraged us to expect a higher standard in these matters than was displayed last night.

'The principal parts, as already indicated, were well filled, if there was no outstanding feature.  Seldom do we see so girlish a Marguerite as Miss Florence Morden.  She played with genuine simplicuty and sang charmingly in the garden scene;  but her voice, though of pure quality, was scarcely big enough for some of the later music.  Mr Harry Brindle seems to have taken his model of Mephistopheles from Mr Manners - a good one too - but on the whole he played it in a quieter fashion, and he was quite equal to the vocal demands of the part.

'Mr Albert Bowyer sang well as Faust, and Mr Graham Marr's Valentine was not unworthy to rank with others one has heard in the company.  Miss Bessie Weir was thoroughly at home in the part of Siebel, but an attempt to make her voice do too much caused some lapses from true intonation in the Flower Song.  The singing of the chorus, reinforced by the Glasgow Grand Opera Society, lacked nothing in heartiness, and the orchestra, under the direction of Mr Harrison Frewin, played smoothly.'

Performance Cast

Faust a learned doctor

George Wilber Reid (Mar 6)

Franz Christian (Mar 13)

Albert Bowyer (Mar 20)

Méphistophélès the devil

Harry Brindle (Mar 6, 13, 20)

Valentin Marguerite's brother

Graham Marr (Mar 6, 13, 20)

Marguerite

Florence Morden (Mar 6, 13, 20)

Siébel a student of Dr Faust, in love with Marguerite

Bessie Weir (Mar 6, 13, 20)

Marthe a neighbour

Bessie Alexander (Mar 6, 13)

Performance DatesFaust 1911

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

6 Mar, 19.30

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

13 Mar, 19.30

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

20 Mar, 19.30

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2021

Site by SiteBuddha