Opera Scotland

Marie Roze Suggest updates

Marie Hippolyte Ponsin

Born Paris, 2 March 1846.

Died Paris, 21 June 1926.

French soprano.

Marie Roze was an extremely popular singer both in Britain and the USA. Having spent part of her childhood in Britain, she was entirely confident when asked to sing most of her later roles in English.

Early years

She studied at the Paris Conservatoire, one of her teachers being Auber. Her debut, in 1865, was in a revival of Hérold's 1826 opera Marie at the Opéra-Comique, following that with roles in La Dame Blanche, Fra Diavolo, Le Pré aux Clercs and Joseph. Auber cast her in the premiere of one of his last operas, Le Premier Jour du Bonheur. Her debut at the Opéra followed in 1869, as Marguerite. She is said to have inspired Bizet, who had her in mind when he composed Carmen - but she was singing abroad when the premiere took place.


She first sang in London in 1872, at Drury Lane, and was a leading member of J H Mapleson's company at Her Majesty's for the next decade.

Roze also toured widely in Britain with both Mapleson and Carl Rosa, and in the USA under Strakosch and Carl Rosa. In 1885 she sang the title role in the British premiere of Manon, first in Liverpool, with Carl Rosa, then in London later that year. It remained one of her most successful roles, along with Carmen and Marguerite, though her range extended from popular British operas and works of the bel canto school to the more lyrical works of Verdi and Wagner.

The Carl Rosa organisation established a second touring company in 1891. It was described as the Carmen company, and that opera dominated the repertoire, with Roze in the lead, singing several performances every week.

Personal life

The first husband of Roze was an American musician called Perkins, who died not long after their 1874 marriage. Her second husband was one of the sons of Colonel James Henry Mapleson (known as James, 1830-1901).  This son, named and known as Henry, was also styled Colonel (d.1927).  Harold Rosenthal, editing a 1966 edition of The Mapleson Memoirs (by Mapleson senior), confuses them. The modern biographer of Col James Mapleson deals with the matter at some length.  The problem seemingly arose because journalists of the day referred to them both as Colonel Mapleson, and to distinguish them one has to go by context. For more detail, see Susie Timms - Mapleson: Victorian Opera Impresario (Bezazzy Publishing, 2007).

Roze and Mapleson seem to have separated in the late 1880s, when a story broke in the press to the effect that Mapleson had contracted a marriage to an American woman in New York as a young man and had never obtained a divorce prior to 'marrying' Roze.   Roze's sister was quoted as saying Roze had not known about the prior marriage.  Roze spent the last years of her life teaching in Paris.

Roze's son, Raymond Roze (1875 - 1920), was a trained musician and sufficiently accomplished to perform on his mother's farewell tour in Scotland in 1894.


Roles in Scotland

Queen Berengaria wife of King Richard
Talisman 1874
Susanna the Countess's maid
Nozze di Figaro 1874
Pamina daughter of the Queen of Night
Zauberflöte 1874
Donna Anna the Commendatore's daughter
Don Giovanni 1874
Faust 1876
Maritana a gitana
Maritana 1876
Colomba Orso's sister
Colomba 1883
Leonore Florestan's wife, disguised as Fidelio
Fidelio 1883
Mefistofele 1884
Elena Helen of Troy
Mefistofele 1884
Manon Manon Lescaut
Manon 1885
Leonora a Duchess, lady-in-waiting to the Princess of Aragon
Trovatore 1885
Trovatore 1886
Trovatore 1887
Trovatore 1891
Carmen a gypsy
Carmen 1885
Carmen 1886
Carmen 1887
Carmen 1888
Carmen 1891
Fadette a poor peasant girl
Fadette 1886
Elsa von Brabant sister of the missing Count Gottfried
Lohengrin 1886
Donna Maria Marie de Neubourg, Queen of Spain
Ruy Blas 1886
Galatea 1887
Zerlina a peasant girl
Don Giovanni 1887
Don Giovanni 1888
Cherubino the Count's page
Nozze di Figaro 1888

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