Opera Scotland

Euphrosyne Parepa Suggest updates

Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa.

Born Edinburgh, 7 May 1836.

Died London, 21 January 1874.

Scottish soprano.


Euphrosyne Parepa was recognized as one of the great sopranos of the age before her early death at the age of 37. 

There is a bust of Parepa-Rosa at the Royal Academy of Music where a scholarship was endowed in her name.

The Edinburgh-born Parepa seems never to have sung on the operatic stage in Scotland, though she sang there many times in concert and oratorio.

Active well before the recording age, she surely deserves to be remembered also for the achievements of her second husband, Carl Rosa, and their opera company.  In her later years, this brought to the provinces in general, and Scotland in particular, opera performed to a much higher standard than generally prevailed at the time.

Carl Rosa, their marriage and their opera company

But more than this, she became Carl Rosa's first wife and the person who facilitated the creation and success of the Carl Rosa Opera company.

Rosa always credited her with turning his ambitions away from being the leader or conductor of an orchestra to becoming an operatic impresario. 

Their first meeting is likely to have been on the concert platform on Friday 26 May 1865, in the Queen's Concert Rooms, Hanover Square, London. Rosa was described then as newly arrived from Germany, though he had played in public concerts in Britain many times as a youngster.

Along with others, the couple were enlisted to tour in the States as part of the Bateman concert troupe, travelling out on the Africa and arriving in Boston on 31 August 1865. 

They toured for a number of seasons, marrying in New York on 25 February 1867. They worked together for some time, forming the Parepa-Rosa Opera Company.

They developed a lot of experience in the States, and in the last season (1871-72) made enough money to return to Britain with the ambition of starting a company to give opera in English, both touring in the provinces and in London.   

Sadly Parepa was not to see their joint ambitions fulfilled. Not long after the company (its name now changed to Carl Rosa Opera) started out on the road, Parepa died on 21 January 1874, soon after giving birth to a still-born son.  On hearing the news, Rosa had hurried back from Liverpool (where the new company was performing), and cancelled arrangements for the rest of the tour. 

Soon afterwards, Rosa resolved to continue with their plans for the company, and plunged himself back into work.

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2024

Site by SiteBuddha