Opera Scotland

Tannhäuser 1913Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Tannhäuser

Still the most popular Wagner opera in the repertoire, Tannhäuser was an absolute fixture in the programme for any touring company.


The Aberdeen View

Aberdeen Press & Journal: Monday, 27 January 1913  (p6)

Carl Rosa Opera - Tannhäuser and Mignon

'The visit of the Carl Rosa Opera Company to His Majesty's Theatre,  Aberdeen, terminated on Saturday with performances of Tannhäuser and Mignon in the afternoon and evening respectively.

'Special interest was attached to the former because of the appearance of Mr William Wegener in the title role, and it may be said that he gave a very convincing reading of the trying part.  Vocally, Mr Wegener was strong, and though his intonation was a trifle doubtful in the first act, he warmed up to his work considerably, and in the last scene with Wolfram was entirely satisfying, his acting being very impressive.

'Miss Ina Hill declaimed Elizabeth's music with great fervour, her rendering of the ''Prayer'' being particularly fine, while histrionically she compared favourably with former exponents of the part.  It was rather a mistake for Miss Winifred Geverding to attempt the part of Venus, and Mr Felix Fleischer was hardly an ideal Wolfram, his voice lacking colour and resonance.  The Landgrave was played by Mr Frederick Clendon, whose clear enunciation is always a pleasure to listen to, and the minor parts were in capable hands.

'The chorus did not display much enthusiasm, and were at times quite inaudible.  Under Mr Eugene Goossens the orchestra gave a fnished rendering of the overture, and though inclined to overpower,  played admirable accompaniments.'

(For continuation see under Mignon)


Preview of Dundee Week

Dundee Advertiser: Friday, 24 January 1913

Royal Carl Rosa Opera - At Her Majesty's Theatre next week

'Lovers of opera in Dundee will have a good time at Her Majesty's Theatre next week. Praise of the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company is now quite unnecessary.  Their achievement during the forty years of their existence speaks more forcibly than any words.  How many famous singers, including Santley, Joseph Maas, Josephine Yorke, and Kirkby Lunn, have at one time or another sung for them!  How many English and other operas: - Goring Thomas' Esmeralda and Goldmark's Queen of Sheba, for example - have they introduced to British audiences!  To-day they possess singers that honourably maintain the old prestige of the company, and the repertoire is continually being added to.

'The programme for the week is as follows: - On Monday Tannhäuser; Tuesday Mozart's Magic Flute; Wednesday Mignon; Thursday Il Trovatore; Friday Boito's Mefistofele; Saturday matinee Carmen; Saturday evening The Bohemian Girl.   It will at once be perceived that here we have, as far as Dundee is concerned, two important novelties - The Magic Flute and Mefistofele.  Mozart's work is one of the most charming compositions ever put together, even by that absolute master of the beautiful, the composer.  Some writers of judgment have not hesitated to call it the most perfect of operas, and a recent study of the score tends to confirm that opinion. On account of the exacting nature of some of the music The Magic Flute is seldom represented, and its presentation should not therefore be missed, as the music referred to, though difficult for the singer, is always pleasing and clear to ear and mind.  Were it for nothing else than this opera the present visit would be notable.

'The last and the present centuries have given us men of great versatility in the arts. One of the chief of these is Boito, who as author, musician, journalist, and librettist, has made for himself a European reputation.  His work in connection with the librettos of Verdi's latest operas may occur most readily to the mind; but time may show that he did most justice to his own powers in his one opera Mefistofele.  This opera was for a considerable time popular in the Italian opera stage in this country, Christine Nilsson finding in Marguerite one of her most grateful parts.  Indeed its success was such that one wonders Boito did not follow it up.  The story is, of course, like Gounod's opera, founded on Goethe's version of the 'Faust' legend.  After a prologue in which Mefistopheles scorns the angelic powers, the familiar tale proceeds much as Gounod has given it, though there is an interpolated and picturesque scene with witches on the Brocken. After the Marguerite episode is over, however, Faust, according to Boito, has an intrigue with Helen of Troy.  The fall of the curtain finds him repentant, disillusioned, and saved from the clutches of the evil one.  Special attention is said to have been given to the mounting and spectacular effects, for which there are good opportunities.

'Since last Carl Rosa visit several changes have taken place in the company.  Amongst the principal singers is still that admirable soprano Ina Hill.  Beatrice Miranda and Elizabeth Burgess also take soprano roles of the first rank.  The chief contraltos or mezzos are Phyllis Archibald and Janet Hemsley; while E C Hedmondt is a tower of strength amongst the tenors, in which department are also Gordon Thomas and Charles Neville.  In Sarastro, Mefistofele, and other bass parts Arthur Winckworth will find opportunity for the exercise of his fine qualities. Frederick Clendon, Leslie Austin, Hebden Foster, and others will, as experience has shown, give a good account of baritone roles.

'Possibly the most important newcomer is William Wegener, a tenor of whom report speaks of as possessing a grand presence and a voice in proportion.  He will sing in Tannhäuser, Il Trovatore, and Mefistofele.  Miriam Licette, who will be heard in Mozart and in the part of Micaëla in Carmen, is new to the Carl Rosa Company.  Dundee has already had pleasant experience of her powers as she sang here a year or two ago with the Castellano Company.  She is a very attractive artist and was trained in Paris by Marchesi.

'The conductors are, as of old, Walter van Noorden and Eugene Goossens; and the complete strength of the company is recorded as 160 artists.  This will be an enjoyable and, it is to be hoped, an eminently successful week.'


Dundee Ticket Prices: -  Dress Circle 5s       Stalls  4s.

Upper Circle  3s.  (Booked 3s.6d)        No Parterre

Pit: 6.45 to 7 2s; 7 to 7.15 1s.6d. Later 1s.

Gallery: 6.45 to 7.15 1s. After 6d.


A Dundee Review

Dundee Advertiser: Tuesday, 28 January 1913

Carl Rosa Opera - Wagner's Tannhäuser

'It is unfortunate that in the centenary year of the composer of Tannhäuser Dundee should, by its scanty attendance at the performance of the opera, have shown itself careless or unconscious of its opportunity of showing its appreciation of Wagner, one of the greatest and most remarkable of men.  Especially is this matter for regret, as the performance in question was an eminently satisfying one; indeed it is to be questioned if a better was ever given on the local stage.  Those present felt the spell of the music and actors and singers, and must certainly have been glad to be present at so fine a representation.

'The fully-persuaded Wagnerian of the Ring period may make light of the Tannhauser music, but there is no doubt that it opened a new chapter in musical history.  Were all the rest of Wagner's works destroyed, that composer's influence would still be felt till the last syllable of time by means of Tannhauser.  For in it we find a romantic and poetic touch, an ideality, and an originality of harmony and melody that till its production were not looked for in opera.  Indeed, were the libretto and its associated music lost, conclusive evidence of Wagner's greatness would still be found in the overture, one of the masterpieces of instrumental art.  Doubtless Wagner had his weak side.  He took himself and his work with such seriousness that a smile very seldom illumined either his features or his score.  How much more fun could Strauss have got out of the dragon, the serpent, and other fearful wild-fowl!  But we must take a man as he is - plus or minus humour - and Wagner, with all his self-centred gravity, is a man to be devoutly thankful for.

'Dealing with a work so well known it is hardly necessary to do more than particularise the various artistes engaged.  Interest probably centred in the tenor, Mr William Wegener, of whose qualities accounts were excellent.  These accounts were not one whit overstated.  Mr Wegener is a man of mark, who attains the highest in other respects than stature.  He has a robust tenor voice such as has not been heard here in English opera for many years, and he uses it with the utmost skill and variety of effect.  In forte and piano he is equally at home, and his command of expression is remarkable.  Withal his articulation is admirably clear, and he acts with much force. His further appearances will be watched with keen interest.

'Miss Ina Hill returns to us the fine and careful artiste we found her last year.  The soft tones of her voice, as used in Elizabeth's Prayer, were delicious, and, if the greeting to the Hall of Song was slightly deficient in power, the quality was ample compensation.  The Wolfram of Hebden Foster was a picturesque and interesting conception.  His many semi-recitative passages were declaimed in mellow notes; but a too free use of the vibrato impaired to a trifling extent the intonation in “Star of Eve”.  In the part of Venus Miss Winifred Geverding displayed an agreeable presence, and a rich quality of vocal tone; and Mr Arthur Winckworth as the Landgrave was dignified in his bearing, while his bass notes were often of the greatest service alone or in combination.

'The large chorus was efficient, especially the male portion of it. The pilgrims' chorus heard “off” fell with particular charm on the ear.  An augmented orchestra, most ably directed by Mr Eugene Goossens, gave the important accompaniments in a nearly ideal manner.  The wood winds specially deserve mention for much artistic work.  The overture went so well that it almost seemed as if the audience were to insist on a repetition.'


The Edinburgh Perspective

Scotsman:  Tuesday, 4 February 1913  (p8)

Carl Rosa Opera Company at the King's Theatre

'If only on account of its traditions and achievements, the Royal carl Rosa Opera Company is always assured a welcome in Edinburgh which does not lack for cordiality.  But its claim to continued public favour does not rest on its record alone, for the competence of its present personnel, to judge by the splendid opening performance of their three weeks' tenancy of the King's Theatre given last night, maintains the best standard, and enhances the good name of the famous organisation.  It may be thought that a stay of three weeks' duration is on the long side so late in the musical season in the city, but with a repertory of a rich and varied character, offering the standard works, whose worth has been assessed by the test of time, as well as novelties of more than passing musical interest, the company can hardly fail to appeal to all classes of opera-goers.

'This week there will be produced for thr first time on the English opera stage Mozart's work, The Magic Flute, and here again the process, introduced some thirty years ago by the late Mr Carl Rosa, of substituting English speaking in operatic production for the old Italian, is kept going.  The Jewels of the Madonna, another important essay of the visit, is being reserved for the third week.  For the opening performance last night the work selected was Wagner's Tannhäuser,  which has long held its place in the Carl Rosa programmes.  Familiarity with its poignant and intensely human theme serves but to make the opera-lover's heart grow fonder, and a numerous audience, which, however, did not fill the house - a fact for which at least one other musical attraction in the city might be held partially accountable - renewed acquaintance with the opera.

'It was produced in a manner worthy of the high reputation of the company, and which must have satisfied everyone present.  Mr E C Hedmondt, who seems to have renewed his youth and to have recaptured much of the spirit of his heyday, submitted an altogether splendid and impressive presentation of the title role.  With both his passionate vocalism and great dramatic art he made the minstrel for the time being a living, throbbing personality.  The successful manner in which he throughout bore the heavy responsibility of the part had warm recognition in repeated recalls at the close.

'He was admirably supported.  Miss Ina Hill, who was in fine voice, gave a studied personation of Elizabeth, in which she lent distinct character to the music.  Mr felix Fleischer sang the role of Wolfram with power and effectiveness, his ''O, Star of Eve,'' solo being artistically and feelingly rendered.  The other members of the cast, including Miss Winifred Geverding as Venus and Mr Arthur Winckworth as the Landgrave, gave of their best, and contributed proportionately to a notable performance.

'The porchestration was without flaw, the instrumentalists responding capably to the baton of Mr Eugene Goossens.  All through there was a careful valuation of lights and shades in the well-known music.

'To-night Mignon will be produced.' 


A Glasgow Review

Glasgow Herald: Monday, 3 March 1913

'The Carl Rosa company concluded the final week of their visit to the Glasgow Theatre Royal on Saturday with performances of Tannhauser and Faust.   It is gratifying to record that each opera was performed before a large audience.  If during the remainder of  Monday, their stay, the company continues to receive so large a measure of public support the management of the enterprise will have receivd ample evidemce that Glasgow deserves well at their hands,  On the present occasion they have had the new experiences of crowded houses for the Magic Flute, which was hitherto almost unnknown here, and for Wolf-Ferrari's new work.  Probably they are well-advised, however, in restricting their choice of Wagnerian opera to Tannhauser and Lohengrin - the latter will be given tonight - for in order to adequately perform any of the more advanced music dramas of the Bayreuth master greater resources are required than one is justified in expecting from a company which appeals to moderate purses.

'The performance of Tannhäuser on Saturday afternoon, while in certain respects worthy of much praise, was not sustained at so high a level as some that have been given here within recent times.  It is perhaps hard to satisfy those people who have heard the orchestral music played by a larger and finer band, more impressive choral singing and a better account of the minor minstrel parts than was shown on this occasiom by the Carl Rosa troupe; but against those deficencies must be set the remarkably fine singing and acting of Mr William Wegener as Tannhäuser and of Miss Ina Hill as Elizabeth, whose individual achievements went far towards lifting the performance above a commonplace standard.

'In music of a very different type from that of Verdi's Trovatore, in which he made his debut in Glasgow last week, Mr Wegener showed he is a singer of excellent resource, while on the dramatic side his Tannhäuser may be ranked with the best that has been seen in any touring company.  In the narration of his pilgrimage Mr Wegener was deeply impressive, and through it all there was vocal purity and a clear articulation such as is rarely heard.   Miss Ina Hill again proved how well qualified she is to portray Elizabeth by her sympathetic acting and artistic singing.   The note of exultation was truly sounded in the 'Greeting to the Hall of Song' and deep emotional feeling was evident in the 'prayer'.

'The Wolfram of Felix Fliescher fell short of the excellent work of the principals.  His voice sounded weak in the upper notes, but within his limitations he sang effectively.  Mr Winckworth as usual bore with distinction the part of the Landgrave.  A rather shrill tone marred the singing of the Venus music by Miss Winifred Geverding, but the Shepherd Boy's song was finely rendered by Miss Dorothy Lawson-Taylor.  The opera was adequately staged, the Venusberg scene being a particularly effective spectacle.  Mr Eugene Goossems conducted.'


Carl Rosa Scottish Tour - 1913

This late winter Scottish season conisisted of seven weeks, each with seven performances.  After a week in Aberdeen (w/c 20 Jan) then one in Dundee (w/c 27 Jan), there followed three in Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre (commencing 3 Feb, 10 Feb, 17 Feb) and two in Glasgow’s Theatre Royal (w/c 24 Feb; 3 Mar).  Two performances originally scheduled of Jewels of the Madonna in Edinburgh were cancelled to allow for more rehearsals.  The operas that replaced them were Mefistofele (20 Feb) and Magic Flute (22 Feb mat)

The sixteen operas performed were by:  Mozart (Don GiovanniZauberflöte);  Benedict (Lily of Killarney);  Balfe (Bohemian Girl);  Thomas (Mignon);  Wallace (Maritana);  Wagner (TannhäuserLohengrin);  Verdi (Trovatore);  Gounod (Faust);  Goldmark (Queen of Sheba);  Boito (Mefistofele);  Bizet (Carmen);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana);  Wolf-Ferrari (Jewels of the Madonna).

The performance schedule was:

Aberdeen, w/c 20 January:  Mon 20 Carmen;  Tue 21 Lohengrin;  Wed 22 Trovatore;  Thu  23 Mefistofele;  Fri 24 Magic Flute;  Sat 25 m Tannhäuser;  Sat 25 e Mignon.

Dundee, w/c  27 January:  Mon 27 Tannhäuser;  Tue 28 Magic Flute;  Wed 29 Mignon;  Thu 30 Trovatore;  Fri 31 Mefistofele;  Sat 1 Feb m Carmen;  Sat 1 Feb e Bohemian Girl.

Edinburgh, w/c 3 February:  Mon 3 Tannhäuser;  Tue 4 Mignon;  Wed 5 Magic Flute;  Thu 6 Trovatore;  Fri 7 Lohengrin;  Sat 8 m Faust;  Sat 8 e Bohemian Girl.

Edinburgh, w/c 10 February:  Mon 10 Magic Flute;  Tue 11 Queen of Sheba;  Wed 12 Carmen;  Thu 13 Maritana;  Fri 14 Magic Flute;  Sat 15 m Mignon;  Sat 15 e Lily of Killarney.

Edinburgh, w/c 17 February:  Mon 17 Cav & Pag;  Tue 18 Don Giovanni;  Wed 19 Faust;  Thu 20 Mefistofele;  Fri 21 Tannhäuser;  Sat 22 m Magic Flute;  Sat 22 e Trovatore.

Glasgow, w/c 24 February:  Mon  24 Magic Flute;  Tue 25 Mignon;  Wed 26 Trovatore;  Thu 27 Cav & Pag;  Fri 28 Jewels of the Madonna;  Sat 1 Mar m Tannhäuser;  Sat 1 Mar e Faust.

Glasgow, w/c  3 March:  Mon 3 Lohengrin;  Tue 4 Jewels of the Madonna;  Wed 5 Magic Flute;  Thu 6 Mignon;  Fri  7 Carmen :  Sat 8 m Jewels of the Madonna;  Sat 8 e Magic Flute.

Performance Cast


Winifred Geverding (Jan 25 m, 27; Feb 3)

Tannhäuser a knight and minnesinger

William Wegener (Jan 25 m, 27)

Charles Hedmondt (Feb 3)

Shepherd boy

Dorothy Lawson-Taylor (Jan 27)

Wolfram von Eschenbach a knight and minnesinger

Felix Fleischer (Jan 25 m; Feb 3)

Hebden Foster (Jan 27)

Hermann Landgrave of Thuringia

Frederick Clendon (Jan 25 m)

Arthur Winckworth (Jan 27; Feb 3)

Elisabeth niece of the Landgrave

Ina Hill (Jan 25 m, 27; Feb 3)

Performance DatesTannhäuser 1913

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

25 Jan, 14.00

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

27 Jan, 19.15

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

3 Feb, 19.30 21 Feb, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

1 Mar, 14.00

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