Opera Scotland

Trovatore 1913Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Trovatore

It is interesting that Verdi is so unfashionable at this period, with Trovatore the only opera appearing over several seasons.  The full cast of Il Trovatore for Wednesday, 22 January, is listed at the head of the review in the Press & journal the following morning.  Slightly shortened casts cover Dundee (Advertiser) and Edinburgh (Scotsman).


The view from Aberdeen

Aberdeen Press & Journal: Thursday, 23 January 1913  (p6)

Carl Rosa Opera - Il Trovatore

'Regular opera-goers we imagine, must have a feeling that in a ''season'' so short as one week it is a pity to waste an evening on a work already so familiar, not to say hackneyed, as Il Trovatore.  From the managerial point of view, however, there are very good reasons why a prominent place in the programme should still be reserved for Verdi's opera, which acts, as Handel's Messiah does for choral societies, as an unfailing stand-by, certain of at least a fair measure of public support.  It must not be easy to understand why the opera makes such a strong appeal to (shall we say?) the democracy of opera-lovers, but, while the fact remains, it is easy to understand the attitude of the purveyors who have a living to make.

'A fairly good audience listened to the familiar music last night - listened with clear enjoyment to a performance which, if not specially noteworthy, was thorough and adequate.

'Last evening's performance was made the medium for the introduction to Aberdeen of two artists whose work entitles them to the most cordial of welcomes.  Mr William Wegener, an American tenor, with Continental experience, appeared as Manrico, and made an excellent impression.   Though he did well with Verdi's music, he may be expected to do even better in Tannhäuser, in which his voice, essentially robust in its qualities,  will have fuller scope.  His vocal powers are, in some respects, too big for Il Trovatore, but his vocalisations of the tuneful arias were always effective.   Madame Signa Becker, too, displayed rich vocal gifts in the part of Azucena, and if her performance lacked a little on the histrionic side, it was on the whole finished and pleasing.

'Miss Beatrice Miranda, who has developed into an artist of first rank, with powers almost equal to those of her more famous sister Lalla,  made her first appearance as Leonora, and though an pology was mde on her behalf, because she suffered from a cold, her work was so capably done that the apology seemed unnecessary.  The newest Leonora must rank with the best.

''With Mr Hebden Foster safe in the part of the Count di Luna, and Mr Frederick Clendon admirable as Ferrando, the opera was thoroughly well cast.  No very heavy demands are made on the chorus, but all the work was well done.   Under Mr Eugene Goossens, too, the band showed capital form, playing the accompaniments (for in truth, much of Verdi's score is no more than mere accompaniment) with spirit and proper feeling.

'Special interest attaches to this evening's production of Boito's Mefistofele, an opera never before sung in Aberdeen.   Mr Van Noorden has been at great pains to give the work in its luxury with due attention to all details, and there is good reason to expect an interesting and memorable performance.'


A Dundee Review

Dundee Advertiser: Friday, 31 January 1913

Carl Rosa Opera - The Evergreen Trovatore

'Notwithstanding the many diatribes that have been uttered by modernists against Verdi and his methods, that hardy evergreen Il Trovatore, planted by him more than half a century ago, seems to defy the devastating effect of time - and words. An audience which, notwithstanding the storm, was of considerable proportions gathered to witness the rather involved and quite “bluggy” story of the “Gipsy's Vengeance,” to give the opera its subsidiary title.  Those present were rewarded by a performance imbued with all the thoroughness and artistic resources that we have learned to expect from the Carl Rosa Company.

'The three principal characters - Leonora, Manrico, and the Count di Luna, that are found in almost every scene - had excellent representatives in Beatrice Miranda, William Wegener, and Hebden Foster.  A new and somewhat unexpected phase of Miss Miranda's art was revealed.  In The Magic Flute and Mignon she had shown herself to be a coloratura singer of great perfection.  It is seldom that a vocalist of this nature is also adapted for the unfolding of heavy dramatic parts, such as is that of Leonora.  Once more the unexpected happened, and the vocalist proved herself more than equal to the occasion.  The tenderness and passion demanded in much of the Leonora music were abundantly supplied; and, save for a slight want of power in some of the lower notes, the performance was quite an ideal one.  There was evident a delicious richness of timbre in the middle range; and needless to say, the numerous high and florid passages were executed in a manner that might, without stretching language, be described as perfect.

'The Manrico of Mr Wegener was a handsome and soldierly figure.  A tenor's figure and appearance do not invariably justify the heroine's infatuation; but in this case none could question Leonora's taste.  Mr Wegener provided as attractive a lover as the heart of a distressed operatic maiden could wish.  Vocally also he was splendid; and it is difficult to decide whether the quiet beauty of “Ah! si ben mio,” or the vigour and power of “Di quella pira,” was more to be admired.  Mr Hebden Foster had scope for his fine baritone and considerable histrionic talents as the truculent Count di Luna.  His only faux pas was caused by the unconventionality of his intonation in the melodious “Tempest of the Heart.”  The many duets and trios in which these artists have to combine were all grandly rendered and loud applause was the order of the evening.

'The Azucena was Phyllis Archibald, who gave a gentler representation of the gipsy than that to which we have been accustomed.  There was, however, great vigour and passion in the stirring scene with the soldiers.  Vocally Miss Archibald was charming, even though some of her notes were a little deficient in weight.  This was more than atoned for by the charming quality of tone produced, which in “Home to our mountains” was particularly agreeable.  Dorothy Lawson Taylor, in the small part of Inez, deserves mention for her clear enunciation as well as for her fresh and pure notes.  Ferrando, played and sung by Frederick Clendon, was bluff and soldierly.

'The chorus did excellent work, the “Soldiers' Chorus” and the choral parts of the famous “Miserere” music going with excellent expression.  Indeed, the careful realisation of the composer's expressive intentions is one of the most noticeable features of these performances. The band, under Mr Goossens, played with great skill, and hardly, if ever, overestimated the capacity of the soloists.  Some thrilling crescendo effects were made.  One in particular should be indicated.  It occurred in Azucena's solo in the first scene of Act 3.  The dressing and stage setting were both worthy of commendation.  Those who have not yet heard this excellent company should not fail to avail themselves of the three remaining representations.'


And Edinburgh

Scotsman:  Friday, 7 February 1913  (p6)

The Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company - Il Trovatore

'The production of Verdi's ever-green opera of Il Trovatore last night at the King's Theatre was notable for the introduction to an Edinburgh audience of a new Manrico, in the person of Mr William Wegner, who is described on the programme as from ''The Stadt Theatre, Freiburgh.''  Mr Wegner is an excellent acquisition to the company.  He is a tenor with a voice of fine quality and good range, who sang with admirable effect and acted with fervour, in the rôle of the Troubadour, around which the dramatic interest of the romantic story largely centres.

'There was also a new Azucena, a part which was taken by another German vocalist, Miss Signe Becker, whose cultured contralto voice was heard to advantage in the gipsy music.  She also acted with dramatic power.  An excellent trio of principals was completed by Miss Elizabeth Burgess, in the rôle of Leonora, the music of which she sang in her customary clear and admirable style.  She was in excellent ''form,'' and her numbers were greatly appreciated.  The Miserere music, with its well-known duets, between Manrico and Leonorda, and Manrico and Azucena, was specially well done and was loudly applauded;  the duet in the fortress scene having to be repeated.

'Smaller parts were efficiently filled by Mr Hebden Foster as the Count di Luna and Mr Frederick Clendon as Ferrando, and Miss Lawson Taylor as Inez - names which suggest that the performance was maintained throughout at a high level of merit.  Mr Van Noorden conducted with his usual ability.  There was a large audience.'


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

Ferrando captain of Di Luna's guard

Frederick Clendon (Jan 22, 30; Feb 6)

Inez confidante of Leonora

Dorothy Lawson-Taylor (Jan 22, 30; Feb 6)

Leonora a Duchess, lady-in-waiting to the Princess of Aragon

Beatrice Miranda (Jan 22, 30)

Elizabeth Burgess (Feb 6)

Count di Luna a young noble of Aragon

Hebden Foster (Jan 22, 30; Feb 6)

Manrico a chieftain under the Prince of Biscay

William Wegener (Jan 22, 30; Feb 6)

Azucena a Biscayan gypsy woman

Signe Becker (Jan 22; Feb 6)

Phyllis Archibald (Jan 30)

Ruiz a soldier in Manrico's service

William O'Connor (Jan 22)

Performance DatesTrovatore 1913

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

22 Jan, 19.30

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

30 Jan, 19.15

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

6 Feb, 19.30 22 Feb, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

26 Feb, 19.15

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