Opera Scotland

Tannhäuser 1916O'Mara Grand Opera Company

Read more about the opera Tannhäuser

The O'Mara company was now making its second visit to Dundee, with a week commencing 28 February.

This cast is as reported in the Dundee Courier & Argus. No conductor is mentioned, but it seems likely that the company's musical director, Oreste Sanfilippo, conducted all performances..

Other dates and venues to be confirmed.


Press Comment

Dundee Courier & Argus: Thursday, March 2, 1916


'The hoped-for increase in size of audience has continued at Her Majesty's Theatre, and the performances have also nightly improved.  Last night's house was practically filled, and if such business continues till the end of the week musical Dundee will have cause to congratulate itself.  But musical Dundee should come to the theatre in time, and not interrupt such a piece of musical art as the overture to Tannhäuser by taking their seats during its progress.

'Tannhäuser is the only one of Wagner's operas which is in any degree familiar to Dundee audiences.  Everybody who has any claim to musical knowledge knows the overture.  Many know “Star of Eve” and some know the March and Chorus “Hail, bright abode,” which occur in the second act.  To those who know the opera more intimately and deeply there are other, perhaps brighter gems, such as the fresh and beautiful Shepherd's Song, Elizabeth's Prayer, Tannhäuser's Narration, and the glorious finales of the three acts.

'Wagner, with his usual desire for a happy, or at least a hopeful ending to his opera, has improved upon the Venusberg legend.  Originally Tannhäuser was eternally doomed, but, as he did in the case of The Flying Dutchman, and by the same means, namely, a pure woman's love, the sentence seems to be repealed and happiness in a future state possible both for Tannhäuser and Vanderdecken.

'As we have indicated, last night's performance was the best of the week - up to date.  It introduced several members of the company who had not previously appeared this week, including Miss Anna Lindsey, Miss Towena Thomas, Mr O'Mara himself, and Mr William Anderson.  Miss Lindsey was here with the O'Mara Company last year, but Elizabeth is the biggest part we have heard her essay.  It is a big part for any artiste, and Miss Lindsey made a splendid success.  The fresh and full brightness of her voice, and her dramatic sense, made her “Greeting to the Hall of Song” a magnificently effective bit of work, and the Prayer was sung with devoutness if perhaps too little passion.  In the concerted numbers Miss Lindsey sang in telling fashion. Miss Thomas made a charming Venus.  The Goddess of Love is usually, we think, a blond, but there is no reason why she should not be a brunette.  Miss Thomas was an extremely modest and restrained Venus, but she sang with fine quality of voice and artistic skill.  Miss Rigby, as the Shepherd Boy, sang carefully, and the pipe accompaniment was pleasantly played.

'Mr O'Mara's Tannhäuser is one of the most dignified of operatic performances, and he was in excellent voice.  The role is most exacting, ranging from the passionate fire of the song in praise of Venus to the marvellous Narration of the Pilgrimage to Rome.  Last night Mr O'Mara sang superbly, his enunciation and variety of tone colour in the Narration number being particularly fine.  His Dundee friends were delighted to find Mr Anderson in such excellent voice.  He imparted great dignity and weight to the role of the Landgrave, and in the concerted music his voice was prominent - though not unduly.  He declaimed his music in the third and fourth scenes of the second act with splendid and appropriate breadth and effectiveness.  Mr William Russell made a pleasing Wolfram, singing the exquisite “Star of Eve” song with considerable finish, and other parts were capably filled by Messrs O'Dempsey, F Clarke, A Vallance, and Kushell.

'The feature of the performance was the splendid singing of the finishes to the first and second acts.  These rich and complicated movements were given with rare tunefulness, fire, and brilliance, and showed the O'Mara Company at its best.  The chorus did well, save in the "Pilgrims' Chorus” which was a bit shaky, and the band played on the whole well.

'To-night Madam Butterfly will be presented for the second time in Dundee.  It is the only really modern opera of the week, and it will be of particular interest in contrast with the Tannhäuser of last night and the Huguenots of Friday evening.  In Madam Butterfly the O'Mara Company is reputed to be at its very best, and the cast includes Miss Florence Morden as the hapless Butterfly,  Mr Henry Thompson as Lieutenant Pinkerton, Miss Constance Bower, Mr William Russell, Mr O'Dempsey, and others.

'The Huguenots, which is billed for tomorrow night is, so far as we know, new to Dundee.  It is a spectacular opera, and demands a big and capable cast.  The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve forms the historic groundwork, and the love affairs of Valentine de Saint Bris - daughter of a Catholic nobleman - and Raoul de Nangis, a Huguenot gallant, is its theme.  In addition to these two roles we have the Queen, Marguerite de Valois; a precocious page, Urbain; and a crowd of Catholic and Protestant noblemen and soldiers, courtiers, attendants, and citizens.  It is the biggest production at present of the O'Mara Company, and the performance in Aberdeen was noticed as the most interesting event of the operatic week.'

Performance Cast


Towena Thomas (Mar 1)

Tannhäuser a knight and minnesinger

Joseph O'Mara (Mar 1)

Shepherd boy

Maud Rigby (Mar 1)

Wolfram von Eschenbach a knight and minnesinger

William Russell (Mar 1)

Hermann Landgrave of Thuringia

William Anderson (Mar 1)

Walther von der Vogelweide a knight and minnesinger

Henry O'Dempsey (Mar 1)

Heinrich der Schreiber a knight and minnesinger

Frank Clarke (Mar 1)

Biterolf a knight and minnesinger

Arthur Vallance (Mar 1)

Reinmar von Zweter a knight and minnesinger

Mr Kushell (Mar 1)

Elisabeth niece of the Landgrave

Anna Lindsey (Mar 1)

Performance DatesTannhäuser 1916

Map List

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

1 Mar, 19.15

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