Opera Scotland

Faust 1919Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Faust

The senior management of the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company during the spring tour was headed by two 'Controlling Directors', Mrs Carl Rosa, widow of the founder and Walter van Noorden, who had conducted them in earlier years. The Artistic Director was the experienced bass Arthur Winckworth, still active on stage, and the General Business Manager was Henry Barrett Brandreth. Conducting duties were divided between Henriquez de la Fuente and Herbert Ferrers. By the time of the winter season, a new General Manager was in place, Mr H B Phillips.

After Dundee, the company moved to Glasgow.  That was the last week of opera to be seen in Dundee  for several years. Her Majesty's, a beautiful, atmospheric, popular - and profitable - theatre since 1885, was about to be purchased by a London-based cinema company. This event caused widespread outrage, but was a fait accompli, never to be reversed.


Two Dundee Views

Dundee Courier & Argus:  Thursday, 30 January, 1919  (p2)

Gounod's Faust

'It was a wise and happy thought to present Gounod's ever-popular Faust on a Wednesday evening.  The result was a huge audience which completely filled the house, and which followed the performance with sympathetic enthusiasm.

'Miss Clara Simons made a most interesting and attractive Marguerite. A little more skittish, perhaps, than usual in the early scenes, she sang brilliantly.  Her “King of Thule” ballad was sung with grace and finish, and the “Jewel Song” with sparkling clarity of tone and precision of execution.  Miss Gladys Parr's Siebel was a careful and artistic performance, and she scored specially in “Gentle Flowers in the Dew”.

'Mr Hughes Macklin intensified the fine impression he made on Monday night.  He made a truly gallant Faust, and he sang throughout with power and effectiveness.  Mr Winckworth's Mephistopheles, like everything he does, was a capital study, restrained yet telling, and Mr George McDonald made a finished and vocally-cultured Valentine.

'The chorus was at its best, and a special word of praise is due to Mr Henriquez De La Fuente, who kept his big band finely in hand.  The whole performance was a great success.'


Dundee Evening Telegraph & Post: Thursday, 30 January, 1919

Her Majesty's Theatre - Faust

'Faust retains its popularity in spite of Wagnerian propaganda, and its melodies win where cleverer musicianship fails. The opera opened last night with a singularly significant and impressive rendering of the prelude by the band, under Mr Henriquez de la Fuente, and excellent orchestral work was the rule of the evening.

'Mr Hughes Macklin played Faust, but he was not always in the best of voice, and sometimes sang out of tune. His work in the love duets and in “All hail, thou dwelling” was admirable, and his ringing high notes frequently gave thrill to concerted music. Nothing but praise is due to Miss Clara Simons for her characterisation of the unhappy Margarita. Her conception was that of a young maid with innocence and trust showing through all her acts. 'The Jewel Song' was rendered with a light grace, and she infused a passionate earnestness into the prison music that gave it the fullest significance.

'There was something highly artistic in every moment of Mr George McDonald's appearance as Valentine. It rang sincere, and, though his voice is rather light for the part, his finished singing and acting was a pleasure at every point. Miss Gladys Parr sang Siebel's songs sweetly, and Miss Jean Wilson made a lively Martha. Mr Arthur Winckworth as Mephistopheles sang with his usual rich resonance, and his reading of the character was that of a gentlemanly, slightly melancholy visitor to this earth.'


A Glasgow View

The Glasgow Herald (23 Feb) reviewed the production favourably, though explained "One might suggest a resetting of some of the scenes; the second scene of the first act has during recent visits been too obviously made up of odds and ends."


And From Edinburgh

The Scotsman:  Thursday, 13 March 1919

'Despite over fifty years of familiarity with the opera, the taste for Gounod's Faust shows no sign of waning, and last night's performance of the opera by the Carl Rosa Company drew an audience which left few, if any, seats in the theatre unoccupied.  It was a striking illustration of the change which has occurred in the public attitude towards opera, for Faust might reasonably be expected to have become by this time one of the most hackneyed of operas.

'Miss Clara Simons made an excellent Marguerite.  She sang with an unfailing freshness and charm, and she looked the part.  Convention has laid rather a heavy hand upon Faust, but William Boland, while he did not, perhaps, make very much of such dramatic possibilities as the part affords, at least avoided the stereotyped methods associated with the character, and his singing was always tuneful and intelligent.  Mr Arthur Winckworth's Mephistofeles was effective on familiar lines.   A newcomer to the company, Mr Kingsley Lark, was a fine Valentine, both vocally and dramatically, and Miss Gladys Parr, who will be remembered as formerly with the Carl Rosa Company, and who has now returned to it, was a particularly good Siebel.   The Wagner of Mr George Gorst, and Miss Jean D Wilson's Martha were also good,  In Faust Gounod has provided plenty of music for the chorus, and last night it was given with telling effect.  Mr Herbert Ferrers conducted.'


The Carl Rosa Scottish Tours in 1919

The season consisted one week at Aberdeen’s His Majesty’s Theatre (AHMT), then one week at Dundee’s Her Majesty’s Theatre (DHMT). There followed four weeks at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal (GTR). Following a break of one week, there were two weeks at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum (ERL), then later still another two in Glasgow (GTR). Ten weeks, followed by a further three in December to give thirteen. By now, the company were running a number of separate companies, the Phillips section giving the December performances.

w/c Mon Jan 20 Tales of Hoffmann Tue ToscaWed Tannhauser; Thu MignonFri Carmen; Sat m Madam ButterflySat e Faust. AHMT

w/c Mon Jan 27 Tales of Hoffmann; Tue Tannhauser; Wed Faust; Thu Madam Butterfly; Fri Mignon; Sat mTales of Hoffmann; Sat e Trovatore. DHMT 

w/c Mon 3 Feb Tannhauser; Tue BohèmeWed Madam Butterfly; Thu Trovatore; Fri Tosca; Sat m Mignon; Sat e Tales of Hoffmann. GTR 

w/c Mon 10 Feb Cav and Pag; Tue Faust; Wed Carmen; Thu Tales of Hoffmann; Fri Madam Butterfly; Sat m Tosca; Sat e Maritana. GTR

w/c Mon 17 Feb Bohème; Tue Tannhauser; Wed Mignon; Thu Cav and Pag; Fri Don GiovanniSat m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat e Trovatore. GTR

w/c Mon 24 Feb Carmen; Tue Rigoletto; Wed Carmen; Thu Faust; Fri Tannhauser; Sat m Madam Butterfly; Sat e Bohemian Girl. GTR

w/c Mon 3 Mar Company performing in Liverpool

w/c Mon 10 Mar Tales of Hoffmann; Tue Tosca  ; Wed Faust; Thu Madam Butterfly; Fri Don Giovanni; Sat m Cav and Pag; Sat e Maritana. ERL

w/c Mon 17 Mar Tosca; Tue Tales of Hoffmann; Wed Tannhauser; Thu Bohème; Fri Carmen; Sat m Mignon; Sat e Trovatore; ERL

w/c Mon 30 Jun Tales of Hoffmann; Tue Carmen; Wed Mignon; Thu Cav and Pag; Fri Three Masks; Sat m Madam Butterfly; Sat e Faust GTR

w/c Mon 7 Jul Three Masks; Tue Trovatore; Wed Daughter of the Regiment; Thu Carmen; Fri Marriage of Figaro; Sat m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat e Maritana GTR

w/c Mon 1 Dec Tales of Hoffmann; Tue Carmen; Wed Faust; Thu Cav and Pag; Fri Tannhauser; Sat m Romeo and Juliet; Sat e Rigoletto.

w/c Mon 8 Dec Cav and Pag; Tue Trovatore; Wed Romeo and Juliet; Thu Lily of Killarney; Fri Faust; Sat m Traviata; Sat e Tales of Hoffmann.

w/c Mon 15 Dec Carmen; Tue Tannhauser; Wed Maritana; Thu Rigoletto; Fri Romeo and Juliet; Sat m Cavand Pag; Sat e Tales of Hoffmann


Thirteen weeks @seven performances = ninety-one

Thirteen Tales of Hoffmann

Eight Carmen; Tannhauser; Faust

Seven; Madam Butterfly; Cav and Pag

Six Mignon

Five Trovatore; Tosca

Four Cav and Pag; Maritana

Three Bohème; Romeo and Juliet

Two Three Masks; Don Giovanni; Rigoletto

One Marriage of Figaro; Daughter of the Regiment; Bohemian Girl; Traviata; Lily of Killarney.

Cast details for Aberdeen, Saturday 25 January (evening), are from a programme in Aberdeen City Library. Those for Dundee, Wednesday 29 January, compiled from reviews in the Dundee Courier & Argus and Dundee Evening Telegraph & Post (in Dundee City Library).

Performance Cast

Faust a learned doctor

Hughes Macklin (Jan 25, 29)

Méphistophélès the devil

Arthur Winckworth (Jan 25, 29)

Valentin Marguerite's brother

George McDonald (Jan 25, 29)

Frank Clarke (Feb 22)

Wagner a student of Dr Faust

George Gorst (Jan 25, 29)


Clara Simons (Jan 25, 29)

Siébel a student of Dr Faust, in love with Marguerite

Evelyn Arden (Jan 25)

Gladys Parr (Jan 29)

Marthe a neighbour

Jean Douglas-Wilson (Jan 25, 29)

Performance DatesFaust 1919

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

25 Jan, 19.30

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

29 Jan, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

11 Feb, 19.15 27 Feb, 19.15 5 Jul, 19.15

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

12 Mar, 19.30

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