Opera Scotland

Madam Butterfly 1919Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Madama Butterfly

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.

The week commencing 27 January 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.


A Dundee View

Dundee Evening Telegraph & Post: Friday, 31 January, 1919

Her Majesty's Theatre - Madame Butterfly

'Puccini's Madame Butterfly is really too poignantly sad. The last act is a long-drawn torture, and the composer seems to want to harrow our feelings to the uttermost. It is an excellent type of the modern opera - melodious, daring in harmonic scheme and orchestral score, and highly dramatic.

 As Butterfly, Miss Beatrice Miranda made a brilliant success.  It is impossible for any Western actress to realise the Japanese girl-wife of fifteen, and we must accept something more mature.  Miss Miranda revealed the shades of emotion - child-like glee, trust, despair, and the rest - with much realism, and her reading of the Jap maiden was admirably considered. Vocally nothing could have been better, and her fine use of varied tone colour gave the music rare distinction.

'Mr William Boland played Pinkerton, and in some passages sang very well, but the great love duet that concludes the first act lost one-half of its thrill by his want of grip and apparent forgetfulness.  Miss Lena Maitland made a sympathetic Suzuki. The part of Sharpless is not easy, for the singer has only snatches to sing and is often on the stage for some length of time with little to do.  Mr Hebden Foster showed the poor Consul's dilemma with much skill, and he sang his music with a quiet reticence and clear diction that were highly artistic.

'Again a word of praise must be given to the band under Mr De La Fuente for their expressive playing of the illustrative score.'


From Edinburgh

The Scotsman:   Friday, 14 March 1919

Llast night's performance ... was perhaps first and principally a triumph for Miss Beatrice Miranda, for in following so closely upon her impersonation in La Tosca on Tuesday night,  it served to demonstrate with additional emphasis her faculty of identifying herself with any role which she assumes.  There are many more or less good operatic singers in this country, but operatic artists capable of making a character a living reality, in the expression of which singing and acting are perfectly blended, are few, but Miss Miranda is one of their number.  Miss Miranda's Madam Butterfly is well-known in Edinburgh, but last night the impersonation seemed to have advanced in finish and conviction, while vocally it has certainly gained in beauty of tone.  As a whole, it was in every respect an exquisitely graceful presentation of the Japanese girl of the story.

'Mr Hughes Macklin's full, round tone, ease of delivery and effective acting enabled him to make the most of the role, who after all, is very little more than the conventional tenor of opera.   Mr Kingsley Lark's Sharpless had many good qualities and the Suzuki of Miss Lena Maitland was one of the most artistic things in a production which was artistic throughout.  Mr Robert Brookes, as the unctuous marriage broker, repeated a now familiar success, and praise is due to the Prince of Mr George Gorst, and the Kate Pinkerton of Miss May Crowley.   Mr De La Fuente conducted, and under his able direction the opera went with an admirable spirit and distinction."



The season consisted of 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 (spent at Greenock King's Theatre), 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.

The cast for Aberdeen (Saturday 25 January matinee) is from a programme in Aberdeen City Library. The Dundee  performance was not reviewed in the Dundee Advertiser or Dundee Courier & Argus. Cast details, for the four main roles only, therefore are as in the Dundee Evening Telegraph & Post (in Dundee City Library). There is a programme for the performance on 13 March at the Lyceum, in Edinburgh Central Library.

Performance Cast

Lieutenant F B Pinkerton U S Navy

Lovat Crosley (Jan 25m)

William Boland (Jan 30)

Hughes Macklin (Mar 13)

Goro marriage broker

Robert Brookes (Jan 25 m; Mar 13)

Suzuki Cio-Cio-San's servant

Gladys Parr (Jan 25 m)

Lena Maitland (Jan 30; Mar 13)

Sharpless U S Consul in Nagasaki

Hebden Foster (Jan 25 m, 30)

Kingsley Lark (Mar 13)

Cio-Cio-San known as Madam Butterfly

Beatrice Miranda (Jan 25 m, 30; Mar 13)

Imperial Commissioner

Charles Bloomfield (Jan 25 m; Mar 13)

Official Registrar

John Halliday (Jan 25 m; Mar 13)

Uncle Yakuside

Tom Hamilton (Jan 25 m; Mar 13)


Jean Douglas-Wilson (Jan 25 m; Mar 13)


Lilian Kinsey (Jan 25 m; Mar 13)


Dorothy Lawson-Taylor (Jan 25 m; Mar 13)

Bonze a priest, Cio-Cio-San's uncle

Fred Lewis Jan 25 m; Mar 13)

Prince Yamadori

George Gorst (Jan 25 m; Mar 13)

Kate Pinkerton

May Crowley (Jan 25 m; Mar 13)

Performance DatesMadam Butterfly 1919

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

25 Jan, 14.15

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

30 Jan, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

5 Feb, 19.15 1 Mar, 14.00 5 Jul, 14.00 14 Feb, 19.15

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

13 Mar, 19.15

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