Opera Scotland

Orphée aux Enfers 1870Opéra-Bouffe

Read more about the opera Orpheus in the Underworld

This seems to have been the first visit to Scotland by an authentic French opéra-bouffe company, in which three of Offenbach's greatest works were introduced to audiences in the original French. Their tour began in Dublin, before moving to Liverpool, then Glasgow and Edinburgh for eight performances each, and on to Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol before opening for a season in London in June. The company was advertised as being largely from the Théâtre de la Porte St Martin, in Paris, supplemented by other top-ranking performers from Paris and Brussels.

The works performed were Orphée aux enfers, Barbe-bleue and La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein. The title role in The Grand Duchess and Boulotte in Bluebeard were among the succession of roles designed for the special talents of Hortense Schneider. In addition, she created the title roles in La belle Hélène and La Périchole. Eurydice, when she added it to her repertoire for a revival, also seems to have fitted her like a glove, and the creator of Orpheus, Meyronnet Tayau, also came on this tour to Scotland.

The theatre was closed on 15th April for Good Friday, and Madame Schneider took a benefit on Thursday 21st in Glasgow and Monday 2nd May in Edinburgh (those being performances when, as was standard practice at the time, the leading performer was able to pocket the takings, a tidy sum even in those days). On those two evenings they performed scenes from all three works. This successful visit seems to have established the credentials of the French school of light entertainment in Scotland almost overnight.

Performance Cast

Public Opinion

Mme Daguy


Meyronnet Tayau

Eurydice wife of Orpheus

Hortense Schneider

Pluto Lord of the Underworld

M Carrier


Mdlle Decamps

Cupid Venus's son, the God of Love

Mdlle Mounier

Jupiter Father of all the Gods

M Desmonts

Juno Jupiter's wife

Mdlle Masson


Mme Vinzentini

Mercury Jupiter's messenger

M Petit

John Styx the dead king of Boeotia

M Schey

Performance DatesOrphée aux Enfers 1870

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

14 Apr, 20.00 16 Apr, 20.00 18 Apr, 20.00 22 Apr, 20.00

Theatre Royal, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

29 Apr, 20.00 30 Apr, 20.00

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