Opera Scotland

Carmen 1880Soldene English and Comic Opera Company

Read more about the opera Carmen

Emily Soldene ran a company which concentrated largely on the performance of French operettas by Offenbach and Lecocq. Carmen, though formally an opéra-comique, was therefore something of a departure for her, but she was attracted by the title role, and seems to have performed it well. It still seems strange that this highly successful work should have been toured in the same season by two organisations (though it must be said that Carl Rosa only played Edinburgh and Glasgow).

Soldene augmented her company with the conductor Eugène Goossens, who would go on to lead the Carl Rosa company after the founder's death. The tenor singing Don José, Durward Lely, was a Scot at this stage working under the Italianate name Signor Leli. He had just returned after several years studying in Milan, followed by some seasons singing in Italian companies, and had found his real surname, Lyall, fell awkwardly on the Italian tongue.  He would only adopt his British styled working name the following year, when he was recruited by D' Oyly Carte to join the Gilbert and Sullivan team, but realised that Lyall would not do, because the tenor Charles Lyall already had a successful career with Carl Rosa. It may be that the baritone Signor Olmi was also a Brit in disguise - his real name was George Holmes.

Read more about Durward Lely here.

Performance Cast

Moralès a corporal of dragoons

Mr Appleby (May)

Mr R B Mason (Sep)

Micaëla a peasant girl

Rose Stella

Don José a corporal of dragoons

Durward Lely

Zuniga a lieutenant of dragoons

Clive Hersee

Carmen a gypsy

Emily Soldene

Mercédès a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Clara Vesey

Frasquita a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Alice Imms

Lillas Pastia an innkeeper

Mr W Quinton

Escamillo a toreador

Signor Olmi

Dancaïre a smuggler

Edward Marshall (May)

Fred W Sidney (Sep)

Remendado a smuggler

John Wallace (May)

Mr Appleby (Sep)

Performance DatesCarmen 1880

Map List

Theatre Royal, Dundee | Dundee

3 May, 19.30 5 May, 19.30 7 May, 19.30 13 Sep, 19.30 15 Sep, 19.30

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