Opera Scotland

Trovatore 1922Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Trovatore

The Carl Rosa's Scottish tour at the beginning of 1922 was an unusually long one with 21 different operas on display. If the seven renderings of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci are regarded as fourteen shows, that totals 105 performances (instead of 98) over the fourteen weeks from 16 January to 22 April embracing five venues. It began in the north-east, with one week in Perth, two in Aberdeen and one in Dundee. There followed an eight week stay in Glasgow, almost a northern headquarters for the company, and two final weeks in Edinburgh.

The most frequently performed operas in the season were Samson and Delilah (11), Carmen (9) and Madam Butterfly (9). Four works received only a single outing - The Valkyrie (in Aberdeen) and Lily of KillarneyBohème and Tosca in Glasgow.

The first week commencing Monday, 16 January, in Perth's delightfully intimate Edwardian auditorium, ran in this order: Mon Carmen; Tue Tales of Hoffmann, Wed Maritana, Thu Samson and Delilah, Fri Cav & Pag, Sat mat Madam Butterfly, Sat eve Il Trovatore.

In Aberdeen there were changes. Cav & Pag were dropped briefly, but the expanded repertoire saw the introduction of Bohemian GirlFaust and Mignon, as well as some larger-scale works by Verdi (Aïda) and Wagner (Tannhäuser, LohengrinValkyrie).

Dundee had not been visited since 1919 when Her Majesty's became a cinema, but the King's was now available, at least until 1928, when it, too, was acquired by a cinema company. The schedule for the week in Dundee was a fairly standard digest of the existing repertoire - Mon Faust, Tue Carmen, Wed Cav & Pag, Thu Samson and Delilah, Fri Tannhäuser, Sat Mat Madam Butterfly, and Sat Eve Trovatore.

With eight weeks to fill, it was inevitable that as well as nearly all of the above, a number of works would appear that were not seen elsewhere. These included Lily of Killarney, RigolettoMastersingersBohème and Tosca.


This Saturday evening performance on 11 February brought to an end the first visit by Carl Rosa to the King's Theatre in Dundee. This luxuriously-appointed Edwardian building had opened as a top range variety house, but after the acquisition of the previous 'legitimate' theatre, Her Majesty's, by a cinema company in 1919, pressure had grown to make good the city's lack of a major touring theatre, and its policy was altered in 1921. The change was a huge success and business continued in this way until 1928, when the increasing national obsession with cinema allowed the building to change its role again.

The Dundee Advertiser gave brief details of singers in its Saturday preview and on Monday gave a brief summary:-

'When the curtain dropped in the King’s Theatre, Dundee on Saturday evening amid much enthusiasm there ended for the Carl Rosa Opera Company a memorable week. Saturday’s performances included Madam Butterfly at the matinee, and by the time that this audience was making its way from the theatre, long queues had already gathered awaiting the opening of the doors for the evening performance of Il Trovatore. The house was again packed to the utmost capacity and the keen appreciation by the audience of the great treat provided by the company was reflected in the rapturous reception accorded to the principals. For sheer realism nothing finer has been seen than the performance of Miss Doris Woodall as Azucena, and she was recalled again and again, while Mr John Perry was also called to make his bow before the curtain.'


The cast details are from a programme for the Glasgow performance of 28 February in the Gardiner collection at the Mitchell Library, which also contains the following evening's Bohème. This is augmented by an alternative cast from earlier in the tour, as previewed in the Dundee Advertiser - critics did not generally attend Saturday performances.

The Scotsman the following Monday provides a brief notice of a second Glasgow performance on the evening of Saturday, 18 March. As before, the conductor is Charles Webber:

'The Carl Rosa Opera Company brought their fifth week at the Theatre-Royal, Glasgow to a close on Saturday evening with a pleasing rendition of Il Trovatore, in which John Perry, Booth Hitchen, Gladys Parr and Gladys Cranston filled the leading roles with distinction.'

Performance Cast

Ferrando captain of Di Luna's guard

Frederick Clendon (Feb 11, 28)

Inez confidante of Leonora

Bessie Nichols (Feb 28)

Leonora a Duchess, lady-in-waiting to the Princess of Aragon

Gladys Cranston (Feb 11; Mar 18e)

Ethel Austen (Feb 28)

Count di Luna a young noble of Aragon

Booth Hitchen (Feb 11; Mar 18e)

Kingsley Lark (Feb 28)

Manrico a chieftain under the Prince of Biscay

John Perry (Feb 11; Mar 18e)

Ben Williams (Feb 28)

Azucena a Biscayan gypsy woman

Doris Woodall (Feb 11)

Gladys Parr (Feb 28; Mar 18e)

Ruiz a soldier in Manrico's service

Jack Wright (Feb 28)

Performance DatesTrovatore 1922

Map List

Perth Theatre | Perth

21 Jan, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

28 Jan, 19.15

King's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

11 Feb, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

28 Feb, 19.15 18 Mar, 19.15 29 Mar, 19.15

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

15 Apr, 19.15

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