Opera Scotland

Princess Ida 1885Mr R D'Oyly Carte's Opera Company

Read more about the opera Princess Ida

This touring cast for Princess Ida contained a couple of familiar faces, in David Fisher and Fanny Edwards.  The reviews make it clear that Lady Blanche was still allowed to sing her grandly philosophical aria 'Come mighty Must, inevitable Shall',  which has generally been cut in performances (and recordings) since then.  Cyril's 'Kissing Song' was already a reliable audience pleaser, inevitably receiving a double-encore, even if the critics didn't like it much.  Fred Billington here took on a role that would continue to feature in his repertoire for the next thirty years (until his death).  Hidden away in the chorus was a newcomer,  still in his teens,  and recently married to young soloist Louie Henri - but Henry Lytton's career would develop rapidly.  The conductor P W Halton led the touring company for many years.

This tour included the first visit by a D'Oyly Carte company to Glasgow's Grand Theatre,  and its final visit to Dundee's Theatre Royal (soon to be superceded by Her Majesty's).

The most notable newcomer is the tenor Courtice Pounds.  As well as covering for Durward Lely in London (though Lely had actually created the part of Cyril, not Hilarion),  he eventually succeeded him as principal tenor,  in the post-Ruddigore revival of Pinafore,  followed by the premiere of The Yeomen of the Guard,  in which Pounds created the part of Fairfax.

His greatest distinction on this Scottish tour came on the final Saturday afternoon,  when he was stroke in the company's coxed four that saw off the Grand Theatre's crew in a race on the Clyde.  The Grand's oarsmen were at the time the holders of the Glasgow Cup,  a league competition held between theatre stage crews,  and,  like backstage teams in all theatres,  at least in seaports,  will have been a squad of hardened mariners used to pulling on ropes and clambering about at altitude - not to mention messing about in boats.

The theatre team seem to have been taken aback by the expertise of the touring company.  Pounds himself had grown up on the banks of the Thames,  in Putney,  and was an expert oarsman.  The choristers were all hand-picked,  and had been practising on the Dee and the Tay before reaching the Clyde.

The cast is from The Comet (Lamb Collection, Dundee City Library).

Performance Cast

King Hildebrand

Fred Billington

Hilarion Hildebrand's Son

Courtice Pounds

Cyril Hilarion's Friend

Charles Rowan

Florian Hilarion's Friend

Frederick Federici

King Gama

David Fisher jnr

Arac Gama's eldest son

George Gordon 2

Guron Gama's second son

Arthur Hendon

Scynthius Gama's third son

Leonard Roche

Princess Ida Gama's Daughter

Ethel McAlpine

Lady Blanche Professor of Abstract Science

Fanny Edwards

Lady Psyche Professor of Humanities, Florian's Sister

Minna Louis

Melissa Lady Blanche's Daughter

Beatrix Young

Sacharissa a Girl Graduate

Evelyn Carstairs

Chloe a Girl Graduate

Lena Monmouth

Ada a Girl Graduate

Louie Henri

Performance DatesPrincess Ida 1885

Map List

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

23 Feb, 00.00 24 Feb, 00.00 25 Feb, 00.00 26 Feb, 00.00 27 Feb, 00.00 28 Feb, 00.00

Her Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

2 Mar, 19.30 3 Mar, 19.30 4 Mar, 19.30 5 Mar, 19.30 6 Mar, 19.30 7 Mar, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Dundee | Dundee

9 Mar, 19.30 10 Mar, 19.30 11 Mar, 19.30 12 Mar, 19.30 13 Mar, 19.30 14 Mar, 19.00

Grand Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

16 Mar, 19.30 17 Mar, 19.30 18 Mar, 19.30 19 Mar, 19.30 20 Mar, 19.30 21 Mar, 19.00

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