Opera Scotland

Trovatore 1869Corri's Grand English Opera Company

Read more about the opera Trovatore

Henry Corri had a long career as a principal bass, particularly at the Covent Garden theatre. For a few years he even took over management of the company. Though his tenure as manager was not a long one, it resulted in some ambitious touring in the provinces.

This Scottish leg included visits to several centres, including Aberdeen, Dundee, Kilmarnock and Greenock. Most stays were of several weeks duration. The Dundee visit was extended from the initially announced two weeks to three.

On one evening, April 15, a Fast (local holiday) in Dundee, the company took the train to Arbroath, to give the citizens what may have been their first professional opera (The Barber of Seville plus two acts of Trovatore). In the middle of the visit, Corri married his prima donna, the Scottish soprano Ida Gilliess.

The repertoire, all sung in English, looks almost miraculous, including Norma, La sonnambula, Lucrezia Borgia, and Ernani, as well as Il trovatore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Faust, Fra Diavolo, The Barber of Seville, La cenerentola and Martha. The operas by British composers performed were The Bohemian Girl, The Rose of Castille, and Maritana. There was also a favourite classic, the oldest work on display, The Waterman (1774) by Dibdin, which was still a popular afterpiece.

Immediately after Dundee, for one week commencing Monday 19 April, the company played on a temporary stage fitted in the Corn Exchange Hall, Kilmarnock. After the opening Trovatore, with the same principals, the works performed were Sonnambula, Barber of Seville, Don Giovanni, Lucrezia Borgia and Faust.

Shortly afterwards, they appeared for several weeks through May (probably from May 10) at Greenock's Theatre Royal (dates and repertoire to be established).

Additional Scottish tour dates to be confirmed.



Dundee Advertiser: Friday, 26 March 1869 (p1)


Mr M’Neill has the honour to announce the

Engagement, for positively Twelve Nights only, of

The above Celebrated Opera Company, from the


(Under the Direction of Mr Henri Corri)

Commencing on Monday First, March 29th.


The Company comprises the following Talented

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Madlle IDA GILLIESS Prima Donna.




Mr W PARKINSON Primo Tenore.


Mr HAYDN CORRI Baritone.

Messrs J F COOK, and W BLYTHE Bassi.

Mr HENRI CORRI Basso Profundo.



The Chorus and Orchestra, which is Full and

Effective, will be under the Conductorship of



The Box Plan lies at Mr Chalmers,

Bookseller, Castle Street, Dundee, where

Places (Numbered and Strictly Reserved) may be

Secured and Tickets obtained.


Prices of Admission:

Front Boxes (Dress), 5s; Side Boxes, 3s; Pit, 2s; Gallery, 1s.


The Opera will Commence at Half-Past Seven, and

Terminate about Half-Past Ten.

Arrangements are in progress for the running of

Special Trains to the adjacent Towns at the

Termination of the Opera


Dundee Advertiser: Tuesday, 30 March  1869 (p4)

The English Operatic Company

'The talented Opera Company from Covent Garden, under the direction of Mr Henri Corri, gave last night the first of a series of performances in the Theatre Royal. The opera produced was an English version of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, which was given with such fidelity and effect as, we venture to say, took the audience by surprise. The opera was from beginning to end a most unequivocal success.

'Mdlle Ida Gilliess is a prima donna of very great ability, both as a vocalist and as an actress. She is a most cultivated singer, possessing dramatic power and energy of the highest value. Her personation of Leonora last night was intensely real, and her singing superb. In the aria sung in front of the palace tower she so captivated her auditors that all parts of the house hung with breathless silence on every phrase she uttered. In this, the richness, purity, and volume of her tone, and the extraordinary compass she has at command, were displayed to perfection. She seemed in splendid voice throughout the evening, and frequently drew forth universal applause; but this effort produced such an encore as we have seldom seen given to any one in Dundee. It was a perfect furore of applause and cheering which greeted the conclusion of this display of real talent, and the artiste had to repeat the aria. This she did with even increased effect, and it seemed as if a double encore was to be persisted in, for it was with difficulty the house would resume its normal condition. The singing and acting of this lady during the whole of the fourth act was beyond all praise, and highly she deserved the many tokens of approbation accorded her.

'Miss Fanny Harrison’s Gipsy was perfect. She is a contralto of undoubted merit and experience, and as an actress is not second, perhaps superior, to the prima donna herself. At least her Azucena last night was a piece of as fine acting as we have ever seen. In her very first scene she displayed rare dramatic power, in which she sung ‘Stride la vampa’ with fine effect. Her conduct in the third act, when seized by the Count’s soldiers, was most fitting to the character and the situation – indeed her acting of the part was throughout of a most refined order, and the more praiseworthy that it was in no degree ‘stagey’. Her duet with Manrico in the prison was about to be encored, but the progress of the piece forbad the repetition.

'Mr W Parkinson sustained the part of Manrico with ability and much acceptance. He is evidently a first-class tenor. His voice is remarkably pure in tone and equal in its register. His intonation last night was perfect, and his style of singing above criticism. We were delighted with the freshness of his voice, and the ease and grace of his method in vocalising. He declaimed without rant, and in no case could any forcing or straining of power be detected. These are rare qualifications in an operatic tenor, for the possession of which this gentleman cannot be too much praised. Anything finer than in the third act, where Manrico and Leonora are making love to each other, we have never heard. The clear, musical quality of his voice rendered the whole of his singing in this scene one of the greatest treats in the Opera. The ‘Ah Che la Morte’ duet with Leonora, between him and Madlle Gilliess, was superbly managed.

'The Count was ably sustained by Mr Haydn Corri, who is a baritone of considerable merit. We imagine he sang with some effort last night. He seemed slightly affected with cold. His singing was well received, as it justly deserved to be, for it was quite artistic.

'These artistes were repeatedly called before the curtain, and at the close of the opera they were vociferously cheered.

'Of the other members of the company who appeared we are as yet unable to say anything definite. They each seemed quite up to the mark in point of ability. The choruses were of course light, but were well sung. The smallness of the stage in our Theatre must ever prevent a large operatic chorus from appearing in Dundee, even if the town were prepared to remunerate them adequately.

'Of the orchestra we are able to speak in terms of unqualified praise. Mr J W Pew is to all appearances an able conductor, and managed his delicate business with perfect success and undoubted taste. The orchestra is small, but most efficient.

'We can most cordially recommend all and sundry to pay a visit to this Opera Company. It is vastly superior to anything we have ever yet had of its kind in Dundee, its leading members are artistes of first-class ability, and, apart from the delight and instruction their singing affords, a fair and comprehensible idea of the leading operas can be got from the excellent style in which last night’s performance seems to indicate they will be produced.

'The attendance last night ought to have been more numerous. The upper classes in the town have never had such an opportunity of enjoying such art with so little trouble as now, and we trust that support will be given this Opera Company which its high qualifications deserve. It will be nothing short of disgrace to the musical taste of Dundee and its neighbourhood if this Theatre is not crowded during the short season this talented party are to remain with us. It is a fact that the power to appreciate good music is becoming stronger with us every year, thanks to the exertion of our amateur Societies and to other agencies at work in our midst; but there are those of other towns who would fain deny us this credit. It is for Dundee to prove the justice of its claims to be reckoned a musical town by supporting such talent as that which appeared last night.'

Cast as advertised on the morning of the performance.


Corri's Grand English Opera in Scotland - 1869

The seventeen operas toured were Dibdin (Waterman);  Mozart (Don Giovanni);  Auber (Fra Diavolo);  Weber (Freischütz);    Rossini (Barber of Seville,  Cinderella);  Donizetti (Lucrezia BorgiaLucia di Lammermoor);  Bellini (SonnambulaNorma);   Balfe (Bohemian Girl,  Rose of Castile);  Wallace (Maritana);  Flotow (Martha);  Verdi (ErnaniTrovatore);  Gounod (Faust).

The tour schedule included Aberdeen (Theatre Royal);  Dundee (Theatre Royal) and Kilmarnock (Corn Exchange).  Other venues (including Greenock) and performance details to be confirmed.


Aberdeen, w/c 1 March;  Mon 1 Trovatore;  Tue 2 Maritana;  Wed 3 Bohemian Girl; Thu 4 Lucrezia Borgia;  Fri 5 Barber of Seville;  Sat 6 Sonnambula.

Aberdeen,  w/c 8 March:  Mon 8 Ernani;  Tue 9 Barber of Seville;  Wed 10 Martha;  Thu 11 Ernani;  Fri 12 Faust; Sat 13 Rose of Castile.

Aberdeen, w/c 15 March:  Mon 15 Lucrezia Borgia;  Tue 16 Bohemian Girl;  Wed 17 Martha;  Thu 18 Faust;  Fri 19 Trovatore;  Sat 20 tbc.

Aberdeen, w/c 22 March:  Mon 22 tbc;  Tue 23 tbc;  Wed 24 tbc;  Thu 25 tbc; Fri 26 Don Giovanni;  Sat 27 Freischütz.

Dundee,  w/c 29 March:  Mon 29 Trovatore;  Tue 30 Martha;  Wed 31 Barber of Seville;  Thu 1 Apr Sonnambula;  Fri 2 Lucrezia Borgia;  Sat 3 Faust.

Dundee, w/c 5 April:  Mon 5 Norma;  Tue 6 Trovatore;  Wed 7 Faust;  Thu 8 Fra Diavolo;  Fri 9 Lucia di Lammermoor & Waterman;  Sat 10 Don Giovanni.

Dundee, w/c 12 April: Mon 12 tbc;  Tue 13 Norma;  Wed 14 Cenerentola;  Thu 15 Barber of Seville (Arbroath);  Fri 16 Ernani;  Sat 17 Maritana & Waterman.

Kilmarnock, w/c 19 April:  Mon 19 Trovatore; Tue 20 Sonnambula;  Wed 21 Barber of Seville;  Thu 22 Don Giovanni;  Fri 23 Lucrezia Borgia;  Sat 24 Faust.

Performance Cast

Ferrando captain of Di Luna's guard

Mr J F Cook (Mar 29)

Inez confidante of Leonora

Miss Pullar (Mar 1)

Emma Millar (Mar 29)

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

Ida Gilliess (Mar 29)

Count di Luna a young noble of Aragon

Haydn Corri (Mar 29)

Manrico a chieftain under the Prince of Biscay

William Parkinson (Mar 29)

Azucena a Biscayan gypsy woman

Fanny Harrison (Mar 29)

Ruiz a soldier in Manrico's service

John Manley (Mar 29)

Production Cast


Mr Reid (Mar 1)

John Pew (Mar 29)


Charles Jefferys

Performance DatesTrovatore 1869

Map List

Theatre Royal, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

1 Mar, 19.45 17 Mar, 19.45

Theatre Royal, Dundee | Dundee

29 Mar, 19.30 6 Apr, 19.30

Corn Exchange Hall, Kilmarnock | Kilmarnock

19 Apr, 19.30

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