Opera Scotland

Norma 1869Corri's Grand English Opera Company

Read more about the opera Norma

Ida Gillies was a Scottish soprano who is now scarcely remembered. However she sang a number of leading roles at Covent Garden during this period.

The casting of Flavio and Clotilde is as advertised on the 13th.


Dundee Advertiser: Tuesday, 6 April 1869 (p4)

English Opera in the Theatre Royal – Norma

'Yesterday evening the Theatre Royal was well filled to witness and listen to Bellini’s renowned tragic opera of Norma, which was produced with all the scenic effects of which the Theatre would admit.  We have on almost every performance had occasion to commend so highly the efforts of the artistes, that our commendation of them on this occasion may simply seem a repetition of the old song; but really, it was impossible to listen to Mademoiselle Gilliess as Norma and not feel that her performance was the greatest musical treat we have ever had in Dundee.

'Grand as she was in the opening scenes; and brilliantly as she executed the duets between herself and Adalgisa; in the last Act Mdlle Gilliess excelled all her former efforts, and kept the house spell-bound both by the brilliance and expressiveness of her bravura singing, and the grace and naturalness of her acting. The prayer to her father on behalf of her children, immediately before the grand finale, was given with melting pathos, and displayed the vocal and artistic powers of Miss Gilliess to much higher advantage than they have yet been seen in Dundee.  From the appreciation of her powers exhibited by the audience – and the intense interest manifested in the opera throughout – we would recommend Mr Corri to extend his visit over part of next week, and give us Norma again. Martha we must have, and now Norma has also established a claim to repetition.

'Mr Parkinson as Pollio was effective as usual. His voice seems impervious to wear and tear, and his silvery tenor pervades and brightens every work as it is performed as freshly and satisfactorily as on the first night of his appearance.  Although Pollio is a most ungracious part for a leading tenor, he rendered it truly interesting; and one could almost, when listening to his honeyed accents, forget the depravity of the character he represented in admiration of the ability with which the finer points of his task were performed.  We can promise Mr Parkinson, as we also can Miss Gilliess, a most cordial reception at any future time they may revisit Dundee – where they have now established for themselves a lasting reputation.

'Miss Kate Villiers appeared to greater advantage as Adalgisa than in any other character she has yet attempted here.  She sung her part with great feeling and expression; and as she ‘ages’ – (if we may be forgiven the thought as regards a lady!) – she will no doubt acquire that depth of tragic power which her slight physique at present forbids.  She has, however, true musical feeling, and her style of singing is thoroughly natural and captivating by its simplicity.

'The Oroveso of Mr Corri was a very effective musical rendering of the ‘heavy father’ of the conventional drama, and what little he had to do was done well.  The chorus, as usual, was more effective than brilliant, and we are inclined to think that the female voices might do better, and that their singing as well as their acting might be improved by a little more animation – though as they at present sing they act as an admirable foil to the brilliance and animation of Mdlle Gilliess.  Shortly before the grand finale, we regretted to observe that the cue was lost, and that for a few minutes they were out of time, and very nearly out of tune.

'To-night the opera is Verdi’s Il Trovatore – which was performed on the opening night of the season; and, as the attendance on that occasion was very small, we hope the house will be crowded on the second representation of this great work.

'Last night a gallery chorus was again attempted, and though a number of the leading singers who did effective service on Saturday night were evidently not upstairs, the attempt was tolerably successful.

'With regard to the performance of Faust on Saturday evening, we regret that the services of the band of the Dundee Artillery Volunteers were accidentally overlooked in our notice.  They rendered yeoman service in the chorus, and were enthusiastically encored.  We do not know whether they intend to re-appear to-morrow evening, but such was their success on Saturday evening, that if they do not re-appear this part of the opera will be lacking in effect.  We understand the energetic bandmaster had to copy out the parts only the day previous to their performance, which makes their success all the more worthy of acknowledgment.

Performance Cast

Oroveso Archdruid, father of Norma

Henry Corri (Apr 5, 13)

Pollione Roman Pro-consul in Gaul

William Parkinson (Apr 5, 13)

Flavio a centurion

John Manley (Apr 13)

Norma High Priestess of the druid temple

Ida Gilliess (Apr 5, 13)

Adalgisa a virgin of the temple

Kate Villiers (Apr 5, 13)

Clotilde Norma's confidante

Emma Millar (Apr 13)

Performance DatesNorma 1869

Map List

Theatre Royal, Dundee | Dundee

5 Apr, 19.30 13 Apr, 19.30

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