Opera Scotland

Lucrezia Borgia 1870Corri's Grand English Opera Company

Read more about the opera Lucrezia Borgia

The quartet of principals is here identical to the group that performed this dramatically viable work on the previous year's tour.

Further performances to be added.


A Dundee View

Dundee Courier: Monday, 21 March 1879

The English Opera

'The bill of fare presented by the English Opera Company on Saturday night was particularly attractive. It comprised the whole of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and Dibdin’s Waterman.

'The performances were under the patronage of the Provost, Magistrates, and Dean of Guild.  The house was pretty well filled, although for a Saturday night the audience could not be said to be exceedingly large.  The performance commenced with Lucrezia Borgia.  The Duchess of Ferrara was taken by Madame Gillies, and the Duke by Mr Henry Corri.  Mr Parkinson was Gennaro, the son of the Duchess, and he had for his friend Orsini, Miss Fanny Harrison.  The rest of the parts were all equally well allotted. No piece, we think, could have better shown the variety and power of the company’s power than Lucrezia Borgia.

'There fell to Madame Gillies the difficult task of impersonating the fierce passion, motherly yearning, and despair of the famous Duchess of Ferrara, and her rendering of the various scenes shows she is equally telling in all the passions of the human heart.  With what a plaintive pleading she gave the solo ‘Oh, love thy mother tenderly,’ while in the difficult scene which follows, in which she is discovered by those who had most reason to hate her, she sustained her part in the spirit of a queen of tragedy.  All through, the varying feelings of love, and fear and despair are called rapidly into requisition, and her response is true to the life.  The rendering of her last solo, ‘Hear, oh hear me,’ was exquisitely touching.

'Henry Corri’s Duke of Ferrara was also a piece of careful acting, and his rendering of the part was all the more creditable as that it is not quite in his accustomed vein.  But Mr Corri shows a capability of appreciating and impersonating the jealousy of an Alphonso as well as the humour of a Figaro.  The scenes in which he and his wife appeared were undoubtedly the most telling of the piece.  Mr Parkinson’s voice seems admirably adapted for rendering songs of love and grief, and he is very fortunate in always finding a character that fits him admirably.  Nothing could be finer than the air, as given by him, ‘I, too, have felt within by breast.’

'Miss Harrison had also the good fortune to receive a part which to her also is most natural.  The dashing young Orsini received full justice at her hands. ‘Oh, the secret through life to be happy’ was given with the proper amount of spirit and animation, although we did not think it an improvement to give it in Italian.  The principal characters were ably supported by the rest of the company, and the air of deep interest with which the development and tragic conclusion of the plot was watched testified to the able manner in which the piece had been performed.

'Dibdin’s opera of the Waterman it is unnecessary to say much about. It was sufficient to assure it a good reception that the principal interest centred round the songs, and that Mr Parkinson sang the most of them. We may, however, mention in conclusion that Olympus was again choral; that the experiences of ‘Dugald More’ were related, to the no small amusement of the audience; and that other paeans were hymned with great gusto.  There was one fine song given – ‘The Death of Nelson’ – but to sustain the honour of the noble position they were occupying, the ‘gods’ thought it necessary, by way of accompaniment, to throw in a telling ‘vamp’ at the end of each line.  The solo was not very well heard in the lower regions, probably owing to the height of the officiating deity.  Might we be allowed to suggest that, for the sake of all parties in the house, Olympus ought to descend to – say the side boxes.  This may look like a hint to our friends to be a little more liberal in their patronage of such a high-class entertainment, but it is with no such intention that we throw out the suggestion; it is simply for the general good of the house.'

Performance Cast

Maffio Orsini friend of Gennaro

Fanny Harrison (Mar 19)

Gennaro Lucrezia's son, raised in secret

William Parkinson (Mar 19)

Donna Lucrezia Borgia

Ida Gilliess (Mar 19)

Don Alfonso d'Este Duke of Ferrara, Lucrezia's fourth husband

Henry Corri (Mar 19)

Production Cast


John Pew (Mar 19)


Mr J M Weston

Performance DatesLucrezia Borgia 1870

Map List

Theatre Royal, Dundee | Dundee

19 Mar, 19.30

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