Opera Scotland

Princess Ida 1914D'Oyly Carte Opera Company

Read more about the opera Princess Ida

D'Oyly Carte Touring at the Outbreak of War

This Scottish tour began with a week in Edinburgh from 3 August, followed by two weeks in Glasgow from 10 August.  A week in Aberdeen followed, starting  24 August.  The Dundee week commencing Monday 31 August was the final leg.  As usual the main D'Oyly Carte touring company had visited the four cities with commercially successful results.  Clearly, with war breaking out during the course of the tour, it would be expected that audiences were in need of cheering up..

The cast for the Dundee performance is from the review in the Dundee Advertiser.

Further Scottish tour dates to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen to be confirmed.


A Dundee Review

Dundee Advertiser: Friday, September 4 1914             

Her Majesty's Theatre  - Princess Ida

 'In the whole range of Gilbert-Sullivan opera there is nothing more dainty than Patience and Princess Ida the plays which were presented at Her Majesty's Theatre yesterday and on Wednesday.   Princess Ida is indeed one of the finest of all these operas, and yesterday evening it was presented with perfect artistic skill by a company which revelled in its work.   The story of Princess Ida is familiar to every playgoer, and the theme is as old as time itself.   In every age members of one sex have attempted to do without members of the other, and in every age the result has been failure unqualified.   The beautiful Princess, for instance, who thought to found a school for women, and so make her name honoured by all posterity, found that such isolation, if carried out in all its fulness, would necessarily preclude the existence of posterity!   But one need not, Jacques-like, “moralise the spectacle,” when one may enjoy such singing and acting as the D'Oyly Carte Company is this week presenting.   It seems on the surface an amazing thing that any company could keep light opera alive for four decades.   It is the most natural thing in the world when we see such a company as is as present in Dundee.   The thing is, as the learned Professor of Abstract Science would say, not a Might, but a Must.

'For the actors in Princess Ida there can be nothing but praise.   Miss Clara Dow made an excellently dignified Princess.   Her song and speech of the second act were perfectly delivered, and her singing of “I built upon a rock” was worthy of comparison with her rendering of “The sun whose rays.”   Than that no higher tribute can be paid.   Among the other ladies in the cast Miss Louie Rene made a very dignified Professor of Abstract Science, not - according to her own statement - having winked at anything for years, and who may doubt the word of such a learned Don?   The relish with which she meted out the punishments was very delightful.   Miss Beatrice Boarer made a very attractive Melissa, and Miss Hilda Cross, as Lady Psyche, discoursed eloquently upon the ascent of man.   Only because of Miss Boarer's many charms as an actress can the mere male forgive her.   The three girl graduates were effectively represented by Miss Ray, Miss Smith and Miss Armit.

'Among the men there is the Chestertonian figure of Mr Billington - such a King as never, most unhappily, was by sea or land.   Rich and resplendent in his regal glory, Mr Billington was his usual splendid self.   Mr James Hay, who took the part of Hilarion, established himself with his first song, “To-day we meet,” and maintained to the end the first excellent impression.   Mr Leicester Tunks, as Florian, was the accustomed merry Mr Tunks.   That handshake in the second act is a tour de force.   Mr Dewey Gibson added to his reputation won on Monday evening.   He was in rare voice, and three encores were not one too many, even though we deprecate the constant hand-clapping which has interrupted the thread of these plays.  Appreciation of an actor should be a tribute rather than a tax, and there is time enough to applaud at the end of the acts.   Mr Lytton is at his best in Princess Ida.   His King Gama is one of the best of his character studies; almost as fine as his Jack Point.   His songs, and his barbed shafts of satire, were perfectly delivered.   Perhaps the best line he says is “Dame Rumour is a liar,” and certainly his best song is “I can't think why.”

T'he chorus work, which has been a feature of the week, was again noteworthy, the ladies perhaps carrying off the palm.  “Do not hurt us” was most daintily sung.   The wit, satire, music, and poetry of Princess Ida all combine to make it one of the best of the Savoy operas, second only to the Yeomen of the Guard, which will be performed to-night.   Most excellent houses have been the order of the week, and the enthusiasm with which the opera has been greeted has certainly not erred on the side ofrestraint.'


The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's Scottish Tour - 1914

The operas performed were:  Patience Iolanthe;  Princess Ida;  The Mikado;  The Yeomen of the Guard;  The Gondoliers.

The repertoire for the week was:

Dundee, w/c 31 August:   Mon 31 The Gondoliers;  Tue 1 Sep The Mikado;  Wed 2 Patience,  Thu 3 Princess Ida;  Fri 4 The Yeomen of the Guard;  Sat 5 mat Iolanthe;   Sat 6 eve The Mikado.

The cast is as reviewed in the Dundee Advertiser.

Performance Cast

King Hildebrand

Fred Billington (Sep 3)

Hilarion Hildebrand's Son

James Hay (Sep 3)

Cyril Hilarion's Friend

Dewey Gibson (Sep 3)

Florian Hilarion's Friend

Leicester Tunks (Sep 3)

King Gama

Henry Lytton (Sep 3)

Arac Gama's eldest son

Frederick Hobbs (Sep 3)

Princess Ida Gama's Daughter

Clara Dow (Sep 3)

Lady Blanche Professor of Abstract Science

Louie René (Sep 3)

Lady Psyche Professor of Humanities, Florian's Sister

Hilda Cross (Sep 3)

Melissa Lady Blanche's Daughter

Beatrice Boarer (Sep 3)

Sacharissa a Girl Graduate

Nancy Ray (Sep 3)

Chloe a Girl Graduate

Phyllis Smith (Sep 3)

Ada a Girl Graduate

Ethel Armit (Sep 3)

Production Cast


Walter Hann (Sep 3)

Performance DatesPrincess Ida 1914

Map List

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

3 Sep, 19.30

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