Opera Scotland

Faust 1910Castellano Grand Italian Opera

Read more about the opera Faust

As with the British touring companies, Castellano ended his weeks in Aberdeen and Dundee with a popular favourite in Gounod's Faust. Many early recordings of solos from the opera reveal just how widespread were performances in the Italian translation, even if they were less familiar north of the Forth.


This cast is from a programme in Aberdeen City Library.  Friday's preview in the Courier specifies that Defral would also appear in Dundee.  However it seems that the enthusiastic reception of Miriam Licette's performance as Micaëla in Thursday's Carmen encouraged the management to put her on to try out the role of Marguerite. Unusually, the Courier sent a critic along to report on the occasion, and he was duly impressed. 

He did not attend the matinee of Lucia, and the Advertiser and Press & Journal ignored both Saturday performances.


Dundee Courier & Argus: Monday, 31 October, 1910   (p4)

Italian Opera in Dundee - Lucia di Lammermoor and Faust

'On Saturday the engagement of the Castellano Italian Grand Opera Company at Her Majesty’s Theatre finished with performances of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Gounod’s Faust.

'The audiences at both the matinee and evening performances were fairly large.  The evening production of Faust was notable for three specially interesting performances in the roles of Margherita, Valentino, and Mefistofele respectively.

'As Margherita, Signora Licette, the delightful Micaëla of Thursday evening’s Carmen, appeared, and gave a performance of much charm.  Her fresh, sweet voice told beautifully in most of the music if it was not quite brilliant enough for the Jewel Song, and her acting was appropriately simple and refined.  Signor Vail lent importance by his presence to the heroic part of Valentino, and “Even bravest hearts” and the death scene were magnificently sung.  Signor Vittori was capital as Mefistofele, whom he made a good-humoured cynic rather than a cold-blooded devil.  His singing was marked by splendid fulness of tone and crispness, and the Calf of Gold song was thoroughly effective.

'At the end of the third act Mr Karpe appeared on the stage, and on behalf of the manager of the company thanked the public for their support, and especially those whom he had seen at every performance.  Mr Karpe referred to the somewhat indifferent business that had been done, particularly in the popular parts of the house, and expressed the hope that if the company returned to Dundee there would not be so many vacant seats.  Mr Karpe also, on behalf of the management, thanked the press for the way in which they had noticed the various performances.

'The Castellano Company bring no scenery with them.  Every opera therefore last week was staged out of the stock scenery of Her Majesty’s, and the result was highly creditable.


Note: In May 1931, the Courier obituary of James Buchan, its music and theatre critic from 1885 to 1925, includes the following: - “One of his notable discoveries was Miss Miriam Licette, now the Covent Garden star.  Some twenty years ago she appeared in Her  Majesty’s Theatre, Dundee, in a small part in Carmen.  Her performance caught the appreciative eye of Mr Buchan, and as a result of what he wrote Miss Licette was given the part of Marguerite in Faust, which was staged on the Saturday night.  This was the beginning of her great success.”

Performance Cast

Faust a learned doctor

Signor Romani (Oct 22 e; 29 e)

Méphistophélès the devil

Signor Vittori (Oct 22 e; 29 e)

Valentin Marguerite's brother

Signor Vail (Oct 22 e; 29 e)

Wagner a student of Dr Faust

Signor Quintina (Oct 22 e)


Signora Defral (Oct 22 e)

Miriam Licette (Oct 29 e)

Siébel a student of Dr Faust, in love with Marguerite

Signora Rocco (Oct 22 e; 29 e)

Marthe a neighbour

Signora Cavezzano (Oct 22 e)

Performance DatesFaust 1910

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

22 Oct, 19.30

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

29 Oct, 19.30

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