Opera Scotland

Lustigen Weiber von Windsor 1912Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Merry Wives of Windsor

This was a revival of the old staging last brought to the central belt, but no further, in 1905.  Apart from Arthur Winckworth in the title role, only Frederick Clendon of the 1905 principals remained,   Merry Wives had received its Scottish premiere by the Carl Rosa in Aberdeen in 1894.

The schedule for the Aberdeen visit commencing 29 January was: Mon Mignon; Tue 30 Tannhäuser; Wed 31 Merry Wives of Windsor; Thu 1 Feb Faust; Fri 2 Queen of Sheba; Sat 3 mat Carmen; Sat 3 eve Il trovatore. The company moved south to Dundee the following week, with the same operas, though played in a different order. The one exception was Merry Wives, which was replaced by Cav & Pag. Having brought it back now, it seems strange that they should not have taken it to Dundee as well, but Cav & Pag also needed to be kept fresh with the occasional performance, and would inevitably fill the theatre.


The Northern View

Aberdeen Press & Journal:  Thursday, 1 February 1912  (p4)

Carl Rosa Company - Merry Wives of Windsor

'From the performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor given last at His Majesty's Theatre,  it is clear that the Carl Rosa Company are seen to the best advantage in the lighter rather than in the heavier work.  The cast for this opera was undoubtedly the strongest which has so far appeared,  and every artiste took full advantage of the opportunities offered.  On the whole, the score may be styled a straightforward one, and the Wagnerian strain on those taking ppart in it is absent.

'The Merry Wives of Windsor was composed by Nicolai at a time when the lighter form of opera was beginning to come very much to the front in popular favour, and in style it is ranked as an amalgam of the writings of Verdi and Gounod.  The music, if of rather an obvious nature, yet is always effective and tuneful.  The Merry Wives, therefore, constitutes one of the most delightful operas of the lighter school.

'The cast, as already indicated, is a strong one.  The honours of the evening, however, were again carried off by Mr Arthur Winckworth, whose characterisation of Sir John Falstaff was in every way excellent.  In Mr Winckworth the Carl Rosa Company have a specially valuable and versatile member.  His 'Wandering Minstrel' in Mignon on Monday evening was conspicuous;  His performance formed one of the few redeeming points in Tannhäuser on Tuesday night;  and last night as Falstaff he maerially helped to make the representation of the Merry Wives of Windsor, after a long lapse of years, a most pleasing feature of the operatic week.  Mr Winckworth has a voice of wide compass, ranging from the bass low D to the double F without any apparent exertion on his part, and his drinking song at the opening of the Second Act was a piece of vocalisation equalled only by the Buffo Duet with Ford later on and both called borth the enthusiastic plaudits of a delighted house.  Dramatically he is also strong.

'The part of Mrs Ford, though seldom exacting, requires careful attention and a skilful executant, and it was ably filled by Miss Beatrice Miranda.  Miss Miranda gave evidence of a voice of no ordinary calibre, and displayed considerable ingenuity and tact in a part which excess in any direction would have marred.  The less grateful part of her ''sister conspirator,'' Mrs Page, was in the capable hands of Miss Claude Allbright, who both vocally and otherwise was at all times adequate.

'A performance of fine charm and daintiness was that of Ann Page, the love-lorn maid, by Miss Madoline Spicer.  Miss Spicer, who is a complete Stranger to Aberdeen, although suffering from a slight nervousness,  which resulted at times in a tendency toward flatness in her top notes,  has a voice of rare purity and tone, and one in which great possibilities seem to lie.  Her delivery of the recitative and air ''I will not break my flight,'' was one of the features of the evening's performance.

'M Felix Fleischer, who comes from the Stadt Theatre, Bremen, as Mr Ford,  contributed to the success of the opera mainly through the medium of a vocal capacity characterised by remarkable accuracy of technique.  Histrionically he was at times lacking in restraint,  but his interview with Falstaff in the Garter Inn was finely crried through, as was his interpretation of the duet in the same scene.  Mr Frederick Clendon, in the part of Mr Page, which he took rather seriously, showed that he had a voice of depth and tone.  Mr Charles Neville, who played Fenton, was seriously handicapped by a very severe cold, and in the rather grotesque parts of Dr Caius and Master Slender respectively Mr Miller Reid and Mr William O'Connor acquitted themselves in a perfectly satisfactory manner.

'The orchestra, under the direction of Mr Walter Van Noorden, again, most satisfactorily carried out its work.   The unevenness so plainly evident in the strings earlier in the week is now only very occasionally noticeable.  The overture was magnificently played, and the accompaniments, now that the acoustic proportions of the house have been more correctly gauged, were admirable.

'The chorus work reached a high level;  and the mounting and dressing of the Forest scene amply compensated for any defects noticeable in the earlier stages of the production, from a scenic point of view.

'Mr E C Hedmondt, who is already well known to Aberdonians,  will appear in the title role of Faust to-night.'


An Edinburgh Perspective

Scotsman:  Friday, 23 February 1912  (p6)

The Carl Rosa Opera Company

'If British poverty in the domain of grand opera is revealed by the repertory of the Carl Rosa Opera company, it is to some extent compensated for by the splendid subject provided in the Merry Wives of Windsor,  Nicolai's popular musical presentation of the Shakesperean theme.  The opera appears only once in the programme of the company during the present visit, and its performance at the King's theatre last night served to display the talent and resource of its members in the highest degree.  The humour and phantasy of the sparkling comedy drama were well realised; and the staging and accessories were in keeping with the standard set.

'A strong cast undertook the work of the evening.  The Sir John Falstaff of Arthur Winckworth is one of his best conceptions;  vocally and dramatically he was quite equal to its demands, and his performance was cordially approved by the audience.   Miss Elizabeth Burgess gave a meritorious rendering of the gay and scheming Mrs Ford.  She sang exceedingly well throughout the evening, and her acting was spirited and entertaining.  She was excellently supported by Miss Phyllis Archibald as Mrs Page.  Their opening duet was one of the points of the evening.  The part of Ann Page was charmingly portrayed by Miss Ina Hill;  she  and Mr Gordon Thomas (as Fenton) made an admirable pair of lovers.  Both have fresh, tuneful voices, and their singing was most agreeable.  In the rôle of the jealous Mr Ford, Mr Felix Fleischer made an excellent impression, and Mr Frederick Clendon was equally commendable as Mr Page.  The Dr Caius of Mr Miller Reid, and the Master Slender of Mr William O'Connor were both clever assumptions.

'Mr Walter van Noorden conducted, and under his baton the bright music was excellently rendered. Mention may be made of the fine setting of the Windsor Forest by midnight, of the sound work of the chorus, and of the efficiency of the ballet.  Mignon will be given to-night.



The schedule for the Aberdeen visit commencing 29 January was: Mon Mignon; Tue Tannhäuser; Wed Merry Wives of Windsor; Thu Faust; Fri Queen of Sheba; Sat mat Carmen; Sat eve Il trovatore. The company moved south to Dundee the following week, with the same operas, though played in a different order. The one exception was Merry Wives, which was replaced by Cav & Pag. Having brought it back now, it seems strange that they should not have taken it to Dundee as well, but Cav & Pag also needed to be kept fresh with the occasional performance, and would inevitably fill the theatre.

This cast for 31 January is from a programme in the Aberdeen City Library.


The Carl Rosa Scottish Tour - 1912

The tour lasted seven weeks:  Aberdeen 1 week (His Majesty's);  Dundee 1 week (Her Majesty's); Edinburgh 2 weeks (King's);  Greenock 1 week (King's);  Glasgow 2 weeks (Theatre Royal).

The thirteen operas performed were: Benedict (Lily of Killarney);  Nicolai (Merry Wives of Windsor); Thomas (Mignon);  Wallace (Maritana); Wagner (Tannhäuser,  Lohengrin);  Verdi (Trovatore); Gounod (Faust);  Goldmark (Queen of Sheba);  Bizet (Carmen);  Boito (Mefistofele); Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana).

The performance schedule was as follows

Aberdeen, w/c 29 January:  Mon 29 Mignon;  Tue 30 Tannhäuser; Wed 31 The Merry Wives of Windsor; Thu 1 Feb Faust; Fri 2 The Queen of Sheba; Sat 3 m Carmen;  Sat 3 e Il trovatore.

Dundee, w/c  5 February:  Mon 5 Mignon;  Tue 6 Faust;  Wed 7 Carmen;  Thu 8 Cav & Pag;  Fri 9 Queen of Sheba;  Sat 10 m Tannhäuser;  Sat 10 e Trovatore

Edinburgh, w/c 12 February:  Mon 12 Mignon;  Tue 13 Carmen;  Wed 14 Trovatore;  Thu 15 Lohengrin;  Fri 16 Queen of Sheba;  Sat 17 m Tannhäuser;  Sat 17 e Faust.

Edinburgh, w/c 19 February:  Mon 19 Cav & Pag;  Tue 20 Mefistofele;  Wed 21 Lily of Killarney;  Thu 22 Merry Wives of Windsor;  Fri 23 Mignon;  Sat 24 m Mefistofele;  Sat 24 e Maritana.

Greenock, w/c 26 February: Mon 26 tbc; Tue 27 tbc;  Wed 28 Trovatore;  Thu 29 Mignon;  Fri 1 March Mefistofele;  Sat 2 m tbc;  Sat 2 e Carmen.

Glasgow, w/c 4 March:  Mon 4 Tannhäuser;  Tue 5 Mefistofele;  Wed 6 Mignon;  Thu 7 Merry Wives of Windsor;  Fri 8 Lohengrin;  Sat 9 m Mefistofele;  Say 9 e Maritana.

Glasgow, w/c 11 March:  Mon 11 Cav & Pag;  Tue 12 Faust;  Wed 13  Queen of Sheba;  Thu 14 Mignon;  Fri 15 Mefistofele;  Sat 16 m Carmen;  Sat 16 e  Trovatore.

Performance Cast

Mrs Ford Frau Fluth, wife of Ford

Beatrice Miranda (Jan 31)

Elizabeth Burgess (Feb 22)

Mrs Page Frau Reich, wife of Page, Anne's mother

Claude Albright (Jan 31)

Phyllis Archibald (Feb 22)

Anne Page Jungfer Anna Reich, daughter of Page

Madoline Spicer (Jan 31)

Ina Hill (Feb 22)

Fenton a young gentleman

Charles Neville (Jan 31)

Gordon Thomas (Feb 22)

Ford Herr Fluth, a Windsor merchant

Felix Fleischer (Jan 31; Feb 22)

Page Herr Reich, a Windsor merchant

Frederick Clendon (Jan 31; Feb 22)

Slender Junker Spärlich, an elderly gentleman

William O'Connor (Jan 31; Feb 22)

Dr Caius a French gentleman

Miller Reid (Jan 31; Feb 22)


Tom Hamilton (Jan 31)

Sir John Falstaff a knight

Arthur Winckworth (Jan 31; Feb 22)

Host of the 'Garter Inn'

Albert Fenton (Jan 31)

First Citizen

Beulah Coe (Jan 31)

Second Citizen

Leslie Austin (Jan 31)

Third Citizen

Robert Brookes (Jan 31)

Performance DatesLustigen Weiber von Windsor 1912

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

31 Jan, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

22 Feb, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

7 Mar, 19.30

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