Opera Scotland

Bohème 1954Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company

Read more about the opera Bohème

Eugene Iskoldoff's Italian touring company under the artistic direction of Fausto de Tura began its annual visit to Scotland. The repertoire included three firm audience favourites in La bohème, Il trovatore and La traviata, but there were also two real rareties at that time, in L'elisir d'amore and Manon. There were many things to criticize - the sets and costumes were makeshift, the orchestra, recruited from the pool of London freelancers, was small, and of mediocre quality. The stage direction was also conspicuous for its absence. Yet there is still a sense of enjoyment from some of the contemporary reports. Of course, so many audience members will have come to enjoy Italian opera while on military service during the war - a legacy that helped boost a lasting love for the art.

The Scottish leg began in Glasgow with what would appear to have been a routine Bohème. However Mimì is sung by the highly regarded lyric soprano Margherita Carosio, who had first appeared at Covent Garden as long ago as 1929, and was now reaching the end of her career. She apparently looked as charming as ever, and still sang quite nicely. By contrast, the young baritone Guido Mazzini was at the start of a notable career that would keep him busy at the major Italian houses. He returned to Scotland for an Edinburgh Festival appearance with the Palermo company in 1972. Other members of the ensemble included the tenor Pier Miranda Ferraro, later an Otello with Scottish Opera, and the British-Russian soprano Kyra Vayne, who had a prominent stage career in the fifties.

The company visited the Theatre Royal Glasgow (two weeks), His Majesty's Aberdeen and King's Edinburgh (one week each). Performances were as follows:

Gla w/c 11 Oct: Mon Bohème, Tue Elisir d'amore, Wed mat Bohème, Wed eve Trovatore, Thu Elisir d'amore, Fri Manon, Sat mat Trovatore, Sat eve Traviata.

Gla w/c 18 Oct: to be confirmed (Thu 22 Oct was L'Elisir d'amore).

Abn w/c 25 Oct: Mon Manon, Tue Trovatore, Wed mat Elisir d'amore, Wed eve Bohème, Thu Traviata, Fri Traviata, Sat mat Trovatore, Sat eve Bohème.

Edi w/c 1 Nov: Mon Manon, Tue Trovatore, Wed mat Elisir d'amore, Wed eve Bohème, Thu Manon, Fri Traviata, Sat mat Trovatore, Sat eve Bohème.

The company principals were listed as follows: Margherita Carosio (Mimì, Manon); Kyra Vayne (Violetta, Leonora); Jeda Valtriani (Adina); Marcella de Grandis (Musetta); Vera Magrini (Mimì, Leonora); Piero (sic) Miranda Ferraro (Manrico); Carlo Zampighi (des Grieux, Nemorino); Francesco Bandera (Alfredo); Ermanno Lorenzi (Rodolfo, Nemorino); Giulio Mastrangelo (di Luna, Germont) and Maria Teresa Bertasi, Edgardo di Stasio, Enrico Formichi, Arturo la Porta, Guido Mazzini, Giorgio Onesti and Paola Stacchini. 

Details are taken from Opera magazine and a copy of the programme for 11 October.

Performance Cast

Rodolfo a poet

Ermanno Lorenzi

Marcello a painter

Guido Mazzini

Colline a philosopher

Edgardo di Stasio

Schaunard a musician

Arturo La Porta

Benoit the students' landlord

Salvatore de Tommaso

Mimì a seamstress

Margherita Carosio (Oct 11)

Vera Magrini

Musetta a grisette

Marcella de Grandis

Alcindoro a wealthy follower of Musetta

Ezio Boschi

Performance DatesBohème 1954

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

11 Oct, 19.30 13 Oct, 14.30

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

27 Oct, 19.30 30 Oct, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

3 Nov, 19.30 6 Nov, 19.30

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