Opera Scotland

Carmen 1954Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Carmen

The review in the Glasgow Herald (13 March) said "Without going into raptures over the production, it can be said that it showed a considerable improvement on previous productions, an improvement that stemmed in the main from Arthur Hammond's firmer control of the orchestra, whose new-found restraint allowed one to hear what was happening on the stage. Last night though that was by no means an unmixed blessing, as when for example, Don José (George Chitty) decided to fly wildly off the handle in terms of pitch. Apart from the wobble which seems to afflict most singers nowadays, there was some pleasing work from the principals... If the production started off rathe rtamely, it did at least warm up at times to a pitch of modified abandon. The sets and costmes were always effective, and, as in the 'mountain' scene, even striking."

The Carl Rosa's six-week 1954 Scottish tour began on 8th March with a three week stay in Glasgow, always one of its favourite dates. This was followed by a week in Aberdeen, from 29th March, and two in Edinburgh from 5th April. The repertoire was much as before, as the company, with no public subsidy, needed to generate all its income from ticket sales and minimize risk. Operas performed during the tour were by Gounod (Faust); (Bizet (Carmen); Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann); Wagner (Tannhäuser); Verdi (Trovatore, Traviata); Puccini (Bohème, Butterfly); Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana); Leoncavallo (Pagliacci).

The programme for the final Glasgow week was: Mon Cav & Pag; Tue Traviata; Wed Hoffmann; Thu Tannhäuser; Fri Faust; Sat mat Bohème; Sat eve Carmen. After Bohème at the Saturday matinee, it will have come as no surprise for regular Carl Rosa audience members to find Carmen in the evening, bringing the three week season to an end.

This was the company's final appearance in Aberdeen, where the repertoire was Mon Hoffmann; Tue Carmen; Wed Cav & Pag; Thu Faust; Fri Tannhäuser; Sat mat Butterfly; Sat eve Trovatore.

Carl Rosa Opera's six-week 1954 Scottish tour began on 8 March with a three week stay in Glasgow, always one of its favourite dates. This was followed by a week in Aberdeen (the last visit by the company), from 29 March, and two in Edinburgh from 5 April

The tour schedule was as follows:-

Glasgow w/c 8 Mar: Mon Tales of Hoffmann; Tue Bohème; Wed Barber of Seville; Thu Traviata; Fri Carmen; Sat m Butterfly; Sat e Cav & Pag.

Glasgow w/c 15 Mar: Mon Rigoletto; Tue Tales of Hoffmann; WEd Bohème; Thu Barber of Seville; Fri Traviata; Sat m Carmen; Sat e Butterfly.

Glasgow w/c 22 Mar: Mon Cav & Pag; Tue Traviata; Wed Tales of Hoffmann; Thu Tannhäuser; Fri Faust; Sat m Bohème; Sat e Carmen.

Aberdeen w/c 29 Mar 7.30: Mon Tales of Hoffmann; Tue Carmen; Wed Cav & Pag; Thu Faust; Fri 7.00 Tannhäuser; Sat m 2,30 Butterfly; Sat e Trovatore.

Edinburgh w/c 5 Apr 7.30: Mon Traviata; Tue Bohème; Wed Traviata; Thu Rigoletto; Fri Tannhäuser; Sat m 2.30 Butterfly; Sat e Cav & Pag.

Edinburgh w/c 12 Apr: Mon Carmen; Tue Faust; Wed Trovatore; Thu Tales of Hoffmann; Fri Cav & Pag; Sat m Bohème; Sat e Traviata.

Cast details for 27 March are from OperaScotland's copy of the day's programme. Those for 30 March are from a programme in Aberdeen City Library.

Performance Cast

Moralès a corporal of dragoons

John Heddle Nash

Micaëla a peasant girl

Una Hale

Don José a corporal of dragoons

George Chitty (Mar 27)

Ivan Dixon (Mar 30)

Zuniga a lieutenant of dragoons

Richard Golding

Carmen a gypsy

Gita Denise

Frasquita a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Muriel Whone (Mar 27)

Edna Graham (Mar 30)

Mercédès a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Pauline Allen

Lillas Pastia an innkeeper

James Shuker

Escamillo a toreador

Arthur Copley

Dancaïre a smuggler

Frederick Wood

Remendado a smuggler

David Lewis


Peter Harrison


Joan Weston

Performance DatesCarmen 1954

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

12 Mar, 19.00 20 Mar, 14.30 27 Mar, 19.00

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

30 Mar, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

12 Apr, 00.00

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