Opera Scotland

Barbiere di Siviglia 1948Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Barber of Seville

The Scotsman review (3 April) said the company were in the best of form: "there was not a weak link...as Figaro, Arthur Fear was excellent in every way. He sang and acted with gusto, and from his first entry gave the audience complete confidence in his ability to carry off the part successfully.

"This was a performance of style and personality. Barbara Howett made an attractive and vocally pleasing Rosina; Gwent Lewis, who has a tenor voice of light quality but admirable purity was a nimble and effective Count Almaviva, and Hubert Dunkerly and Norman Allin were portentously amusing in the buffo roles."

The whole cast, both individually and in the marvellously effective set ensembles, entered into the spirit of the opera with remarkable zest."

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this cast is a very early appearance by Scottish chorister Harold Blackburn in a small solo role. Later in his career he must have given dozens of performances with Sadler's Wells as Don Basilio.


Cast details for The Barber of Seville on this tour are taken from a programme for Friday 24 April (which also covers the following day's matinee of Madam Butterfly). This programme is in the Gardiner Collection (Mitchell Library). 

The Carl Rosa 1948 tour

That year's tour involved two weeks in Edinburgh, then one in Aberdeen and four Glasgow; seven weeks of seven performances each week. The repertoire consisted of works by Rossini (Barber of Seville); Verdi (Trovatore, Traviata); Puccini (Bohème, Tosca, Butterfly) and Bizet (Carmen)

w/c Mon 29 Mar Carmen; Tue Traviata; Wed Tosca; Thu Butterfly; Fri Barber; Sat m Bohème; Sat e Carmen

w/c Mon 5 Apr Butterfly; Tue Carmen; Wed Bohème; Thu Barber; Fri Trovatore; Sat m Butterfly; Sat e Traviata.

w/c Mon 12 Apr Tosca; Tue Bohème; Wed Traviata; Thu Butterfly; Fri Carmen; Sat m Butterfly; Sat e Trovatore.

w/c Mon 19 Apr Tosca; Tue Butterfly; Wed Traviata; Thu Carmen; Fri Barber; Sat m Butterfly; Sat e Traviata.

w/c Mon 26 Apr Traviata; Tue Carmen; Wed Bohème; Thu Barber; Fri Tosca; Sat m Bohème; Sat e Traviata.

w/c Mon 3 May Butterfly; Tue Traviata; Wed Barber; Thu Tosca; Fri Traviata; Sat m Carmen; Sat e Barber.

w/c Mon 10 May Bohème; Tue Tosca; Wed Butterfly; Thu Carmen; Fri Barber; Sat m Butterfly; Sat e Traviata.

Performance Cast

Fiorello servant of the Count

Charles Miller

Count Almaviva a young nobleman

Gwent Lewis

Figaro a barber

Arthur Fear

Rosina Bartolo's ward

Barbara Howitt

Bartolo a doctor, Rosina's guardian

Hubert Dunkerley

Ambrogio Bartolo's servant

Harold Blackburn

Berta Bartolo's housekeeper

Mary Canning

Don Basilio a singing teacher

Norman Allin


Frederick Wood

Performance DatesBarbiere di Siviglia 1948

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

2 Apr, 19.15 8 Apr, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

23 Apr, 19.15 29 Apr, 19.15 5 May, 19.15 8 May, 19.15 14 May, 19.15

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