Opera Scotland

Pagliacci 1954Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Pagliacci

The reviewer in the Aberdeen Evening Express (1 April) stated that there was no lack of convincing acting to add to the fine staging. "The gem of the evening was Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, which requires acting ability of no mean standard if the heavy emotion is not to be unnatural, in addition to good vocalisation.  As the heartbroken Canio and Silvio, John Myrrdin and John Heddle Nash gave memorable performances.  John Myrrdin deserved the enthusiastic response he got for 'On with the Motley'. He lost no opportunity to put over the pathos and tragedy of his part, in voice and gesture.  Nedda, sung by Odette Ansell, had all the charm and appeal required. The play within the play in the second act was a delight, due to the atmosphere cleverly created by Mr Myrrdin and Miss Ansell...there was a fine balance between singers and the orchestra, which was conducted by Maurits Sillem."

The reviewer in the Glasgow Herald (15 March) argued the double bill (with Cavalleria Rusticana) showed "Carl Rosa at their best". 

"The frank emotionalism of these operas, paradoxically enough seemed to be more congenial to this British company than the rather more restrained brand required for, say, Traviata.  With fine, appropriately robust singing and acting which was never allowed to degenerate into mere antic the players conveyed the full impact of the plots in  most convincing manner.  If, among the principals, Frank Sale carried off the honours of the evening in the role of Canio-Pagliaccio, the others were very little behind him in the standard of their performances.  Both chorus and orchestra - directed by Arthur Hammond in Cav and Maurits Sillem in Pag - were in excellent form, only an occasional lack of co-ordination marring their work."

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.  

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.

The full 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.

The cast for 31 March is from a programme in Aberdeen City Library.

Performance Cast

Tonio a player

Joseph Satariano

Canio leader of the players

John Myrddin

Nedda Canio's wife

Odette Ansell

Silvio a villager

John Heddle Nash

Beppe a player

David Lewis

Performance DatesPagliacci 1954

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

13 Mar, 19.00 22 Mar, 19.00

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

31 Mar, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

10 Apr, 19.30 16 Apr, 19.30

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