Opera Scotland

Bohème 1951Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Bohème

The Carl Rosa week in Aberdeen, commencing Monday 30 April, contained one relative novelty by Wagner, but was otherwise much as usual. The conductors Arthur Hammond and Maurits Sillem would also remain fixtures for several years.

On this occasion the Chorus Master was Alexander Faris, the Repetiteur Edward Downes. Maybe these two would rarely be seen in Scotland, but they certainly had prominent careers elsewhere.

A review in the Aberdeen Evening Express (3 May) directed criticism at the audience,

'"whose enthusiasm was inclined to get out of hand. Familiarity with one or two of the more popular arias produced the customary interruptions to the flow of the opera, but only unfamiliarity with the ending of the first act could be responsible for the much-too-previous outburst of applause which completely drowned out the glorious off-stage ending note. 

''Perhaps it might be more charitable to say that the performance itself was to blame. It wss musically thrilling, and it brought out all the sentiment of score and story.  

''Oreste Kirkop repeated his success of the previous night. He is a grand Rudolph, in voice and character, and in Elizabeth Theilmann, as Mimi, he had an opposite number who matched him all the way up and all the way down in power and quality. She acted well, too, throughout and was particularly good in the death-bed scene.

''For Sheila Hardy (sic) it was a big occasion. She was playing for the first time before her ain folk, a nerve-wracking ordeal which she tackled with skill. She showed a lively appreciation of the part, and she knows how to use her voice to effective purpose.

''With Redvers Llewellyn as Marcel, Frederick Wood as Schaunard and Donald Campbell as Colline, the standard was kept high.  Under Maurits Sillem's baton, the orchestra was also in the mood, and as has been indicated, the enthusiasm of the audience was never in doubt."

Cast details are from a programme in Aberdeen City Library, largely corroborrated by one in the Mitchell library.

Carl Rosa's Scottish schedule

The company performed for four weeks in Glasgow then one in Aberdeen. The final lap, of two weeks in Edinburgh, was cancelled due to structural work having to take place in the King’s Theatre.

The schedule was as follows:-

Glasgow, w/c 2 Apr: Mon Barber; Tue Butterfly; Wed Carmen; Thu Bohème; Fri Dutchman; Sat m Butterfly; Sat e Cav & Pag

Glasgow, w/c 9 Apr: Mon Rigoletto; Tue Traviata; Wed Bohème; Thu Faust; Fri Trovatore; Sat m Bohème; Sat e Carmen.

Glasgow, w/c 16 Apr: Mon Dutchman; Tue Bohème; Wed Rigoletto; Thu Butterfly; Fri Barber; Sat m Cav and Pag Sat e Traviata

Glasgow, w/c 23 Apr: Mon Cav & Pag; Tue Carmen; Wed Butterfly; Thu Traviata; Fri Faust; Sat m Barber; Sat e Trovatore.

Aberdeen, w/c 30 Apr: Mon Cav & Pag; Tue Rigoletto; Wed Bohème; Thu Carmen; Fri Dutchman; Sat m Butterfly; Sat e Barber.

Apart from Cav & Pag, nine operas were performed.

Performance Cast

Rodolfo a poet

Oreste Kirkop

Gwent Lewis (14 April)

Marcello a painter

Redvers Llewellyn

Schaunard a musician

Frederick Wood

Colline a philosopher

Donald Campbell

Ernest Thomas (14 April)

Benoit the students' landlord

Liddell Peddieson

Alcindoro a wealthy follower of Musetta

Hubert Dunkerley

Parpignol a toy vendor

David Lewis

Custom-house Sergeant

Eric Shepherd

Mimì a seamstress

Elizabeth Theilmann

Musetta a grisette

Una Hale (Exc 14 April, 2 May)

Sheila Hardie (14 April, 2 May)

Performance DatesBohème 1951

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

5 Apr, 19.15 11 Apr, 19.15 14 Apr, 14.00 17 Apr, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

2 May, 19.30

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