Opera Scotland

Bohème 1920O'Mara Grand Opera Company

Read more about the opera Bohème

The O'Mara company made two visits to Scotland in 1920, and Aberdeen received them for a fortnight in the spring and a further one in the autumn. The length of both these visits may have been due to the much-lamented closure of Her Majesty's Theatre in Dundee in 1919. It had been a regular date for O'Mara during the war years, but had just been acquired, in rather controversial fashion, by a London-based cinema chain. It would be a couple of years before the big Dundee variety house, the King's, was made available for opera. The people of the north were the gainers.

The Aberdeen schedules were:

Week commencing 19 April: Mon Bohème; Tue Tannhäuser; Wed Lily of Killarney; Thu Madam Butterfly; Fri Marriage of Figaro; Sat mat Traviata; Sat eve Faust.

Week commencing 26 April: Mon Samson and Delilah; Tue Un ballo in maschera; Wed Bohemian Girl; Thu Wally; Fri Manon Lescaut; Sat mat Faust; Sat eve Trovatore.

Week commencing 22 November: Mon Cav & Pag; Tue Bohème; Wed Maritana; Thu Faust; Fri Romeo and Juliet; Sat mat Rigoletto; Sat eve Tannhäuser.

Week commencing 29 November: Mon Lohengrin; Tue Samson and Delilah; Wed Puritan's Daughter; Thu Trovatore; Fri Seraglio; Sat mat Madam Butterfly; Sat eve Lily of Killarney.

This repertoire contains many of the standard favourites of the day - perhaps Carmen is the only obvious omission. There are several distinct novelties - not just Verdi (Un ballo in maschera), Gounod (Romeo and Juliet) or Puccini (Manon Lescaut) but also Catalani (La Wally) and even Balfe (The Puritan's Daughter). The fact that the little-known Mozart works, Figaro and Seraglio, were both scheduled for a Friday implies that the local orchestral players would need some extra rehearsals during the week.

The programme gives the duration of the performance of La bohème as 2 hours and 20 minutes. The four acts take 30, 30, 30 and 25 minutes respectively, while there are three intervals of 15, 10 and 10 minutes.

Cast details for 19 April and 23 November are from programmes in the collection of Aberdeen City Library. The tiny roles - Parpignol and the two guards - are not mentioned.

Performance Cast

Rodolfo a poet

Joseph O'Mara

Marcello a painter

John Olivere

Colline a philosopher

John C Browner (Apr 19)

Joseph Griffin (Nov 23)

Schaunard a musician

Wilfred Davis

Benoit the students' landlord

Mr Silverston (Apr 19)

Thomas J Bevan (Nov 23)

Mimì a seamstress

Dorothy Phillips (Apr 19)

Kathleen O'Dea (Nov 23)

Musetta a grisette

Eveline Birks

Alcindoro a wealthy follower of Musetta

Mr Silverston (Apr 19)

Thomas J Bevan (Nov 23)

Performance DatesBohème 1920

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

19 Apr, 19.30 23 Nov, 19.30

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