Opera Scotland

Tannhäuser 1920O'Mara Grand Opera Company

Read more about the opera Tannhäuser

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 timings as follows - three acts of 50, 55 and 40 minutes, with two intervals each of ten minutes. Total duration of the performance was therefore 2 hours 45 minutes.

Cast details for 20 April and 27 November are from programmes in Aberdeen City Library.

Performance Cast


Ella Doran

Tannhäuser a knight and minnesinger

John Pegg

Shepherd boy

Miss Fordram (Apr 20)

Enid Birkenhead (Nov 27)

Wolfram von Eschenbach a knight and minnesinger

Alan Turner (Apr 20)

John Olivere (Nov 27)

Hermann Landgrave of Thuringia

Joseph Griffin

Walther von der Vogelweide a knight and minnesinger

Mr A Locker (Apr 20)

John C Jenkins (Nov 27)

Heinrich der Schreiber a knight and minnesinger

Frank Clarke

Biterolf a knight and minnesinger

Thomas J Bevan (Apr 20)

Wilfred Davis (Nov 27)

Reinmar von Zweter a knight and minnesinger

William Bowring (Apr 20)

David Evans (Nov 27)

Elisabeth niece of the Landgrave

Dorothy Phillips (Apr 20)

Florence Morden (Nov 27)

Performance DatesTannhäuser 1920

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

20 Apr, 19.30 27 Nov, 19.30

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