Opera Scotland

Lily of Killarney 1920O'Mara Grand Opera Company

Read more about the opera Lily of Killarney

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 timings given in the programmes were 60, 45 and 35 minutes for the three acts, with two intervals of 15 and 10 minutes. The total performance was therefore 2 hours 45 minutes.

Cast details for 21 April and 4 December are from programmes in Aberdeen City Library.

Performance Cast

Eily O'Connor the Colleen Bawn

Florence Morden (Apr 21)

Eveline Birks (Dec 4)

Hardress Cregan secretly married to Eily

Albert Hallett (Apr 21)

Lyon Mackie (Dec 4)

Mrs Cregan Hardress's mother

Florence Cahill (Apr 21)

Edna Penville (Dec 4)

Squire Corrigan holder of a mortgage on the Cregan lands

William Bowring

Myles na Coppaleen in love with Eily

Joseph O'Mara

Danny Mann a boatman, devoted to Hardress

John Olivere

Miss Ann Chute an heiress, the Colleen Rhud

Enid Birkenhead


Maud Baker (Apr 21)

Miss Davis (Dec 4)

Father Tom Parish Priest of Kenmare

John C Browner

Mr Bertie O'Moore

Mr A Locker (Apr 21)

Robert Brookes (Dec 4)

Hyland Creagh

Thomas J Bevan

Performance DatesLily of Killarney 1920

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

21 Apr, 19.30 4 Dec, 19.30

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