Opera Scotland

Lucrezia Borgia 1849Italian Operatic Company

Read more about the opera Lucrezia Borgia

The late summer of 1849 saw a Scottish visit by what was billed as the Italian Operatic Company. The tour took in the Theatres Royal in Edinburgh (two weeks) and Glasgow (four), generally performing on three nights of the week.

The repertoire was chosen from major works of Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini that are once again familiar today, even if they largely disappeared from sight for an intervening century.

In Edinburgh, prices of admission were: Boxes, 5s; Pit, 3s; Lower Gallery, 2s; Upper Gallery, 1s. No Second Price (i.e. no discounts for people arriving when the show was under way).

The following information is compiled from advertisements and reviews in various editions of theCaledonian Mercury and The Scotsman (for Edinburgh) with the Glasgow Gazette and Glasgow Herald.

The leading soprano, Signora Montenegro, was  billed as 'of La Scala Milan, Vienna, all the Italian Operas, and her Majesty's Theatre, London'. The other ladies were advertised as Madlle Montelli, from the Opera, Amsterdam and Madame Vittorio, from the Opera, Amsterdam.

The gentlemen were Signor Santiago, of the Academie Royale, Paris; Signor Montelli, from the San Carlo, Naples; Signor Bailini, of the Opera, Turin; Signor Vittorio, of the Opera, Amsterdam; and Signor Tommaso, from the Royal Opera, St Petersburgh.

The conductor was Monsieur A Hennin. The orchestra was recruited locally, larger than the theatre's usual band, and was led by Mr A Mackenzie, an excellent local violinist, whose son grew up to become a highly noted composer, Sir Alexander Mackenzie.

The performance schedule for the Edinburgh stay was: Tue Aug 21 Norma; Thu Aug 23 Lucia di Lammermoor; Sat Aug 25 Il barbiere di Siviglia; Tue Aug 28 Lucrezia Borgia; Thu Aug 30 L'elisir d'amoreand last act of La Favorite; Sat Sep 1 La sonnambula.

The Glasgow schedule ran thus: Tue Sep 4 Norma, Thu Sep 6 Lucrezia Borgia; Sat Sep 8 Lucia di Lammermoor; Mon Sep 10 L'elisir d'amore and last act of La Favorite; Wed Sep 12 no perf; Fri Sep 14no perf; Mon Sep 17 Lucrezia Borgia; Wed Sep 19 Norma; Fri Sep 21 tbc; Mon Sep 24 La sonnambula; Wed Sep 26 Don Pasquale; Sat Sep 29 tbc.

On Monday, 10 September, the Glasgow Herald enthused - 'On to the end of the introduction the interest becomes more and more intense, and with it rose up the great skill of Signora Montenegro. This, so to speak, the end of the the first act, closed with a brilliant quintette, in which the crimes of Lucrezia are all ennumerated to Gennaro, and unmasking her, the Borgia is discovered. It is impossible to describe the manner in which the Prima Donna went through this scene. Her singing was all that could be desired, and her dramatic power was felt by every one in the house; so much so indeed that she was called before the curtain, and bowing her thanks, received clamorous proofs of the delight which her powers had conferred.'..........'a finely concerted trio between Duc Alphonso, Gennaro and Lucrezia Borgia, again drew forth the applause of the audience, and was encored.'

Later - 'The next part of this opera worthy of notice was the festive scene at night in the square of Ferrara, where Gennaro and his friends are enjoying themselves, and speaking in praise of various wines, and in which Maffio Orsini (Signora Montelli) sings the famous air Brindisi ''Il segreto per esser felice.'' But she is not qualified to bring out all the beauties of this joyous little song, nevertheless it took amazingly, and she was encored.'.........'In this opera Signor Montelli appeared to great advantage. His voice is a baritone of considerable volume and extent, though his dramatic talent has not been so well tutored as his voice. The choral and orchestral performances were better than on the first evening.'

Performance Cast

Maffio Orsini friend of Gennaro

Madlle Montelli

Oloferno Vitellozzo friend of Gennaro

Signor Tommaso

Gubetta secret agent to Lucrezia Borgia

Signor Bailini

Gennaro Lucrezia's son, raised in secret

Signor Santiago

Astolfo servant to Lucrezia

Signor Vittorio

Donna Lucrezia Borgia

Signora Montenegro

Don Alfonso d'Este Duke of Ferrara, Lucrezia's fourth husband

Signor Montelli

Rustighello servant to Duke Alfonso

Signor Straleschi

Principessa Negroni friend of Lucrezia

Madame Vittorio

Production Cast


Mons A Hennin

Performance DatesLucrezia Borgia 1849

Map List

Theatre Royal, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

28 Aug, 20.00

Theatre Royal, Dunlop Street, Glasgow | Glasgow

6 Sep, 20.00 17 Sep, 20.00

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