Opera Scotland

Lucrezia Borgia 1859Edmund Glover's Italian Opera Company

Read more about the opera Lucrezia Borgia

This  two week long visit by an Italian Opera Company from Drury Lane, under the management of Edmund Glover, introduced the great dramatic soprano Therese Tietjens (whose surname was generally spelt as Titiens) to Scotland. It is perhaps no surprise that the visit was restricted to the central belt. However the opening night was not in Edinburgh nor in Glasgow, but in Greenock - a thriving seaport a few miles closer to the mouth of the Clyde, where a new Theatre Royal had just opened.

The single performance in Greenock was followed by five in Glasgow and three in Edinburgh. The final day in Glasgow also featured a matinee concert.

The schedule of operas was:-

Greenock Theatre Royal - Mon 24 Oct Il trovatore.

Glasgow Theatre Royal - Tue 25 Oct Il trovatore; Wed 26 Oct Martha; Fri 28 Oct Lucrezia Borgia; Sat 29 Oct Norma; Mon 31 Oct Les Huguenots.

Edinburgh Queen's Theatre - Tue 1 Nov Lucrezia Borgia; Thu 3 Nov Martha; Fri 4 Nov Les Huguenots.

The Glasgow Herald greeted Lucrezia Borgia with enthusiasm, particular admiring the performance of the title role.- 'The character of Lucrezia, imperious and haughty, cruel and malignant, yet bound by inexplicable ties of affection to her son, was very ably sustained by Mdlle Titiens, of whose representation we cannot speak too highly. With a commanding figure, faultless action, and a voice combining great compass and peculiar sweetness, she was able to depict the conflicting passions which tortured the breast of the Duchess with almost unexampled effect.'

She was not alone however.- 'Gennaro, her son, was well rendered by Signor Giuglini, whose fine tenor voice was especially adapted to the part. The closing scene of the second act, beginning ''M'odi, ah m'odi',' in which Lucrezia vainly beseeches her son to take the antidote against the poison which she had unwittingly administered to him, was most impressively represented.'

'Madame Borchardt, as Maffio Orsini, was very favourably received, and sustained her part with considerable energy. Her rendering of the favourite song, ''Il segreto per esser felice,'' was exceedingly good. The Duke Alphonso was well personated by Signor Vialetti...The other characters were creditably sustained, and the principal performers were frequently called before the curtain.'

The Edinburgh visit opened with Lucrezia Borgia, and the Caledonian Mercury the following morning was also impressed, describing. the work as 'one of the most skilfully constructed and most dramatic compositions in the whole range of modern opera.'......'The most thrillingly dramatic situations - are those in which Lucrezia's maternal feelings are appealed to by the circumstances of danger in which her unknown son Gennaro is placed.'

'Mdlle Titiens' entry on the stage was the signal for very marked applause, although she was previously an entire stranger to the Edinburgh public, except from the celebrity she has acquired on the Continent and in the English metropolis.'.........'Mdlle Titiens personated Lucrezia with energy and fidelity, her tall, commanding figure and striking features being admirably adapted to the character, and her rich soprano voice, which possesses in no ordinary degree the qualities of power and flexibility, was displayed to advantage in the progress of the piece.'

'The clear, silvery tones of Signor Giuglini added a new charm to the simple, but beautiful air, 'Di pescatore ignobile,''every note of which was distinctly vocalised. Signor Vialetti sang and acted with excellent taste in the character of the jealous Duke. At the conclusion of each act, Signor Giuglini and Mdlle Titiens were called before the curtain, and the fair prima donna rewarded with a shower of bouquets.'

Performance Cast

Maffio Orsini friend of Gennaro

Madame Borchardt

Gennaro Lucrezia's son, raised in secret

Antonio Giuglini

Donna Lucrezia Borgia

Therese Tietjens

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

Signor Vialetti

Production Cast


Luigi Arditi

Performance DatesLucrezia Borgia 1859

Map List

Theatre Royal, Dunlop Street, Glasgow | Glasgow

28 Oct, 20.00

Queen's Theatre | Edinburgh

1 Nov, 20.00

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