Opera Scotland

Puritani 1855Mr Wood's Edinburgh Italian Opera

Read more about the opera Puritani

I Puritani, new to the repertoire, was chosen to open this second season by the Italian Opera managed by Mr Wood, with many of the same soloists and works that had been seen in Edinburgh and Glasgow from late December 1853 through to March of 1854. This new operatic season lasted for ten weeks, the first six, from 22 January at Edinburgh Theatre Royal. The four Glasgow weeks, from 5 March, were at the Dunlop Street Theatre Royal. Each week saw four performances, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

The repertoire, nearly all sung in Italian, embraced Beethoven (Fidelio); Weber (Der Freischütz); Rossini (Semiramide Scottish premiere); Donizetti (Lucrezia Borgia, Lucia di Lammermoor); Bellini (Norma, I Puritani); Auber (Masaniello) and Meyerbeer (Robert le Diable Scottish premiere, Les Huguenots).  The final performance at each venue consisted of several acts from different operas - the final act of La Favorite, second of Fidelio and final three of Robert le Diable. The busy company also gave Wednesday evening recitals and sent out concert parties to the north, including Dundee and Aberdeen.

The Edinburgh schedule was: Mon 22 Jan Puritani, Tue 23 Lucrezia Borgia, Thu 25 Norma, Fri 26 Fidelio, Mon 29 Lucia, Tue 30 Puritani, Thu 1 Feb Robert le Diable, Fri 2 Freischütz, Mon 5 Robert le Diable, Tue 6 Lucrezia Borgia; Thu 8 Freischütz, Fri 9 Masaniello, Mon 12 Masaniello, Wed 14 Robert le Diable, Thu 15 Semiramide (postponed), Fri 16 Les Huguenots, Mon 19 Semiramide, Tue 20 Les Huguenots, Thu 22 Masaniello, Fri 23 Les Huguenots, Mon 26 Fidelio, Tue 27 Lucrezia Borgia, Thu 1 Mar Masaniello, Fri 2 Scenes.

For Glasgow the programme was: Mon 5 Mar Lucrezia Borgia, Tue 6 Norma, Thu 8 Lucia, Fri 9 Fidelio, Mon 12 I Puritani, Tue 13 Les Huguenots, Thu 15 Masaniello, Fri 16 Der Freischütz, Mon 19 Fidelio, Tue 20 Les Huguenots, Thu 22 Lucrezia Borgia, Fri 23 Fidelio, Mon 26 Les Huguenots, Tue 27 Lucrezia Borgia, Thu 29 I Puritani, Fri 30 Scenes.

The popular favourites were evidently Lucrezia Borgia and Les Huguenots, receiving six performances each. Masaniello, a spectacular work not recently seen in Scotland, had five performances, with Fidelio, Robert le Diable and I Puritani on four. The generally popular Der Freischütz had three, with Norma and Lucia di Lammermoor, perhaps surprisingly, only two. The unknown Semiramide was scheduled for two but the opening was postponed because of illness, which clearly affected the reception of the first, under-rehearsed, performance. Perhaps this was also the cause for the third Donizetti piece, La Favorite, not being given complete.

Bellini's final opera enjoyed great success at its Paris premiere and when first seen in London. However it was not regarded as a faultless masterpiece. The Scotsman of 24 January says - 'Like the rest of Bellini's operas its instrumentation is defective, contrasting unfavourably, in that respect, with those of his rival Donizetti, and the writers of the German and French schools; but there are scattered throughout the work so many flowing and graceful melodies that, in spite of the defects to which we have alluded, and the extravagance and absurdity of the story, it has held, and seems likely fir some time to hold, its place as one of the most successful of modern operas.'

Performance Cast

Elvira daughter of Lord Walton

Madame Hermine (Erminia) Rudersdorf

Riccardo Sir Richard Forth, a Puritan colonel

Karl Formes

Giorgio Sir George Walton, Lord Walton's brother, a retired Puritan colonel

Monsieur Zelger

Arturo Talbo Lord Arthur Talbot, a Royalist

Octave Benedetti

Performance DatesPuritani 1855

Map List

Theatre Royal, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

22 Jan, 20.00 30 Jan, 20.00

Theatre Royal, Dunlop Street, Glasgow | Glasgow

12 Mar, 20.00 29 Mar, 20.00

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