Opera Scotland

Lily of Killarney 1922Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Lily of Killarney

The Carl Rosa's Scottish tour at the beginning of 1922 was an unusually long one with 21 different operas on display. If the seven renderings of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci are regarded as fourteen shows, that totals 105 performances (instead of 98) over the fourteen weeks from 16 January to 22 April embracing five venues. It began in the north-east, with one week in Perth, two in Aberdeen and one in Dundee. There followed an eight week stay in Glasgow, almost a northern headquarters for the company, and two final weeks in Edinburgh.

The most frequently performed operas in the season were Samson and Delilah (11), Carmen (9) and Madam Butterfly (9). Four works received only a single outing - The Valkyrie (in Aberdeen) and Lily of KillarneyBohème and Tosca in Glasgow.

The first week commencing Monday, 16 January, in Perth's delightfully intimate Edwardian auditorium, ran in this order: Mon Carmen; Tue Tales of Hoffmann, Wed Maritana, Thu Samson and Delilah, Fri Cav & Pag, Sat mat Madam Butterfly, Sat eve Il Trovatore.

In Aberdeen there were changes. Cav & Pag were dropped briefly, but the expanded repertoire saw the introduction of Bohemian GirlFaust and Mignon, as well as some larger-scale works by Verdi (Aïda) and Wagner (Tannhäuser, LohengrinValkyrie).

Dundee had not been visited since 1919 when Her Majesty's became a cinema, but the King's was now available, at least until 1928, when it, too, was acquired by a cinema company. The schedule for the week in Dundee was a fairly standard digest of the existing repertoire - Mon Faust, Tue Carmen, Wed Cav & Pag, Thu Samson and Delilah, Fri Tannhäuser, Sat Mat Madam Butterfly, and Sat Eve Trovatore.

With eight weeks to fill, it was inevitable that as well as nearly all of the above, a number of works would appear that were not seen elsewhere. These included Lily of Killarney, RigolettoMastersingersBohème and Tosca


The Glasgow Herald gave a very brief notice on 6 April, following the single performance of Sir Julius Benedict's once popular adaptation of Boucicault's play. The Lily was showing signs of fading from the popular repertoire, and this was the first Scottish performance by the Carl Rosa for some time. The veteran Canadian tenor Charles Hedmondt, once a major star of the company, was now in his mid-60s and spending far more of his time directing and teaching. He would certainly have been a sentimental favourite for many in the audience who had seen him in his prime.

'The Carl Rosa Opera company revived The Lily of Killarney at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, last night, with Mr E C Hedmondt as Myles, a part which he has made conspicuously his own. The performance was fairly satisfactory, although in parts there was a shakiness that does not appear in works which have more frequent presentation by the company. The tuneful music was sung with considerable charm, and the popular ballads elicited cordial applause from a large audience. Miss Florence Cahill made a pleasing Colleen Bawn, and her sympathetic voice was heard very effectively in the music of the part. Mr Hedmondt acted and sang with easy familiarity as Myles, while Mr Kingsley Lark was a competent Danny Mann. The other parts were also in capable hands, and the orchestra under Mr Mabbott was almost entirely satisfactory, the overture being particularly well rendered.'

The same day's Scotsman was even more succinct:-

'The Carl Rosa Company, whose engagement at the Theatre-Royal, Glasgow, is drawing to a close, continues to attract large audiences, and last night, when the Lily of Killarney was performed, was no exception to the rule. The opera, which was billed as a special revival of Benedict's famous work, was very effectively rendered.'

Performance Cast

Eily O'Connor the Colleen Bawn

Florence Cahill

Myles na Coppaleen in love with Eily

Charles Hedmondt

Danny Mann a boatman, devoted to Hardress

Kingsley Lark

Performance DatesLily of Killarney 1922

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

5 Apr, 19.15

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2022

Site by SiteBuddha