Opera Scotland

Jewels of the Madonna 1913Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Jewels of the Madonna

The Scottish premiere was to have been given in Edinburgh, but Eugene Goossens felt it needed more rehearsal (Scotsman 21 February). 


Two Glasgow Reviews

Scotsman:  Saturday, 1 March 1913  (p10)

Performed by the Carl Rosa Company in Glasgow

'The Edinburgh disappointment of last week afforded Glasgow music-lovers the distinction of hearing the first performance outside of London of Signor Wolf-Ferrari's opera The Jewels of the Madonna.  It was given by the Carl Rosa Company at the Theatre-Royal last night, and as such an occasion merited there was a large and brilliant audience.  The New York and London productions aroused both critics and public to enthusiasm, and it may be stated at the outset that the reception from the latest auditors indicate that the attitude of praise and appreciation is likely to be adopted also in the provinces.

'The work is intensely modern in method and manner, but modelled upon well-established designs and following orthodox treatment, and one feels  surprised that there are fewer new features of operatic development introduced than might have been anticipated.  There is elaborate orchestration of the German style, but it has plenty of the melodious element that is representative of the Italian school, themes of beauty and fervour that make direct appeal to the ear by reason of sheer rhythmic arrangement and tunefulness.  Dramatic intensity is, however, the dominating note, as befits a subject so essentially tragic as that which has been written around the stealing of the Madonna's jewels, and in his music the composer reproduces with great force and effectiveness the temperamental and emotional aspcts of the story.

'Vocally and from the orchestral standpoint, the music is constantly expressing the passionate or tender moments of the chief actors in the drama, and occasionally reproducing the joys of laughter and revelry.  It is generally attractive to the listener;  but always difficult for the performers, whether principals, chorus, or orchestra.  It is to the credit of the Carl Rosa combination that they achieved a performance last night which did not make unduly manifest these difficulties.  There were occasions of raggedness, but all over they were seldom, and should not be emphasised where so much was satisfying.  Mr Eugene Goossens conducted, and achieved excellent results alike from his band and from those upon the stage.  Good tone marked the playing in nearly all the sections, and a praiseworthy restraint made more agreeable the tender love passages and the happily written introductions to the second and third acts, which are in themselves very delightful excerpts.

'As regards the vocal side, there was also occasion for cordial praise, the singing touching a standard of considerable merit.  Mr Hebden Foster as Rafaele and Mr Gordon Thomas as Gennaro were notably good, while the Maliella of Miss Ina Hill as the leading soprano was distinguished by dramatic force and fine vocalism.  Others in the company who did creditable work included Messrs Charles Neville and Fred Clendon and Miss Phyllis Archibald.

'The performance was listened to with appreciative attention, and at the close of each act and when the curtain finally fell there were demonstrations of enthusiasm.  The opera will be repeated on Tuesday and at a matinee next Saturday.'


Glasgow Herald: Saturday, 1 March 1913

'The performance last night represented an enormous amount of work. The broken music for chorus would need much careful rehearsal before the ensemble was perfected and everything ran with the freedom necessary to give the piece its proper dramatic effect.  Mr Eugene Goossens and the stage manager deserve the highest credit for the smoothness and efficiency of their production.  Miss Ina Hill has never done anything better than her performance as Maliella. She sang with great effect all through the opera, and her acting gave great force and reality to her singing.  Mr Hebden Foster as Rafaele and Mr Gordon Thomas as Gennaro also showed themselves very capable artists, and gave the heroine every support.  The singers in the smaller parts were entirely satisfactory, and chorus and orchestra gave their best.  If its reception in Glasgow goes for anything, Jewels of the Madonna should remain in the Carl Rosa repertory for a long time to come." 


A Third Opinion

The Daily Record, 26 February 1913

'Although it has not the following that results from the popularising of the melodies by constant repetition, the house was well filled....As Maliella, Miss Beatrice Miranda sang with an abandon that characterises the part.  Although still handicapped by a cold, Mr Edward Davies made the utmost of the role of Gennaro.  Mr Hebden Foster's fine sonorous voice was heard at his best as Rafaele, particularly so in the serenade song.'


Carl Rosa Scottish Tour - 1913

This late winter Scottish season conisisted of seven weeks, each with seven performances.  After a week in Aberdeen (w/c 20 Jan) then one in Dundee (w/c 27 Jan), there followed three in Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre (commencing 3 Feb, 10 Feb, 17 Feb) and two in Glasgow’s Theatre Royal (w/c 24 Feb; 3 Mar).  Two performances originally scheduled of Jewels of the Madonna in Edinburgh were cancelled to allow for more rehearsals.  The operas that replaced them were Mefistofele (20 Feb) and Magic Flute (22 Feb mat)

The sixteen operas performed were by:  Mozart (Don GiovanniZauberflöte);  Benedict (Lily of Killarney);  Balfe (Bohemian Girl);  Thomas (Mignon);  Wallace (Maritana);  Wagner (TannhäuserLohengrin);  Verdi (Trovatore);  Gounod (Faust);  Goldmark (Queen of Sheba);  Boito (Mefistofele);  Bizet (Carmen);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana);  Wolf-Ferrari (Jewels of the Madonna).

The performance schedule was:

Aberdeen, w/c 20 January:  Mon 20 Carmen;  Tue 21 Lohengrin;  Wed 22 Trovatore;  Thu  23 Mefistofele;  Fri 24 Magic Flute;  Sat 25 m Tannhäuser;  Sat 25 e Mignon.

Dundee, w/c  27 January:  Mon 27 Tannhäuser;  Tue 28 Magic Flute;  Wed 29 Mignon;  Thu 30 Trovatore;  Fri 31 Mefistofele;  Sat 1 Feb m Carmen;  Sat 1 Feb e Bohemian Girl.

Edinburgh, w/c 3 February:  Mon 3 Tannhäuser;  Tue 4 Mignon;  Wed 5 Magic Flute;  Thu 6 Trovatore;  Fri 7 Lohengrin;  Sat 8 m Faust;  Sat 8 e Bohemian Girl.

Edinburgh, w/c 10 February:  Mon 10 Magic Flute;  Tue 11 Queen of Sheba;  Wed 12 Carmen;  Thu 13 Maritana;  Fri 14 Magic Flute;  Sat 15 m Mignon;  Sat 15 e Lily of Killarney.

Edinburgh, w/c 17 February:  Mon 17 Cav & Pag;  Tue 18 Don Giovanni;  Wed 19 Faust;  Thu 20 Mefistofele;  Fri 21 Tannhäuser;  Sat 22 m Magic Flute;  Sat 22 e Trovatore.

Glasgow, w/c 24 February:  Mon  24 Magic Flute;  Tue 25 Mignon;  Wed 26 Trovatore;  Thu 27 Cav & Pag;  Fri 28 Jewels of the Madonna;  Sat 1 Mar m Tannhäuser;  Sat 1 Mar e Faust.

Glasgow, w/c  3 March:  Mon 3 Lohengrin;  Tue 4 Jewels of the Madonna;  Wed 5 Magic Flute;  Thu 6 Mignon;  Fri  7 Carmen :  Sat 8 m Jewels of the Madonna;  Sat 8 e Magic Flute.

Performance Cast

Gennaro a blacksmith

Gordon Thomas (Feb 28)

Maliella adopted daughter of Carmela

Ina Hill (Feb 28)

Rafaele a gangster, leader of the Camorra

Hebden Foster (Feb 28)

Carmela Gennaro's mother

Phyllis Archibald (Feb 28)

Biaso a scribe

Charles Neville (Feb 28)

Rocco a Camorrist

Frederick Clendon (Feb 28)

Performance DatesJewels of the Madonna 1913

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

28 Feb, 19.15 4 Mar, 19.15 8 Mar, 16.00

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