Opera Scotland

Carmen 1910Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Carmen

During the two weeks commencing 28 February, the King's Edinburgh was used by the Denhof Opera Company to stage two cycles of the Ring, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (matnee) each week.  The Carl Rosa booked the remaining evenings and on the Monday and Tuesday made a short trip out of town.  They visited Falkirk for two nights only, following a performance of Carmen on Monday 28 February with one of Faust the next night.  The following week, when the second cycle started, they repeated the programme in Kirkcaldy.

According to preview in the Falkirk Herald (19 February) "the large orchestra, over forty in number, will necessitate the removal of the entire first two rows of the orchestra stalls."

The visit coincided with a week of performances in Edinburgh by Denhof and Rosa forces combined.  These included the first provincial Ring cycle, involving some of the Rosa's regular singers, and the men's chorus for the vassals in Twilight of the Gods.  On the evenings between the Ring evenings, the Carl Rosa company offered popular non-Wagner works.

A. complete cast is from the review in the Falkirk Herald of the performance on Monday, 28 February.  Later changes from other reviews


Falkirk Announcement

Falkirk Herald: Saturday, 26 February 1910  (p5)

The Visit of the Carl Rosa Opera Company

'There is now every assurance that the enterprise of the management of the Grand Theatre in arranging for a visit of the Royal Carl Rosa Opea Company on Monday and Tuesday of next week will meet with the complete success it deserves.  Certainly the seating accommodation of the theatre is likely to be taxed to its utmost capacity at both performances.  The first four rows of the pit, which it had been decided to convert into pit stalls, have already been all practally taken up, and it has been found necessary to convert two more rows of seats into stalls, making six rows in all.  We are informed that there are a few of these stalls still available, for which early application is advised.

'In view of the fact that the Carl Rosa Opera Company are to take part in the operatic festival performances which open at Edinburgh on Monday next, an impression seems to have got abroad that the principal artistes of the company will not appear in Falkirk.  Such an impression is an entirely erroneous one.  The Carl Rosa Company do not take part in the Edinburgh festival until Wednesday evening, the night after their appearance in Falkirk.  Accordingly the company that appears at the Grand Theatre next week will be entirely the same as that which appeared at Covent Garden for a month in October last, and has since visited the principal cities throughout the kingdom, and will include the leading artistes who have been with the Carl Rosa Opera Company for some seasons past.  The company, which numbers 120 all told, including an orchestra of 0, will be under the direction of Mr Walter Van Noorden, and will travel by special train to and from Falkirk.' 


The Falkirk Review (of Performance on Monday, 28 February)

Falkirk Herald: Saturday, 5 March 1910  (p5)

Falkirk Grand Theatre - The Carl Rosa Opera Company

'It is not often, unfortunately, that the people of Falkirk have the privilege usually enjoyed by the communities of the larger cities of hearing and seeing the best available artistic effort.  Should the opportunity present itself, however, they have shown that they can be fully as responsive and enthusiastic, and display as appreciative and intelligent an interest.  Circumstances this year made possible a visit from the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company of Covent Garden and the characteristic enterprise of the theatre management met with a splendid response from the local public, who were quick to acknowledge the possibility of hearing classic opera done in a manner worthy of it, and with the full accompaniment and completeness of detail necessary to a first-rate artistic presentation.  The Carl Rosa Company is so well known as to make detailed reference to it unnecessary; suffice it to say that it came to Flakirk at full strength, with a chorus of eighty and an orchestra of forty performers.

'Carmen was given on Monday night to a house that was crowded in every part.  It was  a fashionable and fully representative gathering.  Bizet's opera, since it was produced 35 years ago, has assumed a leading place in the public favour.  Indeed the repertoire is hardly complete without it, and its success is likely to continue for a long time to come.  The gipsy heroine, who, by her wiles and cajolery and heartless treatment, drives the soldier hero to desperation, is a dramatic theme which the composer wedded to original and strikingly effective music.

'The whole success of the opera, it is not too much to say,  rests with the artiste who fills the title role; and the operatic singer who can play Carmen has found an established place in the front rank of her profession.  Of Miss Doris WWoodall in that part it can be said with justice that she made it peculiarly her own.  The full use she made of the emotional possibilities of the gipsy character was revealed in the daring, the insouciance, the abounding vitality which pervaded her superb artistic creation.  Without in the least degree striving after effect, she filled each scene with a sense of the wild, roving, passionate nature which in essence makes Carmen such a powerfully attractive figure on the stage.  With Miss Woodall,  magnificent singing and superb acting are matters of course, and in her Carmen they are so intimately conjoined (as they should be) that together the combination is irresistible.  Carmen comes to her as second nature,  which is only to say that she carries it into the region of the highest art.  In the jealous recrimination which alternateswith the love-making between her and Don José, these qualities were given full scope.

'Mr Edward Davies played the role of the soldier lover with great animation and success, and his José reached the heights of passion and the depths of despair in his hopeless infatuation for the wilfull gipsy. Heedless of honour, friends, and former love, he quickly reaches the end of a broken career, which terminates in the abruptest tragedy.  Mr Davies' acting was of a very high order, and he used his splendid tenor voice to the best advantage and with commanding and expressive effect.

'Entwined with the fate of Carmen and Don José is that of Escamillo, the toreador, and Micaëla, who strives to recall José to his lost sense of honour and kindred.  The bull-fighter's song of the former is one of the famous things of this opera, and to admirable dramatic action and feeling, Mr Alan Turner, who played the Toreador,  added a wonderfully fine baritone, which won instant appreciation from the grace and undoubted power with which he sang in praise of the toreador's life.  This was one of the best bits of the opera, and was, of course, encored.

'Miss Ina Hill's Micaëla was another altogether admirable performance, her soprano being beautifully clear and flexible, and lending itself to a sweet and charming effect.

'The smaller parts were all very suitably filled, the artistes being Mr Alexander Richard (Zuniga), Mr Frank Rowe (Moralès),  Mr Albert Felton (Lilias Pastia), Mr Frederick Clendon (Dancairo( and Mr Wm O'Connor (Remendado), Miss Eliz Pridham (Frasquta), and Miss Marion Broom (Mercedes).

'In ensemble Carmen was all that could be desired.  The chorus was beautifully balanced, and at all times responsive to the baton of Mr Walter Van Noorden, who conducted.  The orchestra, both in overture and accompaniment gave its indispensable lead with the usual efficiency, and from first to last the opera was presented at that high level of accomplishment one has grown accustomed to expect from the premier national opera company.

'The crowded audience was enthusiastic and unstinted in its applause, and heartily recalled the artistes several times at the close of act, while during the progress of the performance the interest was unflagging.'


Edinburgh Review

Scotsman: Wednesday, 3 March 1910  (p6)

Carl Rosa Opera Company in Bizet's Carmen

'''The scene was changed,'' at the King's Theatre last evening, when the Wagnerian Ring was put aside for the night and an indulgence given in favour of that most popular, and deservedly popular, example of romantic opera, Carmen.  It was inevitable, given the heavy drain imposed by The Ring upon the limited resources of Edinburgh's ''musical fund,'' that the attendance should not be as it often has been.  It was not a crowded house, but it was a well-filled house.  And the audience made up in enthusiasm for what was lacking in numbers.

'The cast was excellent.  Miss Doris Woodall had already won a reputation for her singing and acting of the title rôle; while Mr Hedmondt was back in a part, that of José, which once was regarded as among the best in his varied repertory.  It may be doubted if there are any bitter anti-Wagnerians to-day;  but there is a growing class of opera lovers who resent the efforts made to judge all music by the Wagnerian standard.  If we look back on the history of the Carl Rosa Opera Company there are three works which stand out as enduring in the popular taste and fashion.   These are Gounod's Faust, Wagner's Tannhäuser, and Bizet's Carmen.  The last-named opera has kept the stage for over a generation, and it cannot be doubted that the reason is that the music is finely descriptive, the scenario is strikingly varied, and the tragedy of love and death is worked out, not by demigods and heroes and dwarfs, but by living human people.

'The performance was on the plane with which the production of the opera has been traditionally associated.  Miss Doris Woodall has a voice of rare mezzo quality, and she has realised to the full the dramatic aspects of the passionate, wayward, yet loveable gipsy woman.  Mr Hedmondt is a fine actor, he makes a perfect lover, and his great solo in the Bodega scene was most imressively rendered.  Miss Beatrice Miranda was a sweet and charming Michaela.  The humorous points of the two chief smugglers, Dancairo and Remendado, were capitally brought out both in voice and action by Mr Frederick Clendon and Mr William O'Connor.  The ''Toreador'' song of Escamillo, sung with abundant fire and spirit by Mr Alan Turner, received the customary cmpliment of an encore.   And with a brilliant presentment of the ballet in the final act - too often omitted for lack of time - the opera of Carmen had its usual effect of sending away a delighted audience.

'So long as it is presented in the style in which it was presented last night the opera of Carmen, replete as it is with human interest, with brilliant and brightly contrasted scenes, with a continuous and obvious play of action and passion between the chief characters, is bound to hold the stage.  The music is ever new;  the moral is ever true.'


Glasgow Season Preview

Scottish Referee:  Monday, 4 March 1910  (p6)

Stageland - Opera in Glasgow - Carl Rosa Company at the Grand

'To-night the spring season at the Grand will be inaugurated, and for the opening fortnight the attraction will be opera, the Carl Rosa Company commencing their annual engagement this evening.  The programme for the opening week is a popular one, and what will undoubredly be the feature of the week is the opera announced for tomorrow night, Destiny, which will be performed for the first time in Scotland.  It is one of Verdi's greatest works, and as this is the first time it has been presented on this side of the Border, Verdi's  admirers are certain to be out in full force.

'The initial performance of the engagement will be Bizet's ever-charming Carmen, with a strong cast, including Mr E C Hedmondt, Alexander Richard,  Frederick Clendon,  and Miss Beatrice Miranda and Miss Doris Woodall.  For tomorrow's performance of Destiny, the list of principals include Mr Walter Wheatley,  and Mr Arthur Winckworth, and Miss Douglas Wilson, and Miss Ina Hill.

'The attraction billed for Wednesday is Wagner's popular Lohengrin, in which Mr E C Hednondt, Alexander Richard, Mr Frederick Clendon, and Miss Marion Broom and Miss Gertrude Vania (a new addition to the company), who has performed at New York,  Prague,  Dresden, and Bayreuth, will undertake the principal parts.

'Thursday will be devoted to staging Mozart;s opera The Marriage of Figaro.  This is one of the attractions of the week, and certain to command a full house, as no less than three prima donnas take part in this production.  Altogether the list of artists for this night is most attractive, as such well-known performers as Arthur Winkworth,  Charles Victor,  Frederick Clendon and Alexander Richard, and Miss Ina Hill,  Miss Doris Woodall,  Miss Beatrice Miranda, and Miss Douglas Wilson will all be heard on Thursday night.

'Beethoven's Fidelio is to be performed on Friday evening, and the performers will include Mr Edward Davies, (who makes his first appearance of the week),  Mr Arthur Winckworth, Mr Alexander Richard, and Miss Ina Hill and Miss Gertrude Vania.  A matinee performance will be given on Saturday, at which Wagner's highly popular Tannhäuser will be staged.  Messrs Hedmondt, Winckworth, and Miss Dorothy Lawson Taylor, and Miss Gleeson White will be seen in leading parts.  The first week will conclude on Saturday evening with a performance of Verdi's delightful opera Il Trovatore, with a strong list of principals, including Messrs Wheatley, Foster, and Clendon, and Miss Woodall, and Miss Gertrude Vania. 

'The orchestra will be under the direction of Mr Walter Van Noorden to-night, and on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings;  while Mr Eugene Goossens will direct the orchestra on Wednesday evening and at the Saturday matinee.

'As there is no clashing this year, the Grand is certain to be crowded at every performance.'

Performance Cast

Moralès a corporal of dragoons

Frank Rowe (Feb 28)

Micaëla a peasant girl

Ina Hill (Feb 28)

Beatrice Miranda (Mar 2)

Don José a corporal of dragoons

Edward Davies (Feb 28)

Charles Hedmondt (Mar 2)

Zuniga a lieutenant of dragoons

Alexander Richard (Feb 28)

Carmen a gypsy

Doris Woodall (Feb 28; Mar 2)

Frasquita a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Elizabeth Pridham (Feb 28)

Mercédès a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Marion Broom (Feb 28)

Lillas Pastia an innkeeper

Albert Felton (Feb 28)

Escamillo a toreador

Alan Turner (Feb 28; Mar 2)

Dancaïre a smuggler

Frederick Clendon (Feb 28; Mar 2)

Remendado a smuggler

William O'Connor (Feb 28; Mar 2)

Performance DatesCarmen 1910

Map List

Grand Theatre and Opera House | Falkirk

28 Feb, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

2 Mar, 19.30

King's Theatre, Kirkcaldy | Kirkcaldy

7 Mar, 19.30

Grand Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

14 Mar, 19.30 25 Mar, 14.00

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