Opera Scotland

Carmen 1908Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Carmen

The Scotsman reviewer (31 March) opened "An excellent start was made by the Carl Rosa Opera Compaany last night, when a fortnight's engagement at the King's Theatre was opened with Bizet's Carmen.  This masterpiece of French grand opera has been associated with the history of the company from its very earliest beginnings.  It was in the days of Mr Carl Rosa himself, with Madame Marie Roze as the principal, the mainstay of the success of the company which led the way to substituting the English language for the Continental tongues that were then the medium through which great operatic music was conveyed to the British public.  Carmen takes place, with Faust and Tannhauser, as a permanent factor in operatic tradition.  It does not grow old.  the popularity of the opera is no doubt primarily based upon the dramatic and characteristic music of the composer; but Prosper Merimée's tale is one of deep and permanent human passion that does not pass with the fashion of the day; and as a mere matter of theatrical effect the mise-en scène is perfect.   Last night's performnce was excellent, and justifies the expectationthat even at this, the end of the musical season, the numbers and enthusiasm of the audience which assembled in the King's Theatre last night will be maintained to the end of an engagement which, aprt from the routine operas, promises Goring Thomas's Esmeralda, Verdi's Rigoletto and Othello, and Mozart's Don Giovanni and Figaro.   Miss Doris Woodall's Carmen might be estimated comparatively; but there have been so many great Carmens that it is perhaps the better part of criticism to say that she presented the difficult part of the panther-woman of Prosper Merimée's tale with a sufficiency of abandon without emphasising the essential vulgarity of her character.  Vocally Miss Woodall was admirable; her mezzo voice quite suited the part, and her words were delivered with praiseworthy clearness.  

As Jose, Mr Edward Davies was a trifle stilted in style in the first act; his speaking is not so good as his singing; but his fine tenor voice was heard to advantage in the love appeal in the Bodega scene; and in the dramatic episodes of the third and fourth acts he rose toa high level of passion.

There have been better Escamillos heard in Edinburgh than that of Mr Charles Victor; but he made a good figure and sang well, and the Toreador song received its customary encore.  A pleasing part was that of the Michaela of Miss Ina Hill, who while failing tio suggest fully the inherent simplicity which makes this character a foil to the passionate figure of Carmen, sang with great sweetness and charm the telling passage in the cave scene.  It is not often that the minor part of Frasquita is so ably filled as it was last night by Miss Adele Prescott; she has an excellent soprano voice, and with Miss Christine Ritz as her companion Mercedes, rendered admirably her share in the music set for the two gipsy girls.  The Dancairo of Mr Frederick Clendon and the Remendado of Mr Arthur Hyde provided the element of humour which lightens a drama that is essentially tragic.  Chorus and orchestra were excellent, and the conductor, Mr Walter van Noorden, may be congratulated on a performance of Carmen that compared well with the high records of the past."

The company's 1908 tour included two weeks at the Glasgow Grand, one at the Alexandra, Greenock and finally two at Edinburgh King’s Theatre.

The full schedule was:-

Glasgow w/c 9 Mar: Mon Carmen; Tue Cav & Pag; Wed Trovatore; Thu Lohengrin; Fri Esmeralda; Sat m Fidelio; Sat e Rigoletto.

Glasgow w/c 16 Mar: Mon Don Giovanni; Tue Otello; Wed Bohemian Girl; Thu Faust; Fri Carmen; Sat m Tannhäuser; Sat e Trovatore.

Greenock w/c 23 Mar: Mon Carmen; Tue Tannhäuser; Wed Bohemian Girl; Thu Cav & Pag; Fri Esmeralda; Sat m Faust; Sat e Trovatore.

Edinburgh w/c 30 Mar: Mon Carmen; Tue Faust; Wed Lohengrin; Thu Don Giovanni; Fri Esmeralda; Sat m Tannhauser; Sat e Rigoletto.

Edinburgh w/c 6 Apr: Mon Cav & Pag; Tue Trovatore; Wed Bohemian Girl; Thu Marriage of Figaro; Fri Otello; Sat m Carmen; Sat e Maritana.

In summary: Carmen (5); Trovatore (4); Cav & Pag, Esmeralda, Bohemian Girl, Faust, Tannhäuser (3); Lohengrin, Rigoletto, Don Giovanni, Otello (2) and Fidelio, Marriage of Figaro, Maritana (1).

Thirty-five performances of thirteen operas plus the double bill of Cav and Pag.

Performance Cast

Carmen a gypsy

Doris Woodall

Dancaïre a smuggler

Frederick Clendon

Don José a corporal of dragoons

Edward Davies

Escamillo a toreador

Charles Victor

Frasquita a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Adele Prescott

Mercédès a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Christine Ritz

Micaëla a peasant girl

Ina Hill

Remendado a smuggler

Arthur Hyde

Production Cast


Walter van Noorden

Performance DatesCarmen 1908

Map List

Grand Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

9 Mar, 19.30 20 Mar, 19.30

Alexandra Theatre | Greenock

23 Mar, 00.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

30 Mar, 19.30 11 Apr, 14.00

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