Opera Scotland

Otello 1908Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Otello

The Scotsman review (11 April) said "One of the largest audiences of the Carl Rosa fortnight assembled in the King's Theatre last night on the occasion of the production of Verdi's Othello...The performance, though somewhat indifferent at the outset, when the chorus did not seem to be at home in the strenuous music of the storm-scene, rose in quality as it proceeded.  Especially at the close of the second act, after the duet between Iago and Otello, in which the Moor's jealousy is craftily played upon, the audience was enthusiastic, and it is not often that two male singers are five times recalled.  These two, however, are the great figures of the opera, as they are of the drama.  The Iago of Mr Charles Victor was just such a character study as those who know that painstaking artist's style could look for.  Dramatically it was powerful; and if vocally it was in parts unequal, it was well sung throughout, and as usual Mr Victor gave his hearers all the words.

The Othello of Mr Julius Walther was scarcely less distinguished as a piece of dignified and powerful acting.  The slight cold which afflicted his singing in the first days of last week had passed off; and as a consequence Mr Walther was able to display his strong and richly-coloured voice to great advantage. His use of the mezzo quality was frequently happy, and the tenderness of some of the scenes with Desdemona, and especially of the last scene of all, was in excellent contrast to the stormy passion of the episodes where his jealousy asserts itself.  

Miss Grace Nicoll as Desdemona achieved her greatest success in the final act, where the Willow Song and the Ave Maria afford a better opportunity for display than in the earlier acts.  She sang with great power and sweetness, and her enunciation of the words was agreeably clear.  Of the other parts, the most noteworthy was the Cassio of Mr William O'Connor.  The chorus was not always heard at its best; but the orchestra, which was under the baton of Mr Eugene Goossens, did quite excellent work in presenting tunefully and clearly the dramatic and often highly elaborated instrumental part of this great music-drama."

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

Cassio Otello's lieutenant

William O'Connor

Desdemona Otello's wife

Grace Nicoll

Iago Otello's ensign

Charles Victor

Otello a Moorish general, Venetian Governor of Cyprus

Julius Walther

Performance DatesOtello 1908

Map List

Grand Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

17 Mar, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

10 Apr, 19.30

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