Opera Scotland

Jewels of the Madonna 1915Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Jewels of the Madonna

Wolf-Ferrari is remembered nowadays as an excellent provider of operatic comedies.  Jewels of the Madonna is a very different work, a tragic Neapolitan gangland thriller in verismo style.  It had first appeared in Scotland  with three performances in 1913, and a further three in 1914.  But this time only one performance was given.

Unlike most new works, it seems to have been well received by the good-sized audience.  Even so, the Herald only mentions the three leading roles in its report.


The Herald's Perspective

Glasgow Herald: Friday, 26 February 1915 (p8)

The Jewels of the Madonna

'So far as the provinces  are concerned operatic novelties excite comparatively little nterest.  Music lovers are notoriously conservative.  New works come and go across a background supplied by the familiar Gounod, Bizet, Wagner, Verdi, and a few others.  In The Jewels of the Madonna, however, the Carl Rosa Company have met populat taste, and the composer, Mr Wolf-Ferrari, is the exceptional newcomer able to hold his own for more than a season against established favourites.

'For this there are several reasons.  The opera is attractively written and scored with its modernism tempered by much clearly defined melody.  Wolf-Ferrari reflects both Srauss and Puccini, and, where he favours his fellow-countrymen, pleases his average hearer best.  The lesson he has learnt most obviously from the younger Italians is that there is popularity in crime.  The day of the insipid operatic libretto is past.  Daggers and screams supply thrills as well as music, and it is not the fault of the stage if the composer is dull.

'In The Jewels of the Madonna we have a heroine compounded of Carmen and Louise, a good young man gone astray, a handsome villain, and a climax with two suicides.  The older operatic composers drew music like a veil over bloodshed, but your modern composer aims rather at a deeper scarlet.  Mere melodrama, of course, will not make a successful opera, and the composer of The Jewels of the Madonna has plenty of attractive material for the music-lover.  Two of the most successful numbers are the preludes to the second and third acts.  Like most Italians, Wolf-Ferrari is at his best when he is lyrical, and the music, especially in the second act, has many happy moments.  Even where inspiration is wanting there is always brilliant cleverness.

'Considering the difficulties of the music, last night's performance as a whole was very creditable to the management.  Mr Eugene Goossens guided his forces safely through the intricacies of the score, and got good results from chorus and orchestra.  Mr Edward Davies as Gennaro seemed oppressed by his music, and  hardly did himself justice, and Miss Beatrice Miranda as Maliella was handicapped by the fact that a good deal of her music lay in the least effective part of her voice.  Both artistes, however, sang and acted with a right appreciation of the drama, and in so doing achieved considerable success.  Mr Hebden Foster was excellent as Rafaele, and the less important parts were well filled.

'Judging so far by this week's results, the Carl Rosa Company have benefited rather than otherwise from the unsettled times; last night there was again a large and enthusiastic audience in the Theatre Royal.'


The Carl Rosa Scottish tour - 1915

The Carl Rosa Scottish tour in spring 1915 consisted of three weeks in Glasgow (Theatre Royal), followed by two weeks in Edinburgh (Lyceum).

The fifteen operas performed were by Mozart (Don GiovanniMagic Flute);  Wagner (Tannhäuser);  Verdi (Trovatore,  Aïda); Balfe (Bohemian Girl);  Wallace (Maritana);  Nicolai (Merry Wives of Windsor);  Gounod (Faust);  Thomas (Mignon);  Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Bizet (Carmen);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana);  Wolf-Ferrari (Jewels of the Madonna).

The performance schedule was as follows:

Glasgow, w/c 22 February: Mon 22 Tales of Hoffmann; Tue 23 Faust;  Wed 24 Aïda;  Thu 25 Jewels of the Madonna;  Fri 26 Carmen;  Sat 27 m Tales of Hoffmann;  Sat 27 e Bohemian Girl.

Glasgow, w/c  1 March: Mon 1 Mar Cav & Pag; Tue 2 Magic Flute;  Wed 3 Tannhäuser;  Thu 4 Mignon;  Fri 5 Tales of Hoffmann;  Sat 6 m Aïda;  Sat 6 e Maritana.

Glasgow, w/c 8 March: Mon 8 Mar Don Giovanni;  Tue 9 Faust;  Wed 10 Trovatore;  Thu 11 Merry Wives of Windsor;  Fri 12 Aïda;  Sat 13 m Carmen;  Sat 13 e Tales of Hoffmann.

Edinburgh, w/c 15 March: Mon 15 Tales of Hoffmann;  Tue 16 Tannhäuser;  Wed 17 Faust;  Thu 18  Magic Flute;  Fri 19 Aïda;  Sat 20 m Carmen;  Sat 20 e Trovatore.

Edinburgh, w/c 22 March: Mon 22 Cav & Pag;  Tue 23 Tales of Hoffmann;  Wed 24 Mignon;  Thu 25 Merry Wives of Windsor;  Fri 26 Don Giovanni;  Sat 27 m Aïda;  Sat 27 e Tales of Hoffmann.

Performance Cast

Gennaro a blacksmith

Edward Davies

Maliella adopted daughter of Carmela

Beatrice Miranda

Rafaele a gangster, leader of the Camorra

Hebden Foster

Performance DatesJewels of the Madonna 1915

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

25 Feb, 19.15

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2024

Site by SiteBuddha