Opera Scotland

Celebrity Recital 1913Celebrity Concert

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By 1913 Luisa Tetrazzini's performances in staged opera were drawing to a close.  However she was well-established as a famous recitalist, frequently touring the British Isles - something she would continuo to do for the next twenty years.

Here the concert party was made up of lesser talents, though the German baritone, based in Bremen, had been guesting with the Carl Rosa company.   The solo cellist was also very well known.  The accompanist, Mr R J Forbes, later established himself as a regular conductor with the O'Mara Grand Opera, taking charge of major works by Mozart,  Wagner,  Verdi,  Puccini,  Mascagni and Leoncavallo.

Alexander Simpson was a long-established promoter of concerts in Dundee.  His shop, selling music and musical instruments from spacious premises in Reform Street, with a rear exit to the Kinnaird Hall, continued to trade as Methven, Simpson & Co, well into the 1960s.  Mr Methven had founded the business in the mid-19th century.

Further Scottish tour dates to be confirmed.

Mr Simpson’s Subscription Concert

Madame Tetrazzini                  soprano

Miss Paola St Clair                   contralto

Mr Arthur Brookes                   tenor

Mr Felix Fleischer                    baritone

M Jean Gerardy                      violoncello

Miss Ruby Holland                   piano

Mr R J Forbes                          accompanist

                        Reserved Seats: Stalls, 15s; Balcony, 10s 6d; Area 7s 6d.

                                    Unreserved Seats: Gallery, 6s; Area, 5s.

NB: The Back Area Tickets being Sold Out, a limited Number will be issued for the Back Rows of Orchestra at 3s, for which immediate application is respectfully recommended.  Subscription Tickets for the Series may still be had at 25s, 21s, 17s 6d, 12s and 10s.


Dundee Advertiser:  Wednesday, October 15 1913 p9

The Tetrazzini Concert on Monday next

(Introductory article to be transcribed).


Dundee Advertiser:  Tuesday, October 21 1913 p9

Mr Simpson's Concert  - Tetrazzini in Dundee

''If Tetrazzini, the noted operatic prima donna, was not the only bon-bon last night, she was, judging from the applause, the sweetest of the sweet to the vast majority of the audience in the Kinnaird Hall.  Tetrazzini is not only a fine singer, she is a very good-natured woman, and does not hesitate to add liberally to the printed programme when there is an evident desire for more.  She is no adherent of the ‘no encore’ school.  Consequently she sent her admirers home in the best of spirits, conscious, as they were, that they had viewed her art in many aspects.

''Naturally enough, she appeared to greatest advantage in ‘Ah! fors’ è lui’ from La Traviata.  It was the singing of this composition that seven or eight years ago at one stroke made her reputation with the London critics.  Its three movements offer her opportunities that are hardly to be found elsewhere.  In the opening Recitative she displayed a charming variety of expression in the style of musical speech; while the legato passages of the slow melody were full of honied sweetness.  In the florid and exacting measures of the allegro, ‘Sempre libera’, the singer absolutely revelled.  The more difficult the arpeggio or scale, the better it appeared to be performed.  The ‘Jewel Song’ from Faust, a piece of similar genre, which came early in the programme, wanted something of its customary rapture.  Possibly the prima donna had not yet warmed to her work.

''The wireless sympathy between singer and audience had hardly been established.  Very interesting Madame Tetrazzini’s rendering of Greig ‘Solveig’s Song’, Cowen’s ‘Swallows’, and ‘The last rose of summer.’  She works wonders with English, and Cowen’s song had ample justice done to it.  The simplicity, however, of ‘The last rose’ is not suited to her method.  The singer’s too earnest efforts to put as much meaning as possible into Moore’s pathetic words themselves prevented the attainment of the end in view.

''The distinguished vocalist was supported by a company that itself was not without distinction.  Miss Paola St Clair possesses a full contralto voice that she uses like an artist.  The famous ‘Caro mio ben’ of Giordani was delivered with feeling but without over-sentimentality.  If ‘Little Fleur-de-Lys’ was not quite so successful, that perhaps should be laid to the account of the song rather than its singer.

''In Schubert’s declamatory and dramatic ‘Prometheus’, Felix Fleischer exhibited a voice of power, and a clear enunciation such as are too seldom found on the concert platform.  The expressive ‘Lute Player’ of Allitsen afforded him an additional opportunity of ingratiating himself with an already favourable audience.  The tenor, Mr Arthur Brooke, is as yet too self-assertive.  His points are all made strenuously. With a more restrained method his capable voice should yet carry him far.

''The instrumentalists were all of excellent quality.  Miss Ruby Holland’s piano-playing is both vigorous and refined.  She differentiates her themes from each other, and from their accompaniments in a remarkable way.  This faculty made particularly agreeable the playing of Chopin’s C sharp minor Scherzo.

''The work of the ‘cellist, Jean Gerardy, was of the most perfect kind.  In the serious harmonics of the ‘Kol Nidrei’ of Max Bruch, and the catchy rhythms of Popper’s ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’ he was equally successful.  His opening, and to some his best, number was a Sonata in A by Boccherini.  This Sonata is not such a collection of movements as we now expect in a composition so named.  It is rather what might be termed a little song about nothing at all.  Nothing surprisingly wonderful or deep is said. The thought is clear and simple – even commonplace; but the expression is so graceful and characteristic that the little song about nothing at all becomes a thing of beauty, and therefore a joy forever.

''It but remains to say that Mr R J Forbes rendered admirable service as accompanist, and that the audience was an extremely large one.''

Performance DatesCelebrity Recital 1913

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Kinnaird Hall | Dundee

20 Oct, 19.30

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