Opera Scotland

Yeomen of the Guard 1903D'Oyly Carte Principal Repertoire Company

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A Dundee Review

Dundee Courier & Argus: Saturday, September 12 1903

Her Majesty’s Theatre - The Yeomen of the Guard

 'It was gratifying to those who during many years have pinned their faith to The Yeomen of the Guard to find that this opera attracted last night to Her Majesty’s Theatre the largest audience of the week.

'The house was crowded in every part, and at the end of each of the two acts the principals of the company were recalled with much fervour.  On one occasion an exacting demand for a third or fourth encore almost exhausted the patience as well as the voices of the artistes, but in the end they yielded to the demands of their persistent admirers.

'The tendency which has for some time prevailed of broadening the humour of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas and making them more farcical is more objectionable in The Yeomen of the   Guard than in any other opera of the series.  There is so much in it of old world dignity and charm, and there is more seriousness in it, both in libretto and in music, than in the others.  The whole opera is coloured with a feeling of tragedy, and some of the finest parts of the music are lost through the laughter of the audience.  But while we think that we have - from this point of view - seen more artistic performances of The Yeomen, it is only fair to say that we have never seen a more popular one, or one which elicited more enthusiasm.

'Mr C H Workman, as Jack Point, was at his greatest last night.  The role is undoubtedly the most difficult - but also the most artistic - in this repertoire, and Mr Workman now plays it with perfect appreciation of all its beauties.  In no role is his progress as an artiste seen so markedly.  He is one of the deftest of comedians, and yet last night it was in the more tragic passages that he was most telling.  He was quietly humorous in discussing with Elsie and the Lieutenant the question of the former’s projected wedding, and his acting in that exquisite quartett, “When a Wooer goes a-Wooing,” and in the final scene when he falls heartbroken on the stage was full of intense pathos and power.  As a singer, too, he is wonderfully good - for a comedian - and his clever songs were redemanded again and again.

'Mr Billington makes more fun than ever out of the grim part of Wilfred Shadbolt.  In the “Cock and Bull” duet and in the trio in the finale of the first act he is inimitable.  Mr Scott Russell acted with great verve and no little dignity as Colonel Fairfax, and Mr Frank Wilson was a stalwart and vocally effective Sergeant Meryll.  Mr G Villiers Arnold is happier in a more humorous part than that of the Lieutenant, but sang capitally, and Mr R A Swinhoe as Leonard Meryll displayed an extremely pretty and cultivated tenor voice.

'Miss Norah Maguire revelled in the magnificent music of Elsie.  The recitative, “I am a Bride,” and the song which follows were sung with brilliant quality and power of voice and picturesqueness of expression.  The beauty of Miss Maguire’s enunciation is a marked feature of every performance.  Miss Lulu Evans was inclined to make Phoebe Meryll rather too frivolous and frisky a little maiden, but she sang admirably, the opening number, “When Maiden Sighs,” being given with much refinement, and being deservedly encored.

'Miss Theresa Rassam added to the laurels she has gained during the week by her most impressive portrait of Dame Carruthers.  She was always “in the picture,” and she sang her two songs, notably the “Tower” one, with splendid effectiveness.  Miss Jessie Rose made a charming Kate, and her voice aided in an unusually fine performance of the “Tower Tomb” quartett, which was sung with marvellously accurate intonation.  The two quartettes in the second act were also delightfully sung by Misses Maguire and Evans and Messrs Russell and Wilson.

'The chorus did their trying part of the work well.  The choruses of the yeomen were splendidly sung, as was the chorus which follows Dame Carruthers’ solo in the opening of the second act.  The chorus which heralds the entrance of Elsie and Jack - a very difficult one because of the frequent changes of time - and the terribly trying finale of the first act might have been steadier.  We have heard the fine accompaniments more satisfactorily played.

'To-day, both at the matinee and in the evening, the ever-popular Mikado will be performed.'

Performance Cast

Phoebe Meryll Sergeant Meryll's Daughter

Lulu Evans (Sep 11)

Sergeant Meryll of the Yeomen of the Guard

Frank Wilson (Sep 11)

Leonard Meryll Sergeant Meryll's Son

Mr R A Swinhoe (Sep 11)

Dame Carruthers Housekeeper to the Tower

Theresa Rassam (Sep 11)

Sir Richard Cholmondeley Lieutenant of the Tower

Mr G Villiers Arnold (Sep 11)

Colonel Fairfax under sentence of death

Scott Russell (Sep 11)

Jack Point a Strolling Jester

Charles Workman (Sep 11)

Wilfred Shadbolt Head Jailer and Assistant Tormentor

Fred Billington (Sep 11)

Elsie Maynard a Strolling Singer

Norah Maguire (Sep 11)

Kate Dame Carruthers' Niece

Jessie Rose (Sep 11)

Production Cast

Conductor

Mr P W Halton (Sep 11)

Performance DatesYeomen of the Guard 1903

Map List

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

11 Sep, 19.30

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