Opera Scotland

Princess Ida 1915D'Oyly Carte Opera Company

Read more about the opera Princess Ida

The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's Scottish tour of 1915 included two weeks in Dundee, commencing Monday, 20 December.  The last three performances on the second Friday evening and Saturday matinee and evening (1 January 1916), were Princess Ida, The Gondoliers and The Mikado.

Further performances in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee to be confirmed.


A Dundee Review

Dundee Advertiser: Saturday, 1 January 1916 (p3)

Her Majesty's Theatre - Close of Gilbert-Sullivan Season

'The Gilbert-Sullivan season, which closes at Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee, to-day, with a matinee performance of The Gondoliers, followed by an evening performance of The Mikado, has, from an artistic point of view compared very favourably with the best D'Oyly Carte companies seen in Dundee. There is obviously a very energetic “vis a tergo” determined to keep this repertoire company at the highest standard of efficiency in spite of war conditions.  Even with wholesale changes in the feminine parts and several important alterations elsewhere, the company is excellent, displaying in every opera an artistic talent and an enthusiasm which altogether disarm criticism.

'Otherwise the visit to Dundee has had less happy distinction owing to the breakdown of Mr Billington, whose presence in the company is certainly the “wain” on which many people are drawn to Gilbert-Sullivan opera.  No one was more disappointed than Mr Billington himself.  He appreciates very much the reception which he has always got in Dundee, and it will be no fault of his if he does not return with the company on their next visit to the city.

'Last night one of the lesser known and less popular operas, Princess Ida, was presented. Princess Ida is, of course, a skit upon the feminist movement, and as such is not of exceptionally topical interest in days of war, when women have learned to turn their energies to nobler ends. Musically also, Princess Ida has not that happy abandon which gains perpetual popularity for Sullivan melodies.  One might, in fact, go so far as to say that here the collaborators were not working in that wonderful harmony which is the secret of their success.  Gilbert, in the first place, was happier in a work of his own creation than in the remaking of Tennyson, and Sullivan again wrote in a period of personal depression, caused by family and financial losses.  The opera, which is in three acts, was produced at the Savoy in 1884.  These causes seem to operate through all the undoubted brilliancy of wit and composition with which the opera is endowed, and to make it, in spite of its great talent, one of the least popular of the series.

'Last night it was very well played and received by a large audience with every evidence of enthusiasm.  Mr Henry Lytton, with his splendid reading of the extraordinary part of King Gama, again filled the picture, and he was very ably supported by Mr Leo Sheffield as King Hildebrand.  Mr Leicester Tunks as Florian, and Mr Dewey Gibson as Cyril, were both fine as usual, while Mr Lovat Crossley did very creditably as Hilarion.

'Miss Phyllis Smith again showed up well as Princess Ida, using her sweet, clear voice to great effect.  Miss Bertha Lewis, a very cultured singer; Miss Nellie Briercliffe, and Miss Ethel Armit all filled their parts with distinction.'

Performance Cast

King Hildebrand

Leo Sheffield (Dec 31)

Hilarion Hildebrand's Son

Lovat Crosley (Dec 31)

Cyril Hilarion's Friend

Dewey Gibson (Dec 31)

Florian Hilarion's Friend

Leicester Tunks (Dec 31)

King Gama

Henry Lytton (Dec 31)

Princess Ida Gama's Daughter

Phyllis Smith (Dec 31)

Lady Blanche Professor of Abstract Science

Bertha Lewis (Dec 31)

Melissa Lady Blanche's Daughter

Nellie Briercliffe (Dec 31)

Lady Psyche Professor of Humanities, Florian's Sister

Ethel Armit (Dec 31)

Performance DatesPrincess Ida 1915

Map List

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

31 Dec, 19.15

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