Opera Scotland

Rigoletto 1926Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Rigoletto

Most of the men in this cast were long-term members of the Carl Rosa team.

Eda Bennie and Marguerite Anderson both joined BNOC, singing leading roles. Olive Gilbert sang principal parts such as Carmen, Azucena and Delilah. However Gilbert spent the next phase of her career collaborating with Ivor Novello in several of his large-scale operettas. She continued to work in west end musicals well into old age, singing one of the nuns in The Sound of Music for several years from 1959, at the Palace Theatre.

The first Scottish performance of this visit, on Tuesday, 23 February, was reviewed in the following morning's Scotsman:

'Verdi's Rigoletto is picturesque melodramatic fare, full of strong contrasts and swift transitions from merrymaking to murder. Its plot alone may serve to explain in part its continued popularity, but, needless to say, it is the melodious strongly rhythmed music which clothes the somewhat crude story that keeps it alive...Last night the Royal Carl Rosa Company gave a spirited and finely dramatic rendering of the opera.'

'The Rigoletto of Mr Flintoff Moore was an outstanding achievement. Despite the fact that he appeared to suffer from a cold, his singing was excellently expressive, and no praise can be too high for the masterly acting which made the character he assumed a convincing and moving study in pathos.

Mr John Perry had his good and indifferent moments as the light-hearted Duke of Mantua, but on the whole he sang and acted well.'

'As Gilda, Miss Jennie Bleasdale was an appealing figure; while among the other woman characters, that of Maddelina was capably undertaken by Miss Olive Gilbert.

Mr Hubert Dunkerley was very good both in song and in action as Marullo. The Sparafucile of Mr John Kelly was likewise a most satisfying conception. Mr Leslie Jones brought passion and eloquence into the part of Count Monterone.

The chorus and orchestra shared with the principals in a most successful performance, which again served to show the effectiveness of Mr Thomas M'Guire's conductorship.'

'Preceding the opera a performance was given of the Ballet from Gounod's Romeo and Juliet. It was a delightful curtain-raiser. Miss Ailne Phillips, assisted by Miss Jean Brady and a very talented troupe of dancers, gave a graceful display, and Gounod's pleasing music was admirably played by the orchestra.'

Cast details for Wednesday, 31 March are as reviewed in the Dundee Courier & Argus.


This seven week long Scottish tour, from 15 February to 3 April 1926, visited Edinburgh (two weeks), Glasgow (four) and Dundee (one). A highly unusual feature of the repertoire is the complete absence of operas by Wagner, still being given by the larger BNOC company that was also touring at this time. The Barber of Seville and La bohème, which would be a mainstay of the Carl Rosa company for the rest of its existence, now make a prominent appearance.

The Edinburgh schedule was:

First week (commencing 15 Feb): Mon Madam Butterfly, Tue Samson and Delilah, Wed Barber of Seville, Thu Faust, Fri Bohème, Sat mat Carmen, Sat eve Bohemian Girl.

Second week (commencing 22 Feb): Mon Cav & Pag, Tue Rigoletto, Wed Butterfly, Thu Maritana, Fri Trovatore, Sat mat Bohème, Sat eve Carmen.

Glasgow saw all of the above, plus single performances of The Marriage of Figaro. An advertised performance of Fidelio, to be given on 26 March, was replaced by a further performance of Barber of Seville, according to the Glasgow Herald of 27 March. 

Dundee's programme was equally popular - Cav & PagBarberRigolettoBo GirlBohèmeButterfly and Maritana.

Performance Cast

Duke of Mantua

John Perry (Feb 23)

Horace Vincent (Mar 31)

Marullo a courtier

Hubert Dunkerley (Feb 23; Mar 31)

Countess Ceprano

Marguerite Anderson (Mar 31)

Rigoletto a jester

Flintoff Moore (Feb 23; Mar 31)

Count Monterone

Leslie Jones (Feb 23; Mar 31)

Sparafucile a professional assassin

John Kelly (Feb 23; Mar 31)

Gilda Rigoletto's daughter

Jennie Bleasdale (Feb 23)

Eda Bennie (Mar 31)

Giovanna Gilda's duenna

Ella Mayne (Mar 31)

Maddalena sister of Sparafucile

Olive Gilbert (Feb 23; Mar 31)

Performance DatesRigoletto 1926

Map List

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

23 Feb, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

9 Mar, 19.15 22 Mar, 19.15

King's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

31 Mar, 19.00

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