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 later 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 Edinburgh View

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.''


A Dundee Perspective

The Dundee Courier & Argus: Thursday, April 1 1926.

Carl Rosa Opera at the King's - Verdi's Rigoletto

'It was satisfactory to note on entering the King's Theatre, Dundee, last night, that the attendance was better than on either of the two previous nights, though it must be admitted that there were more vacant chairs than one wishes to see in a theatre during Carl Rosa week.  Having already pointed out the danger of small attendances, we do not wish to stretch the point further, but would express the hope that the remaining three nights will see the house well filled as it certainly deserves to be.

'Last night the opera so excellently played was Verdi's Rigoletto, the work which brought the composer into the front rank of the operatic writers of the day, and proved at once his genius and his popularity. Musically it is, perhaps, not so magnificent as one or two of his later productions, but, nevertheless, it has enough dramatic skill and passionate intensity to mark it out as an opera well worth the popularity it has enjoyed since its first triumphant performance.  Its music is full of colour, of the highest harmonies, and of artistic appropriateness, and, withal, there is a splendid scope for acting.  This was a point that the Carl Rosa Company made plain, for throughout the whole performance the acting was of the highest order.

'The honours of the evening must go to Mr Flintoff Moore as the tragic jester Rigoletto.  His performance of Monday was eclipsed easily by that of last night.  His voice was in superb condition and he used it to perfection. Every syllable was sounded, every tone told, and although his singing was of high merit in everything, his best items wer ''In Pity Hear Me'', ''the duet with Gild in Act III, ''Near The Holy Altar'', and, early in the eavening, ''Yon Assassin.''  Moreover, his acting was unquestionably fine,  and the unstinted applause accorded was deserved.  A pathetice, emotional, and tragic figure, Rigoletto had his audience spellbound at times with the fervour of his love and of his hate.  Mr Moore must indeed be complimented for such a portrayal of the character.

'As his daughter Gilda, Miss Eda Bennie was perhaps not quite so successful, although her performance, too, was distinctly pleasing. It seemed as though she were straining after her high notes occasisonally and her singing of ''Dear Name,'' although technically correct, was somehow devoid of that sweet sentimentality that has made this number so famous.  She really sang more effectively in the concerted numbers.  Her acting, however, was praiseworthy from start to finish, and perhaps her voice is not wuite accustomed to the colder air of the North, a fact which would easily account for the slight huskiness last night.

'Another member of the Company who worthily upheld a valuable reputation was Mr Horace Vincent as the amorous Duke of Mantua.  His singing was altogether excellent, clear as a bell, and very happy in enunciation.  His great song was, of course, ''La donna e mobile'' and the audience, by a wave of the conductor's finger,  was deprived of an encore. In the concerted numbers Mr Vincent was also heard to excellent advantage.  His debonair presence and natural ability supplied all the histrionic powers that were necessary for him to carry on his part to a distinguished exit.

'Miss Olive Gilbert deputised for Miss Doris Woodall as Maddalena, and gave quite an effective rendering. She had not much to do and was at times outsung by Mr Vincent's robust tenor, but her one short song, ''Oh, Shall He Perish?' was full of an exquisite pathos.  Like that of the others, her acting was a telling accomplishment.  The best concerted number was the well-known ''Fairest Daughter of the Graces'' quartette.

'Others prominent in the lesser parts were Miss Marguerite Anderson as Countess Ceprano; Miss Ella Mayne as Giovanna; Mr John Kelly as Sparafucile; Mr Leslie Jones as Count Monterone; and Mr Hubert Dunkerley as Marullo.  Mr Thomas McGuire again conducted in his usual quiet but effective style, and the orchestra, under his direction, played sympathetically throughout.

'Preceding the opera, the ballet from Gounod's Faust was performed by Miss Ailne Phillips, assisted by Miss Jean Brody and other six young ladies.  Their dancing was a joy to witness, nimbleness and grace in every movement, and always in excellent time.  The dances were arranged by Mdlle Lydia Kyasht.  Mr McGuire also conducted the Gounod music, and it was beautifully executed by the orchestra.

'To-night The Bohemian Girl is being played, and a full house should witness it.'


1926 Scottish Tour Itinerary (seven weeks)

This tour from 15 February to 3 April 1926, visited Edinburgh Royal Lyceum (two weeks), Glasgow Theatre Royal (four) and Dundee King's (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 tour schedule was:

Edinburgh First week (w/c 15 Feb): Mon 15 Madam Butterfly; Tue 16 Samson and Delilah; Wed 17 Barber of Seville; Thu 18 Faust; Fri 19 Bohème; Sat 20 mat Carmen; Sat 20 eve Bohemian Girl.

Edinburgh Second week (w/c 22 Feb): Mon 22 Cav & Pag; Tue 23 Rigoletto; Wed 24 Butterfly; Thu 25 Maritana; Fri 26 Trovatore; Sat 27 mat Bohème; Sat 27 eve Carmen.

Glasgow First week (w/c 1 Mar): Mon 1 Mar Carmen; Tue 2 Mar Barber of Seville; Wed 3 Madam Butterfly; Thu 4 Trovatore; Fri 5 Faust; Sat 6 mat Samson and Delilah; Sat 6 eve Cav & Pag.

Glasgow Second week (w/c 8 Mar): Mon 8 Bohème; Tue 9 Rigoletto; Wed 10 The Marriage of Figaro. Thu 11 Bohemian Girl; Fri 12 Madam Butterfly; Sat 13 mat Carmen; Sat 13 eve Maritana.

Glasgow Third week (w/c 15 Mar): Mon 15 Cav & Pag; Tue 16 Trovatore; Wed 17 Barber of Seville; Thu 18 Samson and Delilah; Fri 19 Bohème; Sat 20 mat Faust; Sat 20 eve Carmen.

Glasgow Fourth week (w/c 22 Mar): Mon 22 Rigoletto; Tue 23 Madam Butterfly; Wed 24 Bohème; Thu 25 Faust; Fri 26* Barber of Seville; Sat 27 mat Trovatore; Sat 27 eve Bohemian Girl.

*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 (w/c 29 Mar): Mon 29 Cav & Pag; Tue 30 Barber of Seville; Wed 31 Rigoletto; Thu 1 Apr Bohemian Girl; Fri 2 Bohème; Sat 3 mat Madam Butterfly; Sat 3 eve 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

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2024

Site by SiteBuddha