Opera Scotland

Mignon 1919Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Mignon

The senior management of the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company during the 1919 spring tour was headed by two 'Controlling Directors', Mrs Carl Rosa, widow of the founder and Walter van Noorden, who had conducted them over many years. The Artistic Director was the experienced bass Arthur Winckworth, still active on stage, and the General Business Manager was Henry Barrett Brandreth. Conducting duties were divided between Henriquez de la Fuente and Herbert Ferrers. 

The week commencing 27 January was the last week of opera to be seen in Dundee  for several years. Her Majesty's, a beautiful, atmospheric, popular - and profitable - theatre since 1885, was about to be purchased by a London-based cinema company. This event caused widespread outrage, but was a fait accompli, never to be reversed.

Mignon had been a fixture of the Carl Rosa repertoire, but it was now, it seems, losing its attraction - this was almost its last appearance on a Scottish tour - only 1920 to go.

The Aberdeen Press and Journal (24 January) reviewed the Carl Rosa Company's Mignon, noting that  the Company had claimed the performing rights since their first tour around forty years previously.

Several Dundee newspapers could be expected to review theatrical events.  For the single performance of Mignon, on the Friday evening, the Advertiser covered it, where the Courier and Evening Telegraph did not.


A Curious Punter

The letter below highlights the fact that Aberdeen performances now took place in the handsome Edwardian His Majesty's Theatre.  Built ten years earlier, it had a substantially higher seating capacity than the older (1885) Her Majesty's Theatre in Dundee.  This clearly permitted the Carl Rosa company to budget for higher ticket sales at lower prices to generate a similar income in Aberdeen to that in Dundee.

It may also reflect the fact that after the war Dundee was still a prosperous inductrial centre whose middle classes might be assumed to have deeper pockets than their Aberdonian neighbours.

Dundee Courier & Argus: Thursday, January 23, 1919

Letters to the Editor - Carl Rosa Opera Company


            As one who has booked seats for next week for some of the operas I was much astonished to discover in yesterday's Aberdeen newspapers the above Company's list of prices for booked seats in Aberdeen compared to what I was compelled to pay in Dundee.

                                                                        Aberdeen                      Dundee

                        Dress Circle                                4s 3d                           5s 9d

                        Orchestra Stalls                          4s 9d                           4s 9d

                        Parterre Stalls                             3s 6d                             

                        Upper Circle                               2s 4d                           3s 6d


I am &c.



The Carl Rosa management's reaction to bad news

Dundee Advertiser: Monday, 3 March, 1919    (p4)

Correspondence - Theatreless Dundee

            Sir, - A very great number of Dundee residents have during the last few weeks written to ask when the Carl Rosa Opera Company was due for a return visit to Dundee.  At the time of receiving these various letters I was in a position to state that we had entered into tentative arrangements for a return visit of two weeks next December, commencing upon the 22nd.  I have just, however, received the information that the only theatre in the town (unless one counts the local music hall as a theatre) is to be turned into a picture house.  We are in the position, therefore, of being quite willing to visit your town upon the date in question, but being quite barred owing to Dundee being without a theatre.

            Both Mr Van Noorden and Mrs Rosa desire me to express their gratification at the reception recently accorded to the Carl Rosa Company both by the press and public of Dundee.

I am &c.

Hry B Brandreth.


Press Comment in Aberdeen

Aberdeen Press and Journal:  Friday, 24 January 1919

'Last night's performance brought into prominence one member of the Carl Rosa combination not previously heard.  Miss Clara Simons was in this role.  This lady is endowed with a voice of charming quality, a trifle light perhaps, but sweet and melodious.... Mr Hughes Macklin made an ideal Wilhelm; Mr Arthur Winckworth's Lothario was consistent, and Mr Frederick Clendon's Laertes full of comedy point.  Miss Gladys Parr, too, made a good deal out of the part of Frederick. The chorus did excellent service, and the orchestra was probably at its very best in the accompaniments. The overture and the introductories to the second and third acts were givena splendid rendering, and the gavotte, the chief theme of the opera, was skillfully played.  Mignon, from all points, was one of the most finished of the week's operas.'


A Dundee Opinion

Dundee Advertiser: Saturday, February 1, 1919     (p3)

Carl Rosa Opera in Dundee

'The too brief visit of the Carl Rosa Company ends to night. In every respect it has been one of the most successful ever paid to Her Majesty's Theatre.  Last night the opera was Mignon, which has not been given in Dundee for some years.  Strictly speaking, Mignon is opera comique rather than grand opera - that is, spoken dialogue is occasionally used.   But whether technically “grand” or not, none who attended last night's performance will deny its excellence.

'The music is always tuneful and clearly constructed, and at times is of a very pathetic, if not passionate character.  Detached airs are frequent, and the principal singers are provided with good material for vocal effect.  The beautiful and well-known setting of 'Know'st thou the land' is one of the most welcome of those numbers.  It was rendered with tender feeling and expression by Miss Clara Simons, who gave a touching representation of the heroine; and in the rouge and powder puff scene exhibited an unexpected turn for humour.

'One of the finest vocal performances was Miss Florence Barron's rendering of the florid and difficult Polonaise.  The celebrated Gavotte lost nothing of its point and grace at the hands of Miss Gladys Parr.  Mr Lovat Crosley was the Wilhelm, and an excellent one he made.  The music suited his voice and style, and he was particularly successful with the simple and melodious romance 'In her simplicity'.

'As the actor Laertes, Mr Clendon was easily and irresistibly amusing; while Mr Winckworth's rich bass in solo, duet or trio was of great service in the character of the rather lugubrious Lothario.  The band was a continuous delight.'



The Carl Rosa Scottish Tours in 1919

The 1919 season consisted of one week at Aberdeen’s His Majesty’s Theatre (HMT), then one week at Dundee’s Her Majesty’s Theatre (HMT). There followed four weeks at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal (TR). Following a break of one week, when the company made a detour to Greenock King's Theatre (KT), there were two weeks at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum (RLT), then later still another two in Glasgow (TR). Ten weeks, followed by a further three in December to give thirteen. The original intention had been to return to Dundee for two weeks over Christmas and New Year (see letter above), but the theatre was no longer available.  By now, the Carl Rosa organisation was running a number of separate companies, the Phillips section giving the December performances.

Aberdeen (HMT), w/c 20 January:  Mon 20 Tales of Hoffmann Tue 21 Tosca; Wed 22 Tannhäuser;  Thu 23  Mignon;  Fri 24 Carmen; Sat 25 m Madam Butterfly; Sat 25 e Faust.

Dundee (HMT), w/c 27 January:  Mon 27 Tales of Hoffmann; Tue 28 Tannhäuser; Wed 29 Faust; Thu 30 Madam Butterfly; Fri 31 Mignon; Sat 1 Feb m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat 1 Feb e Trovatore. 

Glasgow (TR), w/c  3 February:  Mon 3 Tannhäuser; Tue 4  Bohème; Wed 5 Madam Butterfly; Thu 6 Trovatore; Fri 7 Tosca; Sat 8 m Mignon; Sat 8 e Tales of Hoffmann.. 

Glasgow (TR), w/c 10 February:  Mon 10 Cav  & Pag; Tue 11 Faust; Wed 12 Carmen; Thu 13 Tales of Hoffmann;  Fri 14 Madam Butterfly; Sat 15 m Tosca; Sat 15 e Maritana.

Glasgow (TR), w/c 17 February:  Mon 17 Bohème; Tue 18 Tannhäuser; Wed 19 Mignon; Thu 20 Cav & Pag; Fri 21 Don Giovanni; Sat 22 m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat 22 e Trovatore.

Glasgow (TR), w/c 24 February:  Mon 24 Carmen; Tue 25 Rigoletto; Wed 26 Carmen; Thu 27 Faust; Fri 28  Tannhäuser; Sat 1 March m Madam Butterfly; Sat 1 e Bohemian Girl.

Greenock (KT), w/c 3 March  Mon 3 Company at King's Theatre, Greenock.

Edinburgh (RLT), w/c 10 March:  Mon 10 Tales of Hoffmann; Tue 11 Tosca;  Wed 12 Faust; Thu 13  Madam Butterfly; Fri 14  Don Giovanni; Sat 15 m Cav & Pag; Sat 15 e Maritana.

Edinburgh (RLT), w/c 17 March:  Mon 17 Tosca; Tue 18 Tales of Hoffmann; Wed 19  Tannhäuser; Thu 20 Bohème; Fri 21 Carmen; Sat 22 m Mignon; Sat 23 e Trovatore.

Glasgow (TR), w/c 30 June:  Mon 30 Tales of Hoffmann; Tue 1 July Carmen; Wed 2 Mignon; Thu 3  Cav & Pag; Fri 4 Three Masks; Sat 5 m Madam Butterfly; Sat 5 e Faust.

Glasgow (TR), w/c 7 July:  Mon 7 Three Masks; Tue 8 Trovatore; Wed 9 Daughter of the Regiment; Thu 10 Carmen; Fri 11 Marriage of Figaro; Sat 12 m Tales of Hoffmann; Sat 12 e Maritana.

Glasgow (TR), w/c  1 December:  Mon 1 Tales of Hoffmann; Tue 2 Carmen; Wed 3 Faust; Thu 4 Cav & Pag; Fri 5 Tannhäuser; Sat 6 m Romeo and Juliet; Sat 6 e Rigoletto.

Glasgow (TR), w/c 8 December:  Mon 8 Cav & Pag; Tue 9 Trovatore; Wed 10 Romeo and Juliet; Thu 11 Lily of Killarney; Fri 12 Faust; Sat 13 m Traviata; Sat 13 e Tales of Hoffmann.

Glasgow (TR),  w/c 15 December:  Mon 15 Carmen; Tue 16 Tannhäuser; Wed 17 Maritana; Thu 18 Rigoletto; Fri 19 Romeo and Juliet; Sat 20 m Cav & Pag; Sat 20 e Tales of Hoffmann.


Fifteen weeks @seven performances = one hundred and five

Thirteen Tales of Hoffmann

Eight Carmen; Tannhäuser; Faust

Seven; Madam Butterfly; Cav and Pag

Six Mignon

Five Trovatore; Tosca

Four Cav and Pag; Maritana

Three Bohème; Romeo and Juliet

Two Three Masks; Don Giovanni; Rigoletto

One Marriage of Figaro; Daughter of the Regiment; Bohemian Girl; Traviata; Lily of Killarney


Cast details for Aberdeen, Thursday 23 January are from a programme in Aberdeen City Library. Those for Dundee, Friday 1 February, compiled from reviews in the Dundee Advertiser.  The Dundee Courier & Argus and Dundee Evening Telegraph & Post did not cover it (all in Dundee City Library).

Performance Cast

Mignon stolen in childhood

Clara Simons (Jan 23, 31)

Philine an actress

Florence Barron (Jan 23, 31)

Frédéric a young nobleman

Gladys Parr (Jan 23, 31)

Wilhelm Meister a student

Hughes Macklin (Jan 23)

Lovat Crosley (Jan 31; Mar 22)

Laërte an actor

Frederick Clendon (Jan 23, 31)

Lothario a wandering minstrel

Arthur Winckworth (Jan 23, 31)

Jarno a gypsy

George Gorst (Jan 23)

Performance DatesMignon 1919

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

23 Jan, 19.30

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

31 Jan, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

8 Feb, 14.00 8 Feb, 19.15 19 Feb, 19.15 19 Mar, 19.15 2 Jul, 19.15

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

22 Mar, 14.00

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