Opera Scotland

Barbiere di Siviglia 1956Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Barber of Seville

Glasgow Opinion

A short review is given in the Glasgow Herald (12 May).

"In the past the Barber of Seville has not always been one of the Carl Rosa's strongest cards.  At the Theatre Royal, Glasgow last night, however, they played Rossini's opera in a manner which must surely rank it high among the productions of their present season.

''The pace was constantly brisk, and the ability was there to make the most of Rossini's effervescent score and draw an abundance of humour from one ridiculous situation after another. 

''John Heddle Nash made an excellent Figaro, lively and full of guile, and brought off his 'factotum' song in splendid fashion.  Glenice Halliday, a mezzo-soprano as Rossini would have wished, and William Aitken gave a good account of the highly ornamental songs set for Rosina and Count Almaviva, and the comedy of Joseph Satariano (Dr Bartolo) and Stanislav Pieczora was first rate.

''The orchestra, under Arthur Hammond, helped to add sparkle to this delightful entertainment."


When the Carl Rosa company closed, several of its singers transferred to the Sadler's Wells organisation, including this Count, Figaro and Glasgow Basilio.  The Dundee conductor, Anthony Addison, is best remembered for his contribution to music for the cinema. Carl Rosa management continued to the end to innovate, and with The Barber of Seville, popular old war-horse that it was, they were among the earliest companies to restore the part of Rosina to its original mezzo pitch.


And Dundee

Dundee Courier & Advertiser: Wednesday, October 24, 1956

Comedy night at the opera

'A strange thing about opera is that, while stentorian dramatic tenors and sopranos giving vent to high Cs represent its peaks for the devotee, nearly every opera lover likes to dote once in a while on the comic masterpieces of the repertoire.  Last night at the Gaumont, Dundee, the Carl Rosa gave this chance by presenting what the box-office has usually proved to be the king-pin opera buffa - Rossini's exuberant Barber of Seville.

'There were two changes among the five leading principal singers compared with the last production by the Carl Rosa in Dundee.   They were Glenice Halliday, who had some unusual vocal pleasures to offer as Rosina, and Donald Campbell, whose Don Basilio was a richly humorous caricature.  The former had more contralto timbre than the usual run of singers selected for Rosina.  So for once we heard the lower notes satisfactorily performed as well as the upper register.  Her coloratura passages were fluently agile and I enjoyed her archness in the letter scene and the singing lesson.  Don Basilio's magnificently hooked nose did not seem to incommode Mr. Campbell, whose “Slander's Whisper” aria was a brilliant piece of singing.

'How successful this company is in suiting voices to parts was shown by William Aitken as the Count - a tenor with grace, and suavity, plus high technical accomplishment in the roulades and florid ornaments.  Figaro, the barber of boundless intrigue, was sung and acted by John Heddle Nash less boisterously than by some exponents.  But his wit and gaiety had the valuable subtlety of restraint, and most of all one admired his pure unforced baritone.

'Joseph Satariano, the veteran baritone, whose career has embraced a memorable Rigoletto, repeated his deliciously amusing performance as Dr Bartolo. His crotchety old guardian sparkled with the gems of a vast experience.

'The pace throughout was a cracking one, and the concerted pieces, like the work of the singers individually, had a pleasant quality of gaiety.  It bubbled to a high pitch in the delicious elopement scene near the end, in which Rossini seemed to be mocking operatic tradition in the trio by Figaro, the Count and Rosina - “Let Us Fly By Yonder Window”, etc.

'Much of the enjoyment was due to the delicate orchestral playing under Anthony Addison.'


Dundee Evening Telegraph: Wednesday, October 24, 1956      No Review 


The Carl Rosa Opera Company in Scotland - 1956

Unusually, the tour elements were split many months apart, with Glasgow in May and Dundee October.

The eleven operas toured during the season were by Mozart (Don Giovanni);  Rossini (Barber of Seville); Wagner (Tannhäuser);  Verdi (Rigoletto,  Trovatore);  Gounod (Faust);  Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Puccini (Manon Lescaut,  Bohème);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana).

A comparison with the previous 1955 touring repertoire shows that in order to add the rare Manon Lescaut the far more popular Carmen was dropped.  It is noticeable that Tannhäuser is not taken to Dundee in either year, though it was played there often enough in the early decades of the century.

The full Scottish tour schedule was:

Glasgow, w/c 7 May:  Mon 7 Cav & Pag;  Tue 8 Don Giovanni;  Wed 9 Tales of Hoffmann;  Thu 10 Manon Lescaut;  Fri 11 Barber of Seville;  Sat 12 mat Don Giovanni;  Sat 12 eve Rigoletto.

Glasgow, w/c 14 May;  Mon 14 Faust;  Tue 15 Tannhäuser;  Wed 16 Bohème;  Thu 17 Barber of Seville;  Fri 18 Manon Lescaut;  Sat 19 mat Cav & Pag;  Sat 19 eve Trovatore.

Dundee, w/c 22 October:  Mon 22 Faust;  Tue 23  Barber of Seville;  Wed 24 Cav & Pag;  Thu 25 Don Giovanni;  Fri 26 Manon Lescaut;  Sat 27 mat Bohème;  Sat 27 eve Tales of Hoffmann

Cast details for Dundee are from a programme in the OperaScotland archive.

Performance Cast

Fiorello servant of the Count

Frederick Wood (Oct 23)

Count Almaviva

William Aitken (May 11; Oct 23)

Figaro a barber

John Heddle Nash (May 11; Oct 23)

Rosina Bartolo's ward

Glenice Halliday (May 11; Oct 23)

Bartolo a doctor, Rosina's guardian

Joseph Satariano (May 11; Oct 23)

Ambrogio Bartolo's servant

Edwin Jepps (Oct 23)

Don Basilio a singing teacher

Stanislav Pieczora (May 11)

Donald Campbell (Oct 23)

Berta Bartolo's housekeeper

Lydia Conway (Oct 23)


Frederick Wood (Oct 23)

Performance DatesBarbiere di Siviglia 1956

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

11 May, 19.15 17 May, 19.15

Gaumont Theatre | Dundee

23 Oct, 19.00

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