Her Majesty's Theatre | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Her Majesty's Theatre

Her (His) Majesty's Theatre. Montreal theatre located on Guy St and seating 1750 on a main floor and two balconies.

Her Majesty's Theatre

Her (His) Majesty's Theatre. Montreal theatre located on Guy St and seating 1750 on a main floor and two balconies. A property of the West End Theatre Co, it opened 7 Nov 1898 with The Ballet Girl, a musical comedy; and numerous orchestral concerts, recitals, plays, and presentations of opera and ballet occupied its elegant stage over the ensuing 65 years. In January 1899 Mr and Mrs Frank Murphy, the managers, welcomed the singers Marcella Sembrich, Thomas Salignac, Giuseppe Campanari, and Pol Plançon. On 2 October that year Victor Herbert's operetta The Singing Girl was given its world premiere with Alice Nielsen in the title role and the Canadian-born bass Eugene Cowles singing Duke Rodolphe. Jules Hone's opera The Grandee was also presented in 1899. The Charley Opera of New Orleans gave 20 performances of operas and operettas, followed by the Metropolitan Opera in 1899, the Savage Grand Opera (Otello in 1904, four performances of Parsifal in 1905), the Montreal Opera Company 1910-13, the National Opera Company of Canada 1913-14, the Quinlan English Opera (nine operas by Wagner in 1914, including the complete Ring of the Nibelungen), the Montreal Festivals 1940-6, and the Opera Guild of Montreal 1942-63, not to mention numerous touring companies such as the San Carlo, the Columbia, and the Salmaggi.

In 1900 the theatre was purchased by the powerful J.B. Sparrow Theatrical and Amusement Co which entrusted its management to F.F. Proctor. During the 1900-1 season and the first half of 1901-2 chamber music concerts, with local artists and guests, were held on Sundays, with matinee and evening performances. The J.-J. Goulet and Alfred De Sève string quartets were among the performing ensembles. The series was interrupted when the organizer was sentenced to one hour's imprisonment for violating the municipal by-law concerning the Lord's Day Observance Act. Among the orchestras that played there were the Goulet MSO 1907-10, the Canadian Grenadier Guards Band 1920-3, and the Montreal Orchestra 1931-41. The theatre also presented Marian Anderson, Ferruccio Busoni, Walter Gieseking, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Paul Robeson, and numerous other celebrities. Ca 1924 it was controlled by Theatrical Enterprises. Consolidated Theatres and United Theatres were the owners when it was demolished in 1963.

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