Leo, the Royal Cadet

Leo, the Royal Cadet. A Canadian 'military' opera in four acts, written in Kingston, Ont. The libretto is by George Frederick Cameron (1854-85) and the music, for chorus, 16 solo voices, and orchestra, was composed ca 1889 by Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann.

Leo, the Royal Cadet

Leo, the Royal Cadet. A Canadian 'military' opera in four acts, written in Kingston, Ont. The libretto is by George Frederick Cameron (1854-85) and the music, for chorus, 16 solo voices, and orchestra, was composed ca 1889 by Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann. First performed 11 Jul 1889 at Martin's Opera House (see Grand Theatre) in Kingston 'under the patronage of the Commandant and Staff and Gentlemen Cadets' of the nearby Royal Military College, the opera was published in vocal score in 1891 by John Henderson, a local bookseller. It was performed again in Kingston in 1893 at the opera house and at the college's armouries.

Incorporating elements of local colour, the opera traces the career of Leo before, during, and after he entered the college; his battle with the Zulus in Africa; his winning of the Victoria Cross; and his reunion with his true love, Nellie, on a village green on the St Lawrence River.

Telgmann and his wife Alida Jackson directed the work in several Ontario towns, from Ottawa to Woodstock, and in Utica, NY. More than 150 complete performances were given, the last in 1925 under the direction of Telgmann's daughter, Mignon. Various excerpts from Leo were performed at Music at Sharon in 1982 and in Toronto and Ottawa in 1990. Seven excerpts from the work were reprinted in CMH, vol 10.


Further Reading

  • Bourinot, Arthur S. Five Canadian Poets (Ottawa 1954)

    Waldhauer, Erdmute. Grand Theatre 1879-1979 (Kingston, Ont, 1979)