Holman English Opera Troupe

Holman English Opera Troupe. Probably the first organization to present opera on a regular basis in Canada. It was founded in the USA by George Holman (b New York 1814, d London, Ont, 1888) as the Holman Juvenile Opera Troupe.

Holman English Opera Troupe

Holman English Opera Troupe. Probably the first organization to present opera on a regular basis in Canada. It was founded in the USA by George Holman (b New York 1814, d London, Ont, 1888) as the Holman Juvenile Opera Troupe. In 1858, on its first appearance in Toronto, it included Holman, his wife, Harriet (or Harriett), and their children, Sallie, Julia, and Alfred. They returned in 1864 and 1866 as the Holman National Opera Troupe. In 1867 Holman became lessee and manager of Toronto's Royal Lyceum Theatre and his troupe was the theatre's resident company until 1873, presenting regular seasons of both plays and opera. The troupe also played in Montreal in 1861 and made frequent visits to that city 1871-81. Holman served in 1873 and 1876-8 as manager of the Theatre Royal in Montreal. In 1873 the family settled in London, Ont, and converted the Music Hall into the Holman Opera House. The troupe toured Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and the USA into the 1880s, presenting a repertoire of some 35 operas, including La Sonnambula, Il Trovatore, Orpheus in the Underworld, and Der Freischütz. In 1879 it gave the Canadian premiere of H.M.S. Pinafore. Singers included the then renowned W.H. Crane and Brookhouse Bowler. Sallie Holman (1852-1888) was the troupe's most celebrated star, and in the 1870s her appearance guaranteed a full house.


Further Reading

  • Langton, W.A. 'The Holmans in the 70s,' SatN, 22 Jan 1938

    Morey, Carl. 'Canada's first opera ensemble,' OpCan, Sep 1970

    Look at the Record

    'Opera in Montreal and Toronto'

    Hines, Frances Ruth. 'Concert Life in London, Ontario, 1870-1880,' MMUS thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1977