December 1858: Saturday Evening Concerts in the City Hall – Mdlle. Vaneri, Miss Aitken, Miss Magee, Mr Tedder, Mr Maclagan, Mrs Alexander, and Mr Lambeth

An article on page five of The Glasgow Herald, on Monday the 13th of December, 1858, reads:




An overwhelming audience rewarded the exertions of the directors of these concerts on Saturday evening, for the

very capital entertainment they brought forward. First, we had Mdlle. Vaneri, whom we venture to pronounce as

the very first soprano singer who has appeared at these concerts. Her rendering of the well-known Casta Diva from

Norma was very charming, and her pronunciation and knowledge of the English and Scotch songs, for a Frenchwoman,

were perfectly marvellous. She is evidently destined to take a high position on the lyric stage, and fulfill the

bright anticipations so generally made at her debut at Drury Lane last season. Next, we had our old favourite, Miss

Aitken, who was greeted with a perfect furore of applause. Her readings were Tennyson’s ‘May Queen,’ and Burns’

‘Cottar’s Saturday Night.’ Two years ago, we criticised these readings, and we are now more than ever of opinion that

there never has been presented to the public an entertainment so elevating, so pure, and, at the same time, so acceptable,

as Miss Aitken’s reading of the ‘May Queen,’ with Mr. Lambeth’s thrilling and telling accompaniment on the organ.

The successful reading of poetry of this high class to a musical Saturday night audience, is, in our opinion, a great

fact, and gives the lie to the common opinion that our working millions cannot appreciate the higher creations of

genius. Then we had another old favourite, Miss Magee, also, Mr. Tedder, a cultivated singer, but rather weak for so

large a hall; and last, but not least, that ‘admirable Crichton’ of concerts, Mr. Maclagan, who, although he can do

many things fairly, still we prefer when, as on last night, he selects such as he really can do well, indeed, in the

execution of the sword dance, so far as we are aware, he is without a rival. Our friends are also most fortunate with

their pianiste. Mrs. Alexandre [sic] is really most excellent, either as an accompanist or as a solo player, and in every

respect fulfills our anticipation that a lady pianist would prove a great attraction to these concerts.


Before concluding, we may notice that the directors have taken Mr. Bell’s New Rooms for New Year Day’s Evening,

and for the Monday evenings in January, when, with the first-class talent they can command, they will be enabled to

give to our citizens in the West a series of entertainments, which cannot fail to be most extensively patronised.”




“Mr. Bell’s Rooms” are, of course, the Queen’s Rooms, entries for which can be found elsewhere on the website.



George Fairfull-Smith, August 2021.