BartonMcGuckin (Tenor) 

Born Dublin 28 July 1852. Died Stoke Poges. England 17th April 1913  OBIT. Studied Armagh, Dublin & Milan. Appeared in concert from 1874. Stage debut in Birmingham with Carl Rosa 1878. Remained with Carl  Rosa  until 1887 Creating :

  • Phoebus in Goring Thomas's Esmeralda 1883  (with Georgina Burns & William Ludwig at Drury Lane)
  • Orso in Mackenzie's Colomba 1883 with Valleria
  • Waldemar in G Thomas's Nordissa 1887.

Appeared in USA 1887/8 at the Academy of Music. He rejoined C R in 1889-96

The role of Otello in Verdi's opera, was Probably one of the most important for him. He was one of the many famous singers who attended the first night of the first performance of Otello in Italian  in England at the Lyceum Theatre London on 5th July 1889.

He himself was the first person to sing this role in English in England. This was  at Manchester's Princes Theatre on 8 Oct 1892. It was  followed by performances in Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool ,Glasgow and Edinburtgh, and then over to Ireland in 1893 - to both Dublin and Belfast - with Duma in the role of  Desdemona and Marsh as Iago in both Cities.Eduard Hanslick the eminent critic wrote of McGuckin that :

    " This slender  young man with beardless, ruddy features was incomparably suited for the figure of the love-smitten Chevalier des Grieux......MacGuckin's high, bright  tenor a bit throaty in production fits his personality perfectly. He sings without great imagination,but with simple natural feeling. In this he catches the character of Des Greiux perfectly." - Hanslick's Music Criticisms

 Boosey the concert promoter recalled an amusing story about McGuckin :

    "Harris was sitting at his desk when Barton McGuckin ,the tenor , in a evident fury invaded your sanctum. It was during a dress rehersal I think of Nadeshda by Goring Thomas. Barton was indignant at a helmet he had been given to wear; said it made him look an idiot. Gus Harris put it on his own head and with a beautiful smile What is the matter with it Do I look an idiot" - Boosey

Nordica who was in London in 1889 had been persuaded by Jean De Reszke to sing Elsa in Lohengrin simultaneously Harris decided to mount Lohengrin for the Italian debut of McGuckin so it was decided that they would perform together, unfortunately McGuckin injured his ankle and was unable to go on Stage at the last moment  his place being taken by Antonio d'Andrade (Brother of the Famous  Baritone)

McGuckin and a Technological First

A startling piece of information has just come to me  from Tom Wall of Telecom Eireann, Museum of Communications it is as follows From Freeman's Journal  Dublin 23/4/1883 - (Note the Date !!)

    " We understand that the Dublin public are to be afforded an opportunity of familiarising themselves with the workings of the telephone at the bazaar for the Coombe Hospital, to be held by the kind permission of the Senate of the Royal University in their buildings , Earlsfort  Terrace formerly the" Exhibition Palace on Tuesday and Wedensday the 1st and 2nd of May.Those who were  so fortunate as to be able to visit the electrical  exhibition of Paris in 1881 will remember the great interest manifested in the working of the telephone. Though the instrument had been known  for  some time to  scientific men , the knowledge of it had not become popularised, and it was looked on as little more than a scientific toy till its powers were so fully demonstrated on that occassion by the connection established by its means between the building---The Champs Elysees and the Opera House. The crowds who then strove to gain admission  into the room where it was exhibited, and their amazment  at hearing so accurately and clearly the performance going on in the distant theatre proved this to be one of the most attractive departments of that very attractive  exhibition. We are glad therefore to learn that visitors to this bazaar will be enabled  to study the working of the wonderful instrument, which is now becoming a neccessity in every business establishment and almost every household.Through the kindness of Mr. Gunn proprietor of the Gaiety Theatre and of Mr. Carl Rosa whose  Opera Company will be performing there at the time, the bazaar committee have been permitted to connect the building with the stage of The Gaiety so that the performance may be distinctly heard and even the movements and attitudes of the performers  appreciated"  ......The Operas  heard over the telephone were Trovatore and  Colomba (Mackenzie) the singers on the occassion being McGuckin, Valleria & Ludwig..Freeman's Journal 2/5/1883. "In an adjecent room  the phonograph or talking machine was on exhibition, where the auditors were treated to a ditty from the voice of Barton M'Guckin, for this gentleman had kindly confided his rendering of "When other lips" to the machine in the early part of the day...... In the evening the bazaar was reopened .....In the telephone room a large crowd flocked to listen to the opera of  Il Trovatore at the Gaiety Theatre. The different airs , chorouses and the music from the orchestra were distinctly audible while the noisy gods and their temporary Appolos were also to be clearly heard..." - Freeman's Journal  Dublin 23/4/1883

This must be the first broadcast of an Opera in Ireland. However I think that the most important item is  the fact that McGuckin made a recording as early as 1883. The first  commercial recordings that were made in Ireland were made by Berliner in 1899. I am very fortunate to have two of them.One made in Dublin and one made in Belfast. In Dublin in 1907 The Irish International Exhibition was held - Barton M'Guckin was appointed musical Director.

McGuckin Cronology I am working on this any information most gratefully received, especially about his performances in the USA in 1887/8

I have a number of programmes and some photographs of him but I would be happy to acquire  any that are for sale.


As far as I know he made two records in London in 1905

Dark Green Zonophone 42279. Avenging and Bright

Dark Green Zonophone. 42280. Savourneen Deelish

I am lookings for copies of these or any others

  Beginning of a Chronology



Her Majesties. 28 Jan  Moro printer of Antwerp (Balfe. ) Valleria, Crotty, D Thomas, H D'Egville, Warwick c Rosa. First perf in England 


TR DL 26 March. Esmeralda ( Goring Thomas) G Burns, Ludwig, Crotty as Quasimodo, C Perry, L Don, Stilliard,B Davies as Gringoire, Snazelle, C Randegger. ( World Prem. ) 

TR DL 9 April  Colomba ( ( Mackenzie ) Valleria, Pope, Baldini, F Novara, C Perry, Ludwig, Esmond, B Davies a Sergeant. E Collins,  c  Mackenzie 

Theatre Royal Huddersfield. 13 Dec. Colomba (Mackenzie) M Roze, Popre, Albu, Snazelle, C Perry, Ludwig, B.Davies as Sergeant.  c Gossens 

29th December.Barnsley Public Hall. Carl Rosa.  Carmen:. Don Jose. McGuckin,  Escamilo L Crotty,          Carmen. M Roze  Michaela A Albu. Dancairo G H Snazelle. Condt E Gossens 


TR DL  15 April  Carmen, M Roze, B Baldi, Crotty, Leumane, Snazelle, Pope Campbell, Stewart, c Randegger 

TR DL 17 April. Colomba (Mackenzie) M Roze, H Pope, B Baldi, B Foote, C Perry, Ludwig, . c  Gossens 

TR DL 18 April Mignon. G Burns, C Perry as Mignon, Crotty,M Burton, Leumane King, c Gossens 


17 Jan. Liverpool. Manon: with M Roze, Carl Rosa Co. 
Carl Rosa Co. 

7 May London.  Drury Lane. Manon with M Roze, & Ludwig. 

Theatre Royal Drury Lane. 12 May  Nadeshda ( Goring Thomas)  Valleria, J Yorke, L Crotty, W H Burgon.c. Randegger 

TR D L  14 May  Esmeralda.G Burns, Ludwig, Crotty, Bensberg, Sugden, Ben Davies as Gringroire, G H Snazelle. c Randegger 

TR D L 15 May  Nadeshda. Cast as 12th 


TR DL 8 June THe Troubadour ( Mackenzie ) Valleria, Crotty, M Burton Vadini,B Foote. H Beaumont.c Mackenzie. 

TR DL 10 June Nadeshda, G Burns, J Dickerson, Crotty, Eugene, C  Rosa 

TR DL  12 June, The Troubadour cast as 8  June 

TR DL  30 April Marie Roze,Crotty,A Cook, Fanny Moody,W Esmond, Pope, Campbell,Presano.Dickerson. c Rosa 


TR DL  30 April Marie Roze,Crotty,A Cook, Fanny Moody,W Esmond, Pope, Campbell,Presano.Dickerson. c Rosa 

TR D L 2 May Bohemian Girl.G Burns, F H Celli, W Esmond, A Cook, M Burton, Burgess, c Gossens 

TR DL 4 May. Nordisa (Corder) G Burns, J Sauvage, M Eugene, A Cook, L Vadini, J Gaylord as Nordisa (World Prem) 

TR DL  5 May Carmen  as previous 

TR DL  7 May Carmen (  Matinee ) cast as  Previous 

TR DL 7 May Nordisa cast as 4th 


Royal English Opera House  London. 12 Nov. Ivanhoe.  Thudichum, Salmond, Brownlow, M Henson, Kenningham 


Balmoral Castle. 13 Nov. Fra Diavolo. Z de Lussan, A Marsh, R Thomas, A Cooke, L Pringle, Amadi, c Jacquinot Royal Command Performance 


Damnation of Faust/Liverpool. Opera House.3rd Feb.Margaret De Lussan,Faust McGuckin,Mefistofele,Brander Pringle.Condt Halle(First Perf) Jacquinot later perfs.. This was the first time on an English Stage. (All from Book of Words) 


5th March. Damnation of Faust..Theatre Royal Nottingham. Faust McGuckin,  Margaret A Esty, Mefistofele A Marsh, Brander W Sheffield. Condt. Jacquinot 


Daly's Theatre. London 23 Jan. Lohengrin. Ella Russell,  C Poole Ludwig, L Pringle,  c Eckhold 

Daly's Theatre London.  1 Feb. (Matinee) Carmen. De Lussan, M Hunt, W Paull, A S Winckwothr, F Wood, . C Jacquinot 


© Derek Walsh 1995



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