Powys Digital History Project 

Upper Swansea Valley
Craig-y-nos Castle 6
by Len Ley

A grand opening
The alterations to Craig-y-nos continued and the red sandstone highlighted the new extensions.

newly extended by
Madam Patti,
from the slopes
of Cribarth

Photograph by
kind permission of
Brecknock Museum

Craig-y-nos after alterations

The theatre at the mansion was a remarkable addition and could hold 150 people. It was designed as a private auditorium where an international Queen of Song could enthral with her remarkable voice, all those who came to listen.

The opening ceremony took place on the 12th July 1891, when the list of guests included the Spanish Ambassador and Baron Julius Reuter, founder of the Foreign News Agency. Sir Henry Irving was to have given the opening address but was unable to attend and a leading actor, William Terris, deputised for him. This unfortunate man was assassinated by a ‘madman’ outside the Adelphi Theatre in London, some six years later.

The theatre at

Photograph by
kind permission of
Brecknock Museum

Theatre at Craig-y-nos

Stars of the opera world came to the opening banquet and the ceremony that followed. Signor Arditi led the 20 piece orchestra that accompanied the Prima Donna and Nicholini in the first of many performances held during the week of the festival. Music and song echoed across the valley over years to follow

The Diva’s passion for dancing was catered for by mechanically lifting the auditorium floor to stage level, thus allowing Adelina to waltz with her friends far in to the night. She would sing to the high and the humble providing they loved music and understood it’s meaning.
Time passed and Nicholini’s health began to fail and sea air was prescribed. He stayed at Llangland Bay on Gower for a while and then travelled to Pau in South East France, where he died in January 1898.   

  There are 10 pages on Craig-y-nos. Use the box links below to view the other pages.