Opera Scotland

King Arthur 2

Music

John More Smieton (born Dundee 1857; died Broughty Ferry, 13 July 1904)

Text

James Smieton

Source

Le Morte d'Arthur attributed to Sir Thomas Malory (d1471).

 

Premieres

First Performance: Broughty Ferry (Volunteer Hall), 3 December 1889.

 

Background

John More Smieton was a member of a prosperous family of jute manufacturers. He studied music privately in Dundee before taking a degree in music at Edinburgh University and studying further in Manchester and London. However the early death of his father obliged him to work running the family jute business in partnership with his brother.

He composed songs and piano solos as well as choral settings and one orchestral overture. He produced no symphonies, concertos or operas. The Dramatic Cantata form was extremely popular in late Victorian times, examples including Sullivan (The Golden Legend) and Elgar (Caractacus, King Olaf). Smieton had one attempt, Pearl, as a juvenile, and as a mature composer produced three, all to libretti by his brother James. These are Ariadne (1884), King Arthur (1889) and Connla (1900). It was King Arthur that enjoyed particular success, receiving 100 performances around the UK by the time of the composer's death.

 

Characters

King Arthur (tenor)

Merlin, a magician (baritone)

Guinevere (soprano)

Sir Bedivere, a knight (baritone)

The Cast

Guinevere
 
King Arthur
 
Merlin
 a magician
Sir Bedivere
 a knight

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