Opera Scotland

Edward Elgar Suggest updates

Sir Edward William Elgar.

Born Broadheath, Worcestershire, 2 June 1857.

Died Worcester, 23 February 1934.

English composer.

It was only at the end of his career that Elgar found a suitable subject for an opera.

However The Spanish Lady, with a libretto by Sir Barry Jackson, the famous director of Birmingham Rep, and derived from Ben Jonson's excellent Jacobean comedy The Devil is an Ass, was only sketched out at the time of his death.

As with his Third Symphony, Piano Concerto and other pieces, attempts have been made to develop this material. Sadly, there is scarcely enough surviving for this purpose.

Earlier in his career, Elgar produced several oratorios and dramatic concert pieces. In recent times The Dream of Gerontius has continued to justify its popularity, and the two completed sections of his New Testament trilogy, The Apostles and The Kingdom, are admired and enjoyed on occasion.

The earlier works remained popular in his lifetime, but are rarely performed nowadays, in spite of containing some excellent episodes.

Oratorios and Cantatas produced in Scotland are shown in bold:

01   The Light of Life, op29 (Worcester 1896) (Capel-Cure)

02   Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf, op30 (Hanley 1896) (Longfellow & Acworth)

03   Caractacus, op35 (Leeds 1898) (Acworth)                                                                        

04   The Dream of Gerontius, op38 (Birmingham 1900) (Newman)

05   The Apostles, op49 (Birmingham 1903) (cpsr)

06   The Kingdom, op51 (Birmingham 1906) (cpsr)

07   The Spanish Lady, op89 (1932-4 unfin; ed Young Cambridge 1994) (Jackson)

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2020

Site by SiteBuddha