Opera Scotland

Parsifal 1922British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Parsifal

The BNOC was established after the collapse of Sir Thomas Beecham's opera company, and immediately began to tour with an ambitious programme.

Clearly the BNOC management were expecting that Scottish opera lovers would, at the very least show approval for the company's efforts by attending at least one of the four Edinburgh performances, or the single one in Glasgow.

Parsifal was little known outside London, and this was its first performance in Scotland.  Walter Hyde, Norman Allin and Gladys Ancrum would be among the leading British Wagnerian performers during the next decade.

The fact that the performance began at 6.00pm and lasted four and a half hours indicates that the work was treated with appropriate seriousness, without substantial cuts.



BNOC in Scotland - 1922 (Spring and Autumn)

This first season saw BNOC coming to Scotland twice. The spring visit, in March, consisted of three weeks in Edinburgh (King's Theatre).  In the autumn there were four weeks - two at Glasgow Theatre Royal, and two more in Edinburgh.

A total number of eighteen operas were included  - an astonishing number for a newly established company.  Wagner far outweighs any other composers, most notably Verdi:

They were by Mozart (Magic Flute);  Wagner (Tannhäuser,  Tristan and Isolde,   Mastersingers, ValkyrieSiegfriedParsifal); Verdi (Aïda); Saint-Saêns (Samson and Delilah); Gounod (Faust); Offenbach (Goldsmith of Toledo);  Bizet (Carmen); Leoncavallo (Pagliacci); Puccini (BohèmeToscaMadam Butterfly); Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana); Charpentier (Louise).

The schedule was as follows:


Edinburgh, w/c 6 March:  Mon 6 Aida;  Tue 7 Parsifal;  Wed 8 mat Cav & Pag;  Wed 8 eve Tannhäuser; Thu 9 Carmen;  Fri 10 Samson and Delilah;  Sat 11 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 11 eve Faust.

Edinburgh, w/c 13 March:  Mon 13 Mastersingers;  Tue 14 Magic Flute;  Wed 15 mat Samson and Delilah;  Wed 15 eve Carmen; Thu 16 Goldsmith of Toledo;  Fri 17 Madam Butterfly;  Sat 18 mat Bohème;  Sat 18 eve Aïda.

Edinburgh, w/c 20 March:  Mon 20 Parsifal;  Tue 21 Samson and Delilah;  Wed 22 mat Parsifal;  Wed 22 eve Bohème; Thu 23 Mastersingers;  Fri 24 Goldsmith of Toledo;  Sat 25 mat Aïda;  Sat 25 eve Carmen.


Glasgow, w/c 6 November:  Mon 6 Parsifal;  Tue 7 Magic Flute;  Wed 8 mat Tosca;  Wed 8 eve Faust;  Thu 9 Louise;  Fri 10 Samson and Delilah;  Sat 11 mat Bohème;  Sat 11 eve Prodigal Son & Pagliacci.

Glasgow, w/c 13 November:  Mon 13 Aïda;  Tue 14 Goldsmith of Toledo;  Wed 15 mat Parsifal;  Wed 15 eve Magic Flute; Thu 16 Mastersingers;  Fri 17 Louise;  Sat 18 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 18 eve Faust.

Edinburgh, w/c 20 November:  Mon 20 Magic Flute;  Tue 21 Valkyrie;  Wed 22 mat Bohème;  Wed 22 eve Samson and Delilah; Thu 23 Aïda;  Fri 24 Louise;  Sat 25 mat Faust;  Sat 25 eve Tosca.

Edinburgh, w/c 27 November:  Mon 27 Siegfried;  Tue 28 Tristan and Isolde;  Wed 29 mat Magic Flute;  Wed 29 eve Goldsmith of Toledo; Thu 30 Louise;  Fri 1 Dec Bohème;  Sat 2 mat Parsifal;  Sat 2 eve Samson and Delilah.

Performance Cast

Gurnemanz a veteran Knight

Norman Allin (Mar 7)

First Grail Knight

Ernest Howie (Mar 7)

Second Grail Knight

Raymond Ellis (Mar 7)

Kundry a woman in Klingsor's power

Gladys Ancrum (Mar 7)

Amfortas Guardian of the Grail

Herbert Heyner (Mar 7)

Parsifal a youth

Walter Hyde (Mar 7)

Titurel Amfortas' father, former Guardian

Philip Bertram (Mar 7)

Klingsor a magician

Frederic Collier (Mar 7)

Production Cast


Percy Pitt (Mar 7)


John P Jackson

Performance DatesParsifal 1922

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

7 Mar, 18.00 20 Mar, 18.00 22 Mar, 13.00 2 Dec, 13.00

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

6 Nov, 18.00 15 Nov, 13.00

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