Opera Scotland

Mastersingers of Nuremberg 1913Denhof Opera Company

Read more about the opera Meistersinger von N├╝rnberg

The astonishing phenomenon that was the Edinburgh-based Denhof Opera Company received great critical acclaim for their ambitious repertoire and high standard of presentation. Sadly, audience numbers were sometimes disappointing (especially in Manchester). This final season saw the Scottish premieres of Der Rosenkavalier and Pelléas et Mélisande, with further performances of Elektra, brought back from the 1912 season. Conducting was shared between Thomas Beecham (who conducted Mastersingers, Tristan, his first Ring cycles and Magic Flute) and his assistant, Hans Schilling-Ziemssen. The Liverpool schedule (in Liverpool City Library) lists the company's ancillary staff, with promising young Scottish composer Cecil Coles among the musical assistants. He was later to be killed on the Western Front.

Repertoire for the Manchester week, commencing Monday 29 September was Mon: Rosenkavalier; Tue Tristan; Wed Magic Flute; Thu Pelléas; Fri Elektra; Sat mat Rosenkavalier and Sat eve Flying Dutchman. The second Manchester week was cancelled because of heavy losses but the company was quickly reconstituted with the financial help of Beecham to allow much of the rest of the tour to take place. Edinburgh survived in the schedule, but the last weeks in Aberdeen and Glasgow were dropped. After much publicity, the company returned to Manchester for a second week, commencing 3 November (in preference to the originally planned second week at Liverpool). This week featured a Ring cycle, and the full schedule was: Mon Rheingold; Tue Valkyrie, Wed Siegfried; Thu Rosenkavalier; Fri Twilight of the Gods; Sat mat Orpheus and Euridice; Sat eve Mastersingers.

During his years with the Moody-Manners company, Lewys James had given many performances as Sachs. By now he was singing some less lyrical roles, including Alberich, so the character part of Beckmesser may have suited his voice better. Walter Hyde had already sung two major Wagner roles earlier in the week, while Elizabeth Schiller had sung Sieglinde and Octavian.

Cast details are from an advertising playbill for the Manchester week in Manchester City Library.

Performance DatesMastersingers of Nuremberg 1913

Map List

Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham | Birmingham

25 Sep, 18.30

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield | Sheffield

18 Oct, 18.30

Theatre Royal, Manchester | Manchester

8 Nov, 18.30

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

15 Nov, 18.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

29 Nov, 18.30

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