Opera Scotland

Enfant Prodigue 1911Quinlan Opera Company

Read more about the opera Enfant Prodigue

The Quinlan company came to Glasgow for two weeks commencing Monday 27 November. Over twelve nights and two matinées they would perform eleven grand operas in English. The company boasted an orchestra of 55 - rather larger than the other touring companies provided. After the Glasgow season, the company moved to Edinburgh.

The repertoire in Glasgow was:

First week 27 November - Mon Tristan, Tue Butterfly, Wed Hoffmann, Thu Girl of the Golden West (Scottish premiere), Fri Prodigal Son with Hansel and Gretel, Sat mat Hoffmann, Sat eve Faust.

Second week 4 December - Mon Girl of the Golden West, Tue Tannhäuser (Paris version), Wed Aïda, Thu Prodigal Son with Hansel and Gretel, Fri Valkyrie, Sat mat Carmen, Sat eve Hoffmann.

Debussy's prize-winning cantata of 1884 was ignored in Britain until it received a concert performance in Sheffield in 1908. As a work derived from a biblical source, stage performances had not been permitted. The opera widely credited with breaking dow this taboo was Richard Strauss' Salome, in which the head of John the Baptist on a platter was seen to be strong stuff. Another well-known work to benefit from the relaxation of this policy was Samson et Dalila by Saint-Saëns. Premiered in Weimar in 1877, it appeared in Britain in concert form in 1893, but had to wait until 1909 for a staging. Debussy's cantata itself appeared on stage the following year, on 28 February 1910 at Covent Garden.

The work was seen widely in the next few years, and this British touring version itself followed rapidly, translated into English. A short work, it needed additional music to fill out the evening's programme. Even at Christmas, the decision to follow it with Hansel and Gretel seems an odd one.

Performance Cast

Lia mother of Azaël

Vera Courtenay

Azaël the Prodigal Son

Spencer Thomas

Siméon father of Azaël

Allen Hinckley

Performance DatesEnfant Prodigue 1911

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

1 Dec, 19.30 7 Dec, 19.30

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

12 Dec, 19.30

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