Opera Scotland

Madam Butterfly 1922British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Madama Butterfly

The BNOC had begun its touring life in Bradford in February, and here they were in Edinburgh as their second port of call. The repertoire was already substantial and varied as a result of being able to take over sets and costumes from Sir Thomas Beecham's defunct enterprise, which had previously employed most of the artists.

The inclusion of hugely popular Madam Butterfly was almost inevitable even though it also featured prominently in the repertoire of Carl Rosa.  At least when that company visited the Edinburgh Lyceum the following month they would only give Butterfly a single performance. Concurrently with this BNOC season in Edinburgh, the Carl Rosa were a short distance away in Glasgow.

Cast details and comments are from a review of the previous evening's performance in the Scotsman of Saturday 18 March:

'Familiarity with the work notwithstanding, Madam Butterfly maintains an unshaken hold upon the public affections, and last night the King's Theatre was crowded to its utmost capacity. The cast was identical with that of last Saturday afternoon, Miss Anna Lindsey being Madam Butterfly, Mr William Boland appearing as Pinkerton, Mr Andrew Shanks as the Consul, Miss Edith Clegg as Suzuki, Mr Sydney Russell as Goro, Miss May Blyth as Kate Pinkerton, and Mr Albert Chapman as the Bonzo, and later as Yamadori. It was one of those eminently satisfactory casts, not often attained, in which there is no weak point.'

'Miss Lindsey has made a great advance in her art since her appearances here of a year or two ago, and her impersonation of the Japanese girl was delightful in its grace in the first act, and the simple dignity of the tragic climax. Mr Boland's Pinkerton and the Consul of Mr Shanks were both sympathetic and convincing impersonations, and Miss Edith Clegg's Suzuki displayed her admirable faculty of identifying herself with a character.'

'Last night, as on the occasion of the previous rendering of the opera, the completeness of the presentation was most satisfying. Voices, orchestra, and scenic setting all blended in a harmonious whole. It was an occasion to be remembered with extreme pleasure. Mr Aylmer Buesst conducted.'

Performance Cast

Lieut. F B Pinkerton U S Navy

William Boland

Goro marriage broker

Sydney Russell

Suzuki Cio-Cio-San's servant

Edith Clegg

Sharpless U S Consul in Nagasaki

Andrew Shanks

Cio-Cio-San known as Madam Butterfly

Anna Lindsey

Bonze a priest, Cio-Cio-San's uncle

Albert Chapman

Prince Yamadori

Albert Chapman

Kate Pinkerton

May Blyth

Performance DatesMadam Butterfly 1922

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

11 Mar, 14.15 17 Mar, 19.15

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