Opera Scotland

Belshazzar's Feast 1933Edinburgh Concert Society

Read more about the opera Belshazzar's Feast

The Edinburgh Concert Society was established the previous year, so this was its second, and, as it turned out, final season. There seems to have been a fundamental difficulty in attracting an audience to hear this obscure new piece.

The conductor of the Walton is not a name that echoes through the pages of history. However if  Dr Greenhouse Allt's name has not become famous, the evening's other conductor has. For the opening Mozart overture (The Marriage of Figaro) and the substantial second half - Beethoven's Symphony no9 the 'Choral', were both played by the Scottish Orchestra under Mr John Barbirolli. This in itself makes the low turnout even more of a surprise. The solo quartet in the Beethoven consisted of soprano Maria Thomson and mezzo Catherine Mentiplay. The tenor was Charles Brown and the bass was the same one who had sung the Walton before the interval.

While not being entirely enthusiastic, The Scotsman described the cantata as 'one of the most remarkable achievements of modern British music'. Its critic also attended a couple of the previous rehearsals, on the Saturdays when Dr Sargent put in an appearance. Further comments included 'There is no parallel in the realm of choral music to this vividly arresting tone picture. The dramatic Bible story, from the books of Isaiah, Job and Daniel is told with a stark directness of statement and amazing rhythmical energy, demanding the full resources of modern choral and orchestral technique'.

Performance Cast

Baritone

Stuart Robertson

Performance DatesBelshazzar's Feast 1933

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

6 Feb, 19.30

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