Opera Scotland

Siegfried 1923British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Siegfried

The build-up to the cycle

BNOC were already assembling their Ring production within a few months of starting operations. However, Siegfried did not receive another performance on this Scottish leg of the tour, which also included Edinburgh. 

The development of this Ring was not started completely from scratch as the sets and costumes had been made in Germany for Denhof before the Great War.  They were eventually inherited by Beecham then passed on to BNOC. 


To some extent even the singers were inherited - Sydney Russell, the Mime in 1910, repeats the role here, though concentrating on other character parts when with the Beecham company.

It is also interesting to note Florence Austral performing in Scotland.  Though Austral is the most famous of the company's dramatic sopranos, and left several recordings, in Scottish tours Brünnhilde was more usually the preserve of Gladys Ancrum or Beatrice Miranda.   

Julius Harrison was also seen as a Wagner specialist, yet this is the first time we find him conducting Wagner in Scotland.

Press reaction

The following morning's Scotsman (Friday, 9 November) was generally enthusiastic:

'Siegfried, the third section of the Ring cycle, was presented at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, last night, by the British National Opera Company, before an enthusiastic audience which filled the house.  The rendering given of the work was worthy of the highest praise. 

'The part of Siegfried was taken by Mr Walter Widdop, a new addition to the Company, and, while his voice was hardly big enough for the strenuous and continuous singing, he gave a very fair representation. The rich beauty of Mr Robert Parker's sonorous voice was heard to great advantage in the part of the Wanderer, especially in the first scene during his visit to the cave of the dwarf Mime. Mr Sydney Russell took the rather exacting part of Mime, and his almost cold and impersonal voice, together with his perfect acting and clear enunciation, gave a very complete and artistic personation of the man warped both in body and mind. 

'Miss Florence Austral was in her favourite role of Brünnhilde, her rich tones giving the greatest pleasure.  The minor parts were well filled by Mr William Michael as Alberich, Mr William Anderson as Fafner, Miss Muriel Brunskill as Erda, and Miss Doris Lemon as the Wood Bird.

'The stage setting and the lighting effects were excellently carried out, the many pitfalls of the second act being avoided by very clever stage management. The orchestra, under the capable direction of Mr Julius Harrison, although occasionally apt to overwhelm the voices of the singers. gave an almost perfect rendering of the score from the quiet mystery of the opening bars to the triumphal ecstasy of the final duet.'

Performance Cast

Mime a Nibelung, Siegfried's fosterer

Sydney Russell

Siegfried son of Siegmund and Sieglinde

Walter Widdop

Wanderer Wotan in disguise

Robert Parker

Alberich a Nibelung

William Michael

Fafner disguised as a dragon

William Anderson


Doris Lemon

Erda mother of the Norns and Valkyries

Muriel Brunskill

Brünnhilde now a mortal

Florence Austral

Performance DatesSiegfried 1923

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

8 Nov, 18.00

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