Opera Scotland

Faust 1924British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Faust

Even the most hackneyed operas in the repertoire needed to be dusted down from time to time, to make sure the artists didn't forget them.  Of course there were always people attending opera for the first time, for whom Faust would be seen as an easy way in.

The quality of Miriam Licette's singing as Marguerite can still be heard - a few years after this performance she recorded the role, in English, in a complete recording conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham.

 

The Glasgow Review

The Glasgow Herald reviewer on Wednesday, 26 November (p12) saw no great reason to devote much space to the popular favourite - he was getting towards the end of an exhausting season:

'Gounod's popular opera has not yet overtaxed its appeal, notwithstanding that for half a century Faust has been one of the best props of all operatic structures.  No wonder, then, that it has fallen into a deep rut; every gesture and every intonation of every player in Faust we seem to know beforehand.  '

Consequently innovations in its presentation are welcome, even though they are dictated by a mere desire to be different from other people - a thing in itself to be condemned.  But those introduced in the performance of  Gounod's opera at the Theatre Royal last night by Miriam Licette and Robert Parker seemed rather to be the outcome of carefully studied and consistent conceptions of the parts of Marguerite and Mephistopheles.  The innovation of the one was sartorial and of the other melodramatic.  It appeared strange yet sensible that the contrite heroine should go to church dressed in a sweeping mantle, and that the fiend should exhibit more than casual terror and rage when faced with the upraised sword hilts, symbolic of faith in a higher power than himself.

'Miss Licette's singing of the lovely music was excellent, and quite accorded with tradition.  Mr Tudor Davies cast few new lights on the part of Faust, but his rendering of the fragrant ''garden'' airs was most artistic.  Vocally and histrionically Robert Parker dominated the stage; his great voice helped largely to the success of the concerted music.  The Valentine of Dennis Noble was also astonishingly fine and the audience complimented him highly on his dramatic rendering of the death scene.

'May Blyth, Constance Willis, and Philip Bertram were safe representatives of the minor rôles.  The chorus were on the whole animated, and the orchestra under Mr Anthony Bernard performed its duties adequately.'

 

BNOC's 1924 Scottish tour

The BNOC tour of Scotland in 1924 lasted five weeks - two in Edinburgh (King's) then three in Glasgow (Theatre Royal).

Amazingly, four operas by British composers were toured, as well as four French, though only one by Verdi.  As usual, Wagner and Puccini seem to enjoy undying popularity.  One Russian piece also puts in an appearance.

A total of 19 works were performed:

Mozart (Marriage of Figaro,  Magic Flute);   Wagner (Tannhäuser,  MastersingersSiegfried);  Verdi (Aïda);  Gounod (Faust);  Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Bizet (Carmen);  Rimsky-Korsakov (Golden Cockerel);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);   Puccini (BohèmeMadam ButterflyGianni Schicchi);  Debussy (Pelléas and Mélisande);  Mackenzie (Eve of St John);  Vaughan Williams (Hugh the Drover);  Holst (Perfect Fool);  Boughton (Alkestis).

Mozart (Marriage of Figaro,  Magic Flute);   Wagner (Tannhäuser,  MastersingersSiegfried);  Verdi (Aïda);  Gounod (Faust);  Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Bizet (Carmen);  Rimsky-Korsakov (Golden Cockerel);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);   Puccini (BohèmeMadam ButterflyGianni Schicchi);  Debussy (Pelléas and Mélisande);  Mackenzie (Eve of St John);  Vaughan Williams (Hugh the Drover);  Holst (Perfect Fool);  Boughton (Alkestis).

The performance schedule is as follows:

Edinburgh,  w/c 27 October:  Mon 27 Marriage of Figaro;  Tue 28 Carmen;  Wed 29 mat Madam Butterfly;  Wed 29 eve Hugh the Drover:  Thu 30 Perfect Fool & Gianni Schicchi;  Fri 31 Siegfried;  Sat 01 mat  Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 01 eve Tales of Hoffmann.

Edinburgh, w/c 3 November:  Mon 03 Golden Cockerel;  Tue 04 Pelléas et Mélisande;  Wed 05 mat  Magic Flute;  Wed 05 eve Tannhäuser;  Thu 06 Mastersingers;  Fri 07 Alkestis;  Sat 08 mat  Hugh the Drover;  Sat 08 eve  Aïda.

Glasgow, w/c 10 November:  Mon 10 Carmen;  Tue 11 Mastersingers;  Wed 12 mat Alkestis;  Wed 12 eve  Tales of Hoffmann;  Thu 13 Magic Flute;  Fri 14  Golden Cockerel;  Sat 15 mat Aïda;  Sat 15 eve Marriage of Figaro.

Glasgow, w/c 17 November:  Mon 17 Tales of Hoffmann;  Tue 18 Bohème;  Wed 19 mat  Magic Flute;  Med 19 eve  Aïda;  Thu 20 Eve of St John & Perfect Fool;  Fri 21 Hugh the Drover;  Sat 22 mat Gianni Schicchi  Pagliacci;  Sat 22 eve Tannhäuser.

Glasgow, w/c 24 November:  Mon 24 Marriage of Figaro;  Tue 25  Faust;  Wed 26 mat Golden Cockerel;  Wed 26 eve Magic Flute;  Thu 27 Hugh the Drover;  Fri 28  Carmen;  Sat 29 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 29 eve Mastersingers.

Performance Cast

Faust a learned doctor

Tudor Davies (Nov 25)

Méphistophélès the devil

Robert Parker (Nov 25)

Valentin Marguerite's brother

Dennis Noble (Nov 25)

Wagner a student of Dr Faust

Philip Bertram (Nov 25)

Marguerite

Miriam Licette (Nov 25)

Siébel a student of Dr Faust, in love with Marguerite

May Blyth (Nov 25)

Marthe a neighbour

Constance Willis (Nov 25)

Performance DatesFaust 1924

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

25 Nov, 19.00

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