Opera Scotland

Valkyrie 1922British National Opera Company

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The opening year of the British National Opera Company in 1922 saw six Wagner operas being staged. Parsifal, in its Scottish premiere, received six performances, The Mastersingers three and Tannhäuser two.  Single performances were given of Tristan and two of the Ring elements, The Valkyrie and Siegfried. What was not realised was the fact that the company would in 1923 perform a complete cycle, but do it in Glasgow, rather than Edinburgh.

 

We are grateful to Mr Bryan Coxson for information from a programme for Siegfried in Manchester (21 March 1924) specifying the following, which applies to all the Ring performances by BNOC:

Stage setting & lighting Oliver P Bernard.

Special electrical installations and apparatus entirely manufactured for the B. N. O. C. by the Strand Electrical and Engineering Company.

 

The Scotsman View

The Scotsman of Wednesday, 22 November (p8) was highly enthusiastic:

Edinburgh has still to wait for another complete performance of The Ring, which has not been heard here since Mr Ernst Denhof's courageous ventures of the pre-war years.  After Parsifal, it seems not unreasonable to suppose that the period of waiting for a revival of The Ring in its entirety will not be unduly prolonged.  But if the National Opera Company has not yet essayed the entire Ring, it is at any rate this season giving two out of the four great music-dramas, The Valkyrie and Siegfried.

'Last night there was an admirable performance of The Valkyrie, to which, it is perhaps hardly necessary to mention, Siegfried is the sequel.  There was a fine cast, which included Mr Walter Hyde as Siegmund,  Miss Beatrice Miranda as Sieglinde, Mr Robert Parker as Wotan,  Miss Florence Austral as Brünnhilde,  Mr Robert Radford as Hunding, and Miss Phyllis Archibald as Fricka.  Miss Archibald also appeared as one of the Valkyries, the others being the Misses Marjory Baxter,  Eda Bennie,  May Blyth, Muriel Brunskill, Dorothy Chapman,  Florence Foote, and Elsy Treweek.

'Miss Beatrice Miranda, Mr Walter Hyde, Mr Robert Parker,  and Mr Robert Radford were in rôles which they have invested with many pleasant associations for opera-goers, and last night there was fresh occasion to admire the finished art of these impersonations.  The opening scene, between Siegmund and Sieglinde, for example, was a delight in its convincing dramatic quality and musical beauty, and the formidable Hunding of Mr Radford completed the picture excellently.

'If there is one personage more than another in the Eagner operas who invites a feeling of tedium, it is Wotan, with the long-winded discourses which Wagner has allotted to him.  Mr Parker, however, achieved no small triumph last night in making the part consistently interesting.  His reading was a magnificent piece of what might be called musical elocution.

'A particular interest attached to the appearance of Miss Florence Austral as Brünnhilde.  Miss Austral is a newcomer to the Company, who should have a great future.  She has a superb voice, full of warmth and colour, and her conception of the character, alike musically and dramatically, was eminently distinguished. The Fricka of Miss Phyllis Archibald was also remarkably effective, andmay be accounted an important addition to the list of her operatic successes.

'The opera was a series of great moments, the climax of the first act, with its glorious interweaving of representative themes, the appearance of Brünnhilde to the hapless lovers in her mission as the messenger of doom,  the wild music of the ''Ride'' scene, in which the Valkyries acquitted themselves excellently,  the farewell of Wotan, and the fire music, in all of which the orchestra co-operated most artistically, were beautifully done.

'The performance as a whole was a triunph for Mr Aylmer Buesst, who conducted.  The staging of the opera provided a welcome departure from the conventional.  The hut scene presented the customary realism, but in the other scenes something of the methods observed in The Magic Flute on the previous evening were employed.  The background consisted mainly of draperies, and the ye was pleasantly relieved from the task of reconciling a more or less inadequate stage picture with the suggestions called up by the music.  The departure from tradition might perhaps with advantage be carried a stage further by bringing the make-up of the Valkyries more into line with the style in which a modern artist would probably depict these fierce warrior-maidens.

'As on Monday night, there did not appear to be a vacant seat in the theatre.'

 

BNOC in Scotland - 1922 (Spring and Autumn)

This first season saw BNOC coming to Scotland twice. The spring visit, in March, consisted of three weeks in Edinburgh (King's Theatre).  In the autumn there were four weeks - two at Glasgow Theatre Royal, and two more in Edinburgh.

A total number of nineteen operas were included  - an astonishing number for a newly established company.  Wagner far outweighs any other composers, most notably Verdi:

They were by Mozart (Magic Flute);  Wagner (Tannhäuser,  Tristan and Isolde,   Mastersingers, ValkyrieSiegfriedParsifal); Verdi (Aïda); Saint-Saêns (Samson and Delilah); Gounod (Faust); Offenbach (Goldsmith of Toledo);  Bizet (Carmen); Leoncavallo (Pagliacci); Puccini (BohèmeToscaMadam Butterfly); Debussy (Prodigal Son);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana); Charpentier (Louise).

The schedule was as follows:

Spring

Edinburgh, w/c 6 March:  Mon 6 Aida;  Tue 7 Parsifal;  Wed 8 mat Cav & Pag;  Wed 8 eve Tannhäuser; Thu 9 Carmen;  Fri 10 Samson and Delilah;  Sat 11 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 11 eve Faust.

Edinburgh, w/c 13 March:  Mon 13 Mastersingers;  Tue 14 Magic Flute;  Wed 15 mat Samson and Delilah;  Wed 15 eve Carmen; Thu 16 Goldsmith of Toledo;  Fri 17 Madam Butterfly;  Sat 18 mat Bohème;  Sat 18 eve Aïda.

Edinburgh, w/c 20 March:  Mon 20 Parsifal;  Tue 21 Samson and Delilah;  Wed 22 mat Parsifal;  Wed 22 eve Bohème; Thu 23 Mastersingers;  Fri 24 Goldsmith of Toledo;  Sat 25 mat Aïda;  Sat 25 eve Carmen.

Autumn

Glasgow, w/c 6 November:  Mon 6 Parsifal;  Tue 7 Magic Flute;  Wed 8 mat Tosca;  Wed 8 eve Faust;  Thu 9 Louise;  Fri 10 Samson and Delilah;  Sat 11 mat Bohème;  Sat 11 eve Prodigal Son & Pagliacci.

Glasgow, w/c 13 November:  Mon 13 Aïda;  Tue 14 Goldsmith of Toledo;  Wed 15 mat Parsifal;  Wed 15 eve Magic Flute; Thu 16 Mastersingers;  Fri 17 Louise;  Sat 18 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 18 eve Faust.

Edinburgh, w/c 20 November:  Mon 20 Magic Flute;  Tue 21 Valkyrie;  Wed 22 mat Bohème;  Wed 22 eve Samson and Delilah; Thu 23 Aïda;  Fri 24 Louise;  Sat 25 mat Faust;  Sat 25 eve Tosca.

Edinburgh, w/c 27 November:  Mon 27 Siegfried;  Tue 28 Tristan and Isolde;  Wed 29 mat Magic Flute;  Wed 29 eve Goldsmith of Toledo; Thu 30 Louise;  Fri 1 Dec Bohème;  Sat 2 mat Parsifal;  Sat 2 eve Samson and Delilah.

Performance Cast

Siegmund a Volsung

Walter Hyde (Nov 21)

Sieglinde a Volsung, sister of Siegmund

Beatrice Miranda (Nov 21)

Hunding husband of Sieglinde

Robert Radford (Nov 21)

Wotan father of the Valkyries and Volsungs

Robert Parker (Nov 21)

Brünnhilde a Valkyrie

Florence Austral (Nov 21)

Fricka Wotan's estranged wife

Phyllis Archibald (Nov 21)

Performance DatesValkyrie 1922

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

21 Nov, 18.15

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