Opera Scotland

Aïda 1927British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Aïda

Aïda was now one of the most popular works in the repertoire, attested to by the fact that it was performed on the Saturday night in all four major Scottish cities.

While the production as a whole seems to have been thoroughly enjoyed by the critics, the star was considered the great dramatic tenor Walter Widdop.  William Michael was scheduled to sing iat all venues but was indisposed when the tour came to Dundee.  The company's two leading basses shared Ramfis, and conducting duties were also split during the tour.


The Scotsman of Monday, 24 October (p8) enthused:

'On Saturday eveniing the British National Opera fortnight in Edinburgh concluded with an excellent performance of Aïda, the fourteenth opera given during the fortnight.   The cast included Miss May Blyth as Aïda,   Miss Constance Willis as Amneris,  Mr Robert Radford as the High Priest,  Mr William Michael as Amonasro,  and Mr William Anderson as the King.

Miss Blyth,  making her first Edinburgh appearance in the rôle,  was a very effective Aïda.  She responded admirably to the exacting dramatic requirements of the character, without ever overdoing anything.  Miss Constance Willis's Amneris was a powerful dramatic study, with an enjoyablel suggestion of spontaneity in its detail.  Mr Walter Widdop sang well as Radamès,  and the difficulties of ''Celeste Aïda'' were overcome with a commendable ease.  Mr Radford's High Priest, and Mr Anderson's King, were both as effective as on previous occasions.

'There was a crowded audience, and in the course of some remarks which he made at the close of the performance, Mr Frederic Austin said that if the Edinburgh public would only rally to the support of the National Opera as heartily in the first week as in the second, all might be well.  He had, however, to appear once more in the character of a Jeremiah.  With his colleagues,  he hoped to be in Edinburgh again next year.  Much, however, depended on the fortunes of the scheme of which Sir Thomas Beecham was expected,  within the next few days, to announce the details.''


Cast details are taken from an Edinburgh programme in NLS and reviews in the Dundee Evening Telegraph & Post, Dundee Courier & Advertiser, as well as advertisements.


BNOC in Scotland 1927

The 1927 Scottish tour included six weeks, two each in Glasgow (Theatre Royal) and Edinburgh (King's), and a further week each in Aberdeen (His Majesty's) and Dundee (King's) - the first time that BNOC went north of the central belt.

Fifteen operas were performed:

Mozart (Marriage of Figaro,  Magic Flute);  Rossini (Barber of Seville);  Wagner (Tannhäuser,  Mastersingers,  Valkyrie,  Twilight of the Gods);   Verdi  (Aïda);   Bizet (Carmen);  Saint-Saëns (Samson and Delilah);  Massenet (Manon);   Leoncavallo  (Pagliacci);   Puccini  (Bohème,  Madam Butterfly,  Gianni Schicchi).

The schedule was as follows:

Glasgow, w/c 26 September:  Mon 26  Barber of Seville;  Tue 27  Magic Flute;  Wed 28 mat  Bohème;  Wed 28 eve  Gianni Schicchi & Pagliacci:  Thu 29  Valkyrie;  Fri 30  Marriage of Figaro  Sat 01 mat  Madam Butterfly;  Sat 01 eve  Aïda.

Glasgow, w/c 03 October:  Mon 03  Carmen;  Tue 04  Manon;  Wed 05 mat  Marriage of Figaro;  Wed 05 eve  Barber of Seville;  Thu 06  Mastersingers;  Fri 07  Samson and Delilah;  Sat 08 mat  Magic Flute;  Sat 08 eve  Tannhäuser.

Edinburgh, w/c 10 October: Mon 10  Barber of Seville; Tue 11  Mastersingers;  Wed 12 mat  Gianni Schicchi & Pagliacci;  Wed 12 eve  Magic Flute;  Thu 13  Manon;  Fri 14  Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 15 mat  Bohème;  Sat 15 eve  Samson and Delilah.

Edinburgh, w/c  17 October:  Mon 17  Barber of Seville;  Tue 18  Twilight of the Gods;  Wed 19 mat Madam Butterfly;  Wed 19 eve  Tannhäuser;  Thu 20  Carmen;  Fri 21  Manon;  Sat 22 mat  Magic Flute;  Sat 22 eve  Aïda.

Aberdeen, w/c 24 October:  Mon 24  Barber of Seville;  Tue 25  Twilight of the Gods;  Wed 26 mat  Magic Flute;  Wed 26 eve Manon;  Thu 27 Mastersingers;  Fri 28  Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 29 mat  Madam Butterfly;  Sat 29 eve Aïda.

Dundee, w/c 31 October: Mon 31  Mastersingers;  Tue 01 Nov  Barber of Seville;  Wed 02 mat  Marriage of Figaro;  Wed 02 eve  Madam Butterfly;  Thu 03  Manon;  Fri 04  Valkyrie;  Sat 05 mat  Bohème;  Sat 05 eve  Aïda.

Performance Cast

Ramfis High Priest

Robert Radford (Oct 22)

William Anderson (Oct 29)

Norman Allin (Nov 5)

Radamès Captain of the Guard

Walter Widdop (Oct 22; Nov 5)

Parry Jones (Oct 29)

Amneris daughter of the King of Egypt

Constance Willis (Oct 22, 29; Nov 5)

Aïda an Ethiopian slave

May Blyth Oct 22, 29; Nov 5)

King of Egypt

William Anderson (Oct 22; Nov 5)

Philip Bertram (Oct 29)


Liddell Peddieson


Doris Lemon

Amonasro King of Ethiopia and father of Aïda

William Michael (Oct 22)

Percy Heming (Oct 29; Nov 5)


Olive Joyner

Performance DatesAïda 1927

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

1 Oct, 19.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

22 Oct, 19.00

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

29 Oct, 19.00

King's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

5 Nov, 19.00

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