Opera Scotland

Béatrice et Bénédict 1936Glasgow Grand Opera Society

Read more about the opera Beatrice and Benedick

Glasgow Grand, under the inspired guidance of Erik Chisholm, were at the top of their game in the mid-thirties, with Idomeneo (1934) followed by The Trojans (1935). What could they possibly follow those triumphs with? In the event they mounted three operas, all Scottish premieres. Two Berlioz works were completely unknown. Benvenuto Cellini had received a single disastrous London performance in 1853, and Beatrice and Benedick, in spite of (or because of?) its Shakespearian roots, had not reached Britain at all.

The second work, seen as short for a full evening, was given a curtain-raiser, in the shape of a half-hour trifle by the teenage Schubert, The Faithful Warrior. This was unperformed until a century after his birth, and remained unknown in Britain until 1928, when an edition was concocted by the exalted pairing of Fritz Busch and the Edinburgh-based academic Sir Donald Tovey. This was truly an enterprising season for any group of amateur performers.

The opera was also given a substantial element of dance. Not only was there a Sicilienne in Act 1, but there was a significant interlude between the acts in the form of the second movement 'Un Bal' from the Symphonie Fantastique.

The cast details are taken from a programme in the Mitchell Library collection.

Performance Cast

Leonato Duke of Messina

Ernest Croft

Héro Leonato's daughter

Jean Watson 2

Béatrice Leonato's niece

Jenny Black

Ursule Héro's companion

Margaret Dick

Claudio an officer in Don Pedro's force

William Dickie

Bénédict an officer in Don Pedro's force

Harold Green

Don Pedro Prince of Aragon

Patrick Moir

Somarone a musician

Archibald Morrison

Performance DatesBéatrice et Bénédict 1936

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

24 Mar, 17.30 26 Mar, 19.30 28 Mar, 19.30

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