Opera Scotland

Pelléas and Mélisande 1913Denhof Opera Company

Read more about the opera Pelléas et Mélisande

The astonishing phenomenon that was the Edinburgh-based Denhof Opera Company received great critical acclaim for their ambitious repertoire and high standard of presentation. Sadly, audience numbers were sometimes disappointing (especially in Manchester). This season saw the Scottish premiere of Der Rosenkavalier and further performances of Elektra, as well as a first Scottish outing for this even more enterprising piece. Conducting on the tour was shared between Thomas Beecham (who conducted Mastersingers, Tristan , his first Ring cycles and Magic Flute) and his assistant, Hans Schilling-Ziemssen. The Liverpool programme lists the company's ancillary staff, with promising young Scottish composer Cecil Coles among the musical assistants. He was later to be killed on the Western Front.

Repertoire for the Manchester week, commencing Monday 29 September was Mon: Rosenkavalier; Tue Tristan; Wed Magic Flute; Thu Pelléas; Fri Elektra; Sat mat Rosenkavalier and Sat eve Flying Dutchman. The second Manchester week was cancelled because of heavy losses but the company was quickly reconstituted with the financial help of Beecham to allow much of the rest of the tour to take place. Edinburgh survived in the schedule, but the last weeks in Aberdeen and Glasgow were dropped. After much publicity, the company returned to Manchester for a second week, commencing 3 November (in preference to the originally planned second week at Liverpool). This week featured a Ring cycle, and the full schedule was: Mon Rhinegold; Tue Valkyrie, Wed Siegfried; Thu Rosenkavalier; Fri Twilight of the Gods; Sat mat Orpheus and Euridice; Sat eve Mastersingers.

Cast details for Pelléas are from  a playbill for the Manchester season in Manchester City Library and a programme in Liverpool City Library, with the three leading roles confirmed by reviews of the Edinburgh performance.

The playbill says that the operas were to be produced by Messrs Fairbairn and Gura without specifying which of the works was allocated to each. By the time of the second Manchester week, Gura alone was credited for the staging.

Performance Cast


Ernest Von Pick


Beryl Freeman

Geneviève mother of Golaud and Pelléas

Maud Santley

Arkel King of Allemonde, grandfather of Golaud and Pelléas

Harison Cook

Pelléas Golaud’s half-brother

Walter Hyde

Yniold son of Golaud

Margaret Vincent


Ernest Bertram

Performance DatesPelléas and Mélisande 1913

Map List

Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham | Birmingham

19 Sep, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Manchester | Manchester

2 Oct, 19.30

Shakespeare Theatre | Liverpool

30 Oct, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

21 Nov, 19.30

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