Opera Scotland

Gianni Schicchi 1927British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Gianni Schicchi

Puccini's one-act comedy had reached Glasgow back in 1923, five years after its New York premiere. Here it is, four seasons further on, with a cast packed with the company's star performers. Whether the balance of the evening was upset by playing this frivolous masterpiece at the start of the performance is hard to assess. Certainly giving Pagliacci after the interval put it in its usual place, when following Cavalleria Rusticana, but it does seem an odd choice of partner.

The casts are from programmes in the Mitchell Library and Edinburgh Room of Edinburgh City Library and Scotsman review of Thursday, 13 October.


The Edinburgh view

The Scotsman of Thursday, 13 October (p8) pronounced as follows:

'The British National Opera artists did a good day's work yesterday with Gianni Schicchi and I Pagliacci. in the afternoon and The Magic Flute at night.  It is very difficult to muster an audience for a mid-week matinee,  and yesterday afternoon's attempt was not particularly successful.  Except for the benefit of people who live in the country, a Wednesday matinee is hardly worthwhile.  After yesterday's experience,  out-of-town opera-lovers should rally to the support of the British National Opera Company if they desire such matinees to be continued.  It was the more regrettable that the audience was not larger, for there were remarkably fine performances of the two operas.

'The cast of Gianni Schicchi was practically identical with that which has been seen here on other occasions:- Mr Herbert Langley as Gianni Schicchi,  Mr Tudor Davies as Rinuccio,  Mr William Anderson as Simone,  Mr Philip Bertram as the Notary,  Mr Sydney Russell as the Doctor,  Miss Constance Willis as Zita,  Miss Eda Bennie as Nella,  Miss May Blyth as La Ciesca,  and Miss Marjorie Parry as Lauretta.

'There was a delightful finish in the performance,  the humour was never overdone,  and the distress of the lovers, in the treatment of which Puccini appears to have given something of a burlesque of his own methods,  was one of the most amusing things in the opera.'


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

Zita a cousin of Buoso, aged sixty

Constance Willis (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Rinuccio Zita's nephew, aged twenty-four

Heddle Nash (Sep 28)

Tudor Davies (Oct 12 m)

Gherardo Buoso's nephew, aged forty

Parry Jones (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Nella Gherardo's wife, aged thirty-four

Eda Bennie (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Gherardino Gherardo's son, aged seven

Barbara Nelson (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Betto di Signa a cousin, age unknown

Bernard Ross (Sep 28; Oct 12m)

Simone a cousin, aged seventy

William Anderson (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Marco Betto's son, aged forty-five

Martin Quinn (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

La Ciesca Marco's wife, aged thirty-eight

May Blyth (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Gianni Schicchi aged fifty-one

Herbert Langley (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Lauretta Schicchi's daughter, aged twenty-one

Marjorie Parry (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Maestro Spinelloccio a doctor

Sydney Russell (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Ser Amantio di Nicolao a notary

Philip Bertram (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Pinellino a cobbler

Thomas Hindmarch (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Guccio a dyer

Frank Le Pla (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Performance DatesGianni Schicchi 1927

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

28 Sep, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

12 Oct, 14.00

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