Opera Scotland

Pagliacci 1927British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Pagliacci

On this, as with the previous visit by BNOC, Pagliacci followed not the familiar melodrama of Cavalleria Rusticana, but a more recent work in Puccini's comedy Gianni Schicchi. The cast is strong, led by the company's leading Wagnerian, Walter Widdop, though whether Tudor Davies was wise to take on the role is questionable - his lyric voice eventually lost quality. In Gianni Schicchi, before the interval, he sang the more appropriate role of Rinuccio.

Cast details are from programmes in the Mitchell and Edinburgh City Libraries.


The Edinburgh opinion

The Scotsman the next morning - Thursday, 13 October (p8) devoted far more space to the other two operas, beginning:

'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.'

About Pagliacci, all that was said was:

'I Pagliacci followed, a success on familiar lines,  with Mr Tudor Davies as Canio,  Mr William Michael as Tonio,  Mr Bernard Ross as Silvio, Mr Frederick Davies as Beppe and Miss Doris Lemon as Nedda.  Mr Eugene Goossens, sen. conducted both operas,  and in each case secured admirable results.'


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

Tonio a player

Percy Heming (Sep 28)

William Michael (Oct 12 m)

Canio leader of the players

Tudor Davies (Oct 12 m)

Walter Widdop (Sep 28)

Nedda Canio's wife

Doris Lemon (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Beppe a player

Frederick Davies (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Silvio a villager

Bernard Ross (Sep 28; Oct 12 m)

Performance DatesPagliacci 1927

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

28 Sep, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

12 Oct, 14.00

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