Opera Scotland

Manon 1928British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Manon

Manon had been revived successfully the previous year, and here the same cast returned, with only two minor changes (De Brétigny and the Innkeeper).

The near complete cast of 22 October is from the following morning's Scotsman,  while a complete listing is taken from a programme for 02 November in Glasgow's Mitchell Library.


An Edinburgh Review

The Scotsman critic gave his findings on Tuesday,  23 October (p8):

'Restricted this year,  unfortunately to a week,  the stay of the British National Opera Company,  in Edinburgh,  which began last night,  comes as an encouraging reminder that despite all the doleful things which are being said about the future of opera in this country,  the battle is not yet lost.  A year ago it seemed very unlikely that the British National Opera Company would come out on tour again,  yet here it is once more and whether the present visit is to be a last appearance or the beginning of a new and more fortunate chapter in its history rests entirely with the public.  With good audiences here and elsewhere during thr present tour,  another season will follow as a matter of course,  and with a continuance of public interest on such lines there need be no fear for the future of Opera,  for with greater security there will be greater enterprise: the force of competition on the part of other forms of entertainment will always ensure progress.  all hope for the future lies in the public recognition of the fact that Opera is worth while.

'Massenet's Manon was added to the National Opera repertory last season, and after two performances a year ago,  its repetition last night at the King's Theatre was very welcome as being still in the nature of a novelty.  With one exception - Mr Ralph Humble replaced Mr Dennis Noble as De Bretigny - last night's cast was identical with that of a year ago,  Miss Marguerite Anderson again appearing as the heroine,  Mr Heddle Nash as Des Grieux,  Mr Philip Bertram as his father,  Mr Percy Heming as Lescaut,  Mr Sydney Russell as De Morfontaine, and the Misses Doris Lemon,  Frances Frost and Marjorie Parry as the three actresses.

'The Abbé Prévost's novel is perhaps a rather difficult subject for an opera.  The personality of Manon Lescaut is elusive,  and Puccini,  a much better musical psychologist than Massenet,  did not quite succeed in reproducing the qualities of the character.  Massenet's Manon has not the almost unconscious heartlessness of the original.  If, hoever,  she is rather conventionally charming,  it is at least a very appealing convention.  Miss Anderson's rendering of the part last night deserved bery high praise - it is one that suits her exceedingly well,  and alike in the girlishness of the first act,  the intensity of the chuirch svene,  and the pathos of her death by the roadside, there was a convincing art.

' The Chevalier of Mr Nash had a fine distinction, and the well-known aria in the church scene was given with an admirable blending of grace an passion.  Mr Heming's Lescaut was again an excellent study of the unscrupulous, but not wholly base,  soldier,  and the music of the rôle,  perhaps the most genuinely characteristic in the opera,  was well sung.  Mr Sydney Russell is a finished actor as well as a good singer,  and as the old roué, there was,  both in acting and singing,  the right note of polished cynicism.  Mr Humble's De Bretigny,  within its small opportunities, was appropriately elegant,  and, alike as singer and actor, Mr Philip Bertram was excellent as the elder Des Grieux.

'The opera was beautifully staged, and the various scenes were very happily conceived in the spirit of the designs of Baudouin and other artists of the period who have perpetuated the social life of 18th century France.  Mr Eugene Goossens conducted.


BNOC in Scotland 1928

This final Scottish tour by BNOC was only four weeks instead of the six enjoyed the previous year.  This is partly because the King's in Dundee, an excellent modern theatre, visited for the first time in 1927,  was now a cinema and no longer available.  But Aberdeen (His Majesty's) was still a welcoming venue along with Edinburgh (King's) and Glasgow (Theatre Royal).


The fifteen operas performed were:

Mozart (Magic Flute);  Rossini (Barber of Seville);  Wagner (Tannhäuser,  Lohengrin;  Mastersingers);  Verdi (TrovatoreAïdaFalstaff);  Gounod (Faust);  Bizet (Carmen);  Massenet (Manon);  Puccini (Bohème,  Madam Butterfly);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana)


The tour schedule was as follows:

Aberdeen, w/c 15 October:  Mon 15  Lohengrin;  Tue 16  Carmen;  Wed 17 mat  Tannhäuser;  Wed 17 eve  Madam Butterfly;  Thu 18  Aïda;  Fri 19  Falstaff;  Sat 20 mat  Bohème;  Sat 20 eve  Cav & Pag.

Edinburgh, w/c 22 October:  Mon 22  Manon;  Tue 23  Lohengrin;  Wed 24 mat  Faust;  Wed 24 eve  Barber of Seville;  Thu 25  Magic Flute;  Fri 26  Falstaff;  Sat 27 mat  Carmen;  Sat 27 eve Madam Butterfly.

Glasgow, w/c 29 October:  Mon 29  Lohengrin;  Tue 30  Tannhäuser;  Wed 31 mat  Faust;  Wed 31 eve  Barber of Seville;  Thu 01 Nov  Falstaff;  Fri 02  Manon;  Sat 03 mat Carmen;  Sat 03 eve  Bohème.

Glasgow, w/c 05 November:  Mon 05  Falstaff;  Tue 06  Magic Flute;  Wed 07 mat  Trovatore;  Wed 07 eve  Lohengrin;  Thu 08  Aïda;  Fri 09  Mastersingers;  Sat 10 mat  Manon;  Sat 10 eve  Madam Butterfly.

Performance Cast

Guillot de Morfontaine Finance Minister

Sydney Russell (Oct 22; Nov 2)

De Br├ętigny a nobleman

Ralph Humble (Oct 22; Nov 2)

Poussette an actress

Doris Lemon (Oct 22; Nov 2)

Javotte an actress

Marjorie Parry (Oct 22; Nov 2)

Rosette an actress

Frances Frost (Oct 22; Nov 2)


Harold Wilton (Nov 2)

Lescaut a Guards officer, Manon's cousin

Percy Heming (Oct 22; Nov 2)

Manon Manon Lescaut

Marguerite Anderson (Oct 22; Nov 2)

Chevalier des Grieux

Heddle Nash (Oct 22; Nov 2)

Comte des Grieux the Chevalier's father

Philip Bertram (Oct 22; Nov 2)


Jessie Mitchell (Nov 2)

Performance DatesManon 1928

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

22 Oct, 19.00

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

2 Nov, 19.00 10 Nov, 14.00

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