Opera Scotland

Golden Cockerel 1925British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Golden Cockerel

This delightful satirical comedy, Rimsky's last opera, had featured in the repertoire of the Beecham company, and first appeared in Scotland in 1918.  Several of that organisation's sets and costumes were taken over by BNOC, and this was presumably one of them.

The cast list includes Olive Joyner as Principal Dancer.  It seems that included appearing as the Cockerel, thus allowing Eda Bennie to sing from offstage as in Scottish Opera's memorably brilliant staging half a century later, though that more recent production used an acrobat (trapeze artist) rather than a dancer.

The first performance (6 October) began with Coffee and Cupid, an adaptation of Bach's Coffee Cantata. At the Saturday matinee on 17 October the Rimsky appeared on its own.

Cast details for 6 October are from a copy of the programme in the Mitchell Library.


The Edinburgh Details

The Scotsman reviewed the Saturday matinee (as well as the evening's Carmen, on Monday 19 October (p6):

'Saturday's performances at the King's Theatre rounded off a notable week of opera, and left the friends of the British National Opera Company pleasurably intent upon the attractions of the coming week - tonight's important revival of one of the great masterpieces of modern opera, Verdi's Othello;  the first performance in Edinburgh on the succeeding evening of Mr Gustav Holst's latest opera, At the Boar's Head; and the first performance in Edinburgh, by the British National Opera Company of Verdi's Rigoletto; while the remaining nights of the week have each their own special attraction.

'The fortunes of the past week invite reflections as to the position of the British National Opera Company.  It is no secret that the support so far accorded to the Company this season in Edinburgh has been far from sufficient, and with that in mind suggestions have been made for organising public interest by provision of a guarantee fund, as has been done elsewhere, not limited to large sums subscribed by a few, but rather looking to small amounts spread over a large number of guarantors.

'Saturday afternoon's performance of Rimsky-Korsakoff's fantastic Golden Cockerel was in the best spirit of the British National Opera Company.  Mr William Anderson, as the King, acquitted himself with a comic dignity which was never overdone.  Miss Sylvia Nelis was once more perfectly charming as the Queen, while Miss Muriel Brunskill as the Housekeeper and Miss Eda Bennie singing the music of the Cockerel, Mr Parry Jones as the Astrologer, Mr Norman Allin as the old General and Mr Liddel Peddieson and Mr Dennis Noble as the two Princes, were all very good.

'Mr Aylmer Buesst conducted, and under his direction the brilliant work was given with exhilaratng effect.  Preceding the Golden Cockerel were the delightful dances from Phoebus and Pan, which earned a number of recalls for the ballet.


BNOC in Scotland - 1925

The 1925 tour consisted of two weeks in Glasgow (Theatre Royal) followed by two weeks in Edinburgh (King's).

The 19 operas performed during the tour were:

Bach (Coffee Cantata);  Mozart (Magic Flute); Wagner (Tannhäuser, Tristan and Isolde Mastersingers); Verdi (RigolettoAïdaOtello); Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Bizet (Carmen);  Rimsky-Korsakov (Golden Cockerel);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana); Puccini (BohèmeToscaMadam ButterflyGianni Schicchi); Holst (At the Boar's Head);  Vaughan Williams (Hugh the Drover).

The tour schedule was:

Glasgow, w/c 28 September: Mon 28 Rigoletto;  Tue 29 Tannhäuser;  Wed 30 mat Cav & Pag;  Wed 30 eve Hugh the Drover;  Thu 1 Oct Otello;  Fri 2 Madam Butterfly; Sat 3 mat Magic Flute;  Sat 3 eve Bohème. Glasgow, w/c 5 October: Mon 5 Carmen; Tue 6 Coffee Cantata & Golden Cockerel; Wed 7 mat Rigoletto;  Wed 7 eve Mastersingers;  Thu 8 Otello;  Fri 9 Tristan and Isolde;  Sat 10 mat Tales of Hoffmann;  Sat 10 eve Aïda.

Edinburgh, w/c 12 October: Mon 12 Mastersingers;  Tue 13 Tannhäuser;  Wed 14  mat Bohème; Wed 14 eve Aïda;  Thu 15 Magic Flute;  Fri 16 Coffee Cantata & Hugh the Drover;  Sat 17 mat Golden Cockerel;  Sat 17 eve Carmen.

Edinburgh, w/c 19 October: Mon 19 Otello;  Tue 20 At the Boar's Head & Gianni Schicchi;  Wed 21 mat Cav Pag;  Wed 21 eve Rigoletto;  Thu 22 Bohème;  Fri 23 Tosca;  Sat 24 mat Carmen;  Sat 24 eve Tales of Hoffmann.

Performance Cast


Parry Jones (Oct 6, 17 m)

King Dodon

William Anderson (Oct 6, 17 m)

Prince Guidon son of Dodon

Liddell Peddieson (Oct 6, 17 m)

Prince Afron son of Dodon

Dennis Noble (Oct 6, 17 m)

Voice of the Cockerel

Eda Bennie (Oct 6, 17 m)

Amelfa Dodon's nurse

Edna Thornton (Oct 6)

Muriel Brunskill (Oct 17 m)

General Polkan head of Dodon's army

Norman Allin (Oct 6, 17 m)

Queen of Shemakha

Sylvia Nelis (Oct 6, 17 m)


Olive Joyner (Oct 6, 17 m)

Performance DatesGolden Cockerel 1925

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

6 Oct, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

17 Oct, 14.00

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