Opera Scotland

Carmen 1925British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Carmen

There are several interesting featuree of this Carmen cast.  First, and perhaps surprising, is the fact that no one was available to stand in for Constance Willis in the title role when she sprained her ankle.  The two gypsy girls are sung by lead singers in Eda Bennie and May Blyth.  Bennie had just added Desdemona to a substantial list of principal parts.  Blyth was already singing Mimì, and preparing next season to take on Eva.

Also, the role of Escamillo brings in George Baker, who would work regularly with Sir Malcolm Sargent over the next forty years, but being particularly associated with the comedian roles in Gilbert and Sullivan.  William Michael, having played a smuggler in the Baker cast, himself took over the Toreador - a part he would play regularly in future.

The cast for 5 October is from a programme in the Mitchell Library,  that for 17 October from the newspaper review.


An Edinburgh Review

The Scotsman of Monday, 19 October gave reviews of the Saturday matinee Golden Cockerel as well as the evening performance of Carmen:

'Carmen at night was notable for the courage with which Miss Constance Willis undertook the title rôle, despite the handicap of a sprained ankle.  It was a fine performance in every respect, the pleasure of which was tempered, however, by the thought of the cost at which it was being achieved.  A new Don José, Mr Barrington Hooper, was a little unequal, but rose to the occasion in the last act.

'Miss Marjorie Parry was a pleasing Micaëla and Mr William Michael's Escamillo was a good performance. Messrs Frederic Collier and Frederick Davies as Dancairo and Remendado did not overdo the burlesque element in their rôles, and the Misses Eda Bennie and May Blyth as Mercedes and Frasquite, and Messrs Philip Bertram and Dennis Noble as Zuniga and Morales completed a good cast.  Mr Buesst conducted.


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

Moralès a corporal of dragoons

Dennis Noble (Oct 5, 17 e)

Micaëla a peasant girl

Isabel Rhys Parker (Oct 5)

Marjorie Parry (Oct 17 e)

Don José a corporal of dragoons

Browning Mummery (Oct 5)

Barrington Hooper (Oct 17 e)

Zuniga a lieutenant of dragoons

Philip Bertram (Oct 5, 17 e)

Carmen a gypsy

Constance Willis (Oct 5, 17 e)

Frasquita a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Eda Bennie (Oct 5, 17 e)

Mercédès a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

May Blyth (Oct 5, 17 e)

Escamillo a toreador

George Baker (Oct 5)

William Michael (Oct 17 e)

Dancaïre a smuggler

William Michael (Oct 5)

Frederic Collier (Oct 17 e)

Remendado a smuggler

Frederick Davies (Oct 5, 17 e)

Performance DatesCarmen 1925

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

5 Oct, 19.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

17 Oct, 19.00 24 Oct, 14.00

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