Opera Scotland

Mignon 1957Scottish National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Mignon

When Scottish Opera was first established in 1962, and on many occasions since, the more careless journalists have had a tendency to insert the word 'National' into the title. Alexander Gibson, the company founder, remained adamant that he thought the term 'National' risked introducing an undesirable element of parochialism. It has to be said that nobody would suggest this was a feature of the Welsh or English companies. Of greater importance was the possibility of confusion with the country's symphony orchestra - founded in the 1890s as the Scottish Orchestra, it had recently introduced the word National to its title. The initials SNO therefore already represented a significant professional body.

Now largely forgotten is this other example of an ambitiously 'National' opera company. The Australian-born soprano Beatrice Miranda and her husband, baritone Hebden Foster, had lived in Edinburgh for thirty years, taking an enthusiastic part in local musical life. Here she conducted a staging of the now neglected Mignon, to date perhaps the last.

This charming opera had been an important element of the Carl Rosa repertoire during its first half-century, yet by this time had been ignored for nearly forty years. But the role of Philine (Filina in the Victorian translation) had been an early success for Miranda herself.

On this occasion, in the little Gateway Theatre on Leith Walk, it was accompanied by a band consisting of two pianos and a harp, played by John Wood, Mary MacDonald and Rose Begbie.

The remaining three slots during the week, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday matinee, were devoted to the equally rare Lehár operetta Friederike, based on a romanticized episode in the life of Goethe.

Cast details are drawn from a programme in the NLS collection.

Performance Cast

Mignon stolen in childhood

Morag Cameron

Philine an actress

Anna McKechnie

Frédéric a young nobleman

Kathleen Hardie (Apr 22, 25)

Mary Bristow (Apr 24, 27)

Wilhelm Meister a student

Charles O'Byrne

Laërte an actor

Wemyss Maywell

Lothario a wandering minstrel

Scott Logan (Apr 22, 24)

Robertson Halley (Apr 25, 27)

Jarno a gypsy

George Bristow

Antonio a servant

George Bristow

Performance DatesMignon 1957

Map List

Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

22 Apr, 19.30 24 Apr, 19.30 25 Apr, 19.30 27 Apr, 19.30

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