Opera Scotland

Lohengrin 1929Covent Garden Opera

Read more about the opera Lohengrin

Eugene Goossens first conducted Lohengrin in Scotland with the Carl Rosa thirty years before this - and doesn't seem to have done it since. These singers were still relatively inexperienced at major Wagner parts, with Bernard Ross, especially, being given an unusually important role as Telramund.

This programme for the final matinee, in the Edinburgh City Library collection, like most documents of the time, does not give details of the four Pages or the four Noblemen. However it does mention the child, Duke Gottfried, young brother of Elsa, who, having spent the opera as a swan, is only restored to human form at the very end, and was played by Maud Stevens, a mime artist.


The Edinburgh press, of course, reviewed the first of the Edinburgh performances.

The Scotsman:  Friday, 25 October 1929  p8

'Lohengrin is an opera which is too seldom heard nowadays.  A generation which knows The Mastersingers TristanThe Ring,  and Parsifal,  more or less well, is inclined to be a little neglectful of the earlier Wagner operas, and Lohengrin has not been given in Edinburgh more than half a dozen times within the last ten years.  One of these half dozen performances was an amateur rendering that had the misfortune to fall in the week of the General Strike.

'Tannhäuser maintains an undiminished hold upon public favour, but the less obvious Lohengrin, possibly to some extent because it is less obvious, is seemingly not so popular.  It might be more accurate, perhaps,  to say that it is not so well remembered, for when it is brought to a hearing, there is no mistaking the impression which it creates.  It was all the more gratifying, therefore, to have so well-studied a performance of the opera as that which was given at the King's Theatre, last night by the Covent Garden artists.

'As with the other operas of the week, there was an exhilarating feeling of a performance which could be depended upon to run smoothly.  On the stage, and in the orchestra, there was that confidence and precision that tell of thorough rehearsal   There was an excellent cast.

'Mr Edward Leer, as Lohengrin, confirmed the good impression which he has already made here.  It was an interpretation conceived on a big scale, in which, however, there was no disturbance of that suggestion of aloofness which should envelop the character of the mysterious champion.  Vocally there was a fine certainty,  while the reading of the music of the part was marked by a quiet distinction.

'Rachel Morton's Elsa, too, was admirable.  It was dramatic, yet never overdone, and vocally it was always true, and charming in quality.  Above all, there was a suggestion of tragedy about last night's Lohengrin and Elsa such as is not ordinarily to be observed in Lohengrins and Elsas.

'Ortrud and Telramund are, apart from their music,  largely creatures of melodrama,  but Miss Constance Willis contived to make Ortrud dramatically convincing, and she sang with an admirable passion.  Mr Bernard Ross, as Telramund,  appearing in perhaps a more important rôle than has previously been assigned to him here,  made an excellent impression.

'Another artist who has hitherto been mainly associated in Edinburgh with minor rôles,  Mr Philip Bertram came into his own as a fine King Henry.  Vocally and dramatically it was a broad and dignified impersonation.  Mr Arsene Kirill made an effective Herald.

'The chorus and orchestra were very good,  the tone in both being clear and mellow,  while the general precision was a delight to the ear.  Mr Eugene Goossens conducted, and the standard of performances was a tribute to the excellence of his direction.  The various scenes were beautifully presented, and the second act and the bridal chamber were fine examples of harmonious colour and lighting.'

Performance Cast

Heerufer Royal Herald

Arsène Kirillov (Oct 24; Nov 2 m)

Heinrich Henry the Fowler, King of Germany

Philip Bertram (Oct 24)

Richard Watson (Nov 2 m)

Friedrich von Telramund Count of Brabant

Bernard Ross (Oct 24; Nov 2 m)

Ortrud Friedrich's wife

Constance Willis (Oct 24; Nov 2 m)

Elsa von Brabant sister of the missing Count Gottfried

Rachel Morton (Oct 24)

Marjorie Parry (Nov 2 m)

Lohengrin a knight

Edward Leer (Oct 24)

Parry Jones (Nov 2 m)

Performance DatesLohengrin 1929

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

10 Oct, 18.30 17 Oct, 14.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

24 Oct, 18.30 2 Nov, 14.00

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