Opera Scotland

Beggar's Opera 1940Glyndebourne Productions

Read more about the opera Beggar's Opera

The Glyndebourne Festival was in abeyance for the duration of the war, but some operations did continue, with a number of regular performers taking part in this national tour of The Beggar's Opera. The edition used was the hugely successful one created twenty years earlier by Frederic Austin for the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, where it had enjoyed a long run and a national tour. Here, with the threat of air raids ensuring a programme note with salutary warnings, eight performances were given, including three matinees - perhaps school parties were treated to the show.

Roy Henderson sang in several early Glyndebourne seasons, and Audrey Mildmay, Mrs John Christie, had been the driving force behind her husband's establishment of the Glyndebourne Festival in 1934. She is also frequently credited with originating the idea of the Edinburgh Festival - perhaps this was the visit that inspired her. Constance Willis was another old Glyndebourne hand, and this must have been one of her last engagements, as she died later that year, still in her forties. Joseph Farrington, the Lockit, had been a member of the Covent Garden company in 1936, singing Wotan, among other roles on tour.

The great names of London theatre were also involved. The show was directed by John Gielgud, using designs from the famed Motley studio. Macheath was played by another great actor, Michael Redgrave, who also possessed a serviceable light baritone voice, highly appropriate for this role.

The cast is from a programme in the Edinburgh City Library.

Performance Cast


Noel Willman


Frank Napier

Mr Peachum a 'fence'

Roy Henderson

Filch employee of Peachum

Bruce Flegg

Mrs Peachum

Constance Willis

Polly Peachum Peachum's daughter

Audrey Mildmay

Macheath a highwayman

Michael Redgrave

Robin of Bagshot of Macheath's gang

Dunstan Hart

Matt of the MInt of Macheath's gang

Maldwyn Thomas

Wat Dreary of Macheath's gang

Philip Lewtas

Harry Paddington of Macheath's gang

Peter Land

Nimming Ned of Macheath's gang

Michael Stoller

Jemmy Twitcher of Macheath's gang

Frederick Bush

Crook-Fingered Jack of Macheath's gang

Emlyn Burns

Ben Budge of Macheath's gang

George Israel

Drawer in the tavern

Appleton Moore

Maid in the tavern

Rosemary Michael

Lockit the gaoler

Joseph Farrington

Lucy Lockit Lockit's daughter

Linda Gray


Frederick Bush

Mrs Diana Trapes

Alys Brough

Mrs Coaxer a woman of the town

Rita Mackay

Dolly Trull a woman of the town

Sarah Jennings

Mrs Vixen a woman of the town

Peggy Hale

Betty Doxy a woman of the town

Barbara Beaumont

Jenny Diver a woman of the town

Eugenie Walmsley

Mrs Slammekin a woman of the town

Anne Crecy

Suky Tawdry a woman of the town

Gwen Bateman

Molly Brazen a woman of the town

Rosamund Dalton

Performance DatesBeggar's Opera 1940

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

13 Feb, 17.30 13 Feb, 19.30 14 Feb, 14.30 14 Feb, 19.30 15 Feb, 14.30 15 Feb, 19.30 16 Feb, 19.30 17 Feb, 14.30 17 Feb, 19.30

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