Opera Scotland

Nadeshda 1925Dundee Amateur Operatic Society

Read more about the opera Nadeshda

Forty years before, when Goring Thomas's second opera was launched by the Carl Rosa,  Scottish performances were only given in the central belt.   The more famous Esmeralda was equally unfamiliar on Tayside, so for the Dundee amateur group to choose Nadeshda shows a great deal of enterprise.

The lighter work played on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday was  The Yeomen of the Guard.   At this stage, Dundee Operatic did not often do G & S,  but it may be that they wanted a clear banker to offset the definite commercial risk presented by mounting such a rarity as the serious element of the week's programme.

 

The local press was generally enthusiastic:

Dundee Evening Telegraph:  Tuesday,  18 March 1925  (p2)

Dundee Operatic Society's Week - Fine Performance of Nadeshda

'The Dundee Operatic Society thoroughly sustained their fine reputation by a far more than creditable performance of Goring Thomas' Nadeshda in the King's Theatre last night.   It was no mean feat for an amateur company to take an opera unknown to all concerned and practically recreate it.  They had no model;  the music, except for a stray air or duet,  was unfamiliar,  and the principals had, for all intents and purposes,  to create their parts.  Yet there was no doubt of the success of the undertaking.

'The stage manager and producer,  Mr A E Adams, had trained his company to variety and ease of action; the manager of the King's Theatre,  Mr Walker, and Mr George Davidson, the property manager, did wonders with the stage setting, and as for the music,  Mr D A Christie had coached his singers and conducted last night's performance in a manner that deserved generous recognition.  The brunt of the hard work of preparation lies with the musical director and Mr Christie once again proved his high ability as a conductor of grand opera.

'The weakness of the opera is its libretto.  The story itself does not rouse much enthusiasm with its rather confused love interest  and its ill-devised struggle between serf and master.  One fine climax occurs at the end of the second act,  but the other three acts all tail off into anti-climaxes,  and thus weaken the general effect.  But Goring Thomas wrote some very charming music for the libretto - music of fine melodic quality,  and always marked by a fastidious refinement.  There are dull vocal patches,  no doubt,  but there is not a weakbar for the band,  and when the vocal music palls it is always a pleasure to switch of one's attention to hear what the orchestra is doing.  In the rich, scholarly instrumental underflow Goring Thomas gave the opera of his best.

'Nadeshda is well suited to the requirements of an amateur company, for it contains plenty of chorus work.  The work opens with a long and melodious chorus,  and again in thethird act there is a fine choral number, demanding a wide range of expression.

'The chorus of the Dundee Operatic Society is a very large one,  and their singing was one of the artistic features of the evening.  They are strong in all parts and such was their knowledge of the music that they oversang with confidence,  with surety of attack and finish, and with a nice expression.

'In the title-role Miss Gladys Lamond both sang and acted with an engaging naturalness.  It is not a art that lends itself to subtleties of delineation,  and Miss Lamond did not attempt to be highly dramatic.  Her voice is very pure and sweet, just on the light side for the heavier work against rich orchestration, but in the River Song and in the duet with the tenor, as well as at other times, she showed much taste.

'As the hero Voldemar, Mr David C Christie acted with unusual ease for an amateur, and, as a rule, enunciated his words with commendable clearness - a merit not always shared by others.  In lyrical passages particularly, his agreeable tenor voice was very skilfully used, and ''In the Hour of Soft Enchantment'' had a very artistic reading.

'Mr A B Duncan, as Ostap, had a difficult part to play.  It is not quite a grateful one, but Mr Duncan had got into the skin of the part, and by simple gesture and action made the character an outstanding one. He sang, as he always sings, with alert intelligence and fine ringing tone.  There was just the bite and grip in Mr Fletcher Perry's singing of the music allotted to Ivan, that gave distinction to that sardonic person.  He made much of detail, and his death scene was as sincere as his rendering of an ironical drinking song was vigorous and stirring.

'As for Miss Rosa Macdougald, in the part of the Princess Natalia,  she looked superb, and acted with an intensity that gripped.  Illness prevented her from putting her vocal  best into the music, but in spite of this she threw herself into the storm and stress of the strong scene of the third act, and sang ''Ah, my Heart is Weary'' like the true artist she ever is.

'A word of praise must be given to the elegant dancing of the ballet and of the principal danseuse.  The orchestra played well, though much too loud for the voices at times,  and there was many a pretty picture in the stage setting.  Slips there were in places, but mainly the result of nervousness,  To Mr Christie and Mr Adams, and to the performers, nothing but praise is due for the production of an interesting opera, and the overcoming of many, very many, difficulties.

'To-night, The Yeomen of the Guard will be played with a change of cast, while Nadeshda will be repeated on Wednesday and Friday.'

Performance Cast

Nadeshda a serf

Gladys Lamond

Princess Natalia

Rosa Macdougald

Ostap a peasant

Mr A B Duncan

Voldemar elder son of the Princess

David C Christie

Ivan younger son of the Princess

Fletcher Perry

Performance DatesNadeshda 1925

Map List

King's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

16 Mar, 19.30 18 Mar, 19.30 20 Mar, 19.30

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