Opera Scotland

Golden Legend 1889Dundee Amateur Choral Union

Read more about the opera Golden Legend

Sullivan's Golden Legend achieved instant popularity and soon had performances throughout the country, with eminent soloists taking the leading roles. Scottish baritone Andrew Black enjoyed a major concert career, and Lucifer became a part he sang frequently. Emily Spada and Belle Cole were notable American performers who worked frequently in Britain. The recently-appointed conductor, Carl Drechsler Hamilton, came from a prominent family of Edinburgh musicians who were close associates of Carl Rosa. It is likely that Hamilton will have brought many of the orchestral musicians from the capital.

On this occasion, the Dundee choir scheduled an opening sequence containing two works by the young Scottish composer Hamish MacCunn. These were a Ballad for Orchestra The Dowie Dens o' Yarrow and the Ballad for Chorus and Orchestra Lord Ullin's Daughter. The critic from the Dundee Advertiser found little to set the heather ablaze in either work, but he clearly had a very high opinion of Sullivan's cantata, which had been composed shortly after The Mikado:

            'It is quite refreshing to turn from the juvenile efforts of Hamish MacCunn to the finished work of an experienced and gifted composer like Sir Arthur Sullivan. The Golden Legend, we are sure, will always be reckoned as one of his finest productions, and will long survive the ephemeral operatic rubbish by which, unfortunately, he is chiefly known to the public.'

Even at the time this was a far from unanimous opinion.

The concert opened with two extra items, inserted as a memorial to the late Henry Nagel. This expatriate Prussian, recently deceased, had been a figure of huge importance for local music-making, as both conductor and teacher. He had founded the DACU and been their conductor for the first twenty-five years of existence. The two tributes were the Dead March from Saul and another Sullivan piece, the Funeral Anthem from his oratorio The Martyr of Antioch.

Performance Cast


Andrew Black

Prince Henry of Hoheneck

Iver McKay

Ursula wife of Gottlieb

Belle Cole

Elsie daughter of Ursula

Emily Spada

Performance DatesGolden Legend 1889

Map List

Kinnaird Hall | Dundee

25 Mar, 19.30

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