Opera Scotland

Enfance du Christ 1906Pollokshields Philharmonic Society

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This seems likely to be the first performance in Scotland of a little known but highly attractive piece.  Its neglect is most likely to have been due to a reluctance on the authorities to countenance the representation of biblical subject matter in performance.  The operas Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns) and Salome (Strauss) had both encountered similar issues.  Even so, it had been performed with success in Manchester as early as 1880.

The tenor soloist was a late substitute for Henry T Brearley, who was ill.  The Scotsman's review does not specify whether the substitute tenor Thorpe Davie was a professional singer or an amateur chorister stepping up.  The composer Cedric Thorpe Davie may have been a descendant.

Nowadays this work usually forms a complete evening's entertainment.  In 1906, however, Massenet's Narcissus was also included, along with a section from Coleridge-Taylor's Song of Hiawatha.  The enormously popular Hiawatha's Wedding Feast also has a tenor solo, taken at short notice by Mr J F S Adams, summoned by telegram from Paisley.

Performance DatesEnfance du Christ 1906

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St Andrew's Hall | Glasgow

1 Feb, 19.30

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