Opera Scotland

Siegfried 1924British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Siegfried

The Scotsman of Saturday, 1 November (p9) was very enthusiastic about this section of the Ring:-

'Siegfried is one of the less familiar of the Wagnerian music dramas, and an opportunity of hearing it drew a large crowd to the King's Theatre last night. The work was given in Edinburgh by the British National Opera two years ago, but before that it had not been heard here since the Denhof production of The Ring, of which it forms the third part.

'There was a new Siegfried last night, Mr Walter Widdop, and Miss Beatrice Miranda was Brünnhilde. 

For the rest, with the exception of Mr William Anderson, who replaced Mr Norman Allin as Fafner, the cast was identical with that of the previous performance, Mr Sydney Russell as Mime, Mr Robert Parker as Wotan, Mr William Michael as Alberich, Miss Edna Thornton as Erda and Miss Doris Lemon as the unseen singer of the music of the Wood-Bird.

'Siegfried, of,course, is but one chapter in a long and rather involved story. Even for those who may not be very familiar with the Ring as a whole, however, Siegfried, regarded as the tale of a young hero brought up by a maleficent dwarf in ignorance of his antecedents, slaying a dragon, and liberating a beautiful maiden from an enchanted sleep, bears separation from its context very well. 

It is a conception of the work which no doubt takes little account of the symbolism and philosophy which Wagner put into his great opera-cycle; but it is doubtful whether the average music-lover really troubles very much about Wagner's philosophy.

'Last night's performance was particularly fortunate in its Siegfried, for Mr Walter Widdop sang the music with an unfailing sureness and charm, and also looked the character to the life. 

There are few opera-singers in this country who possess such a finished dramatic art as Miss Beatrice Miranda, and her Brünnhilde was a beautiful conception. 

Mr Sydney Russell as Mime would be almost irreplaceable, and last night he displayed that striking effectiveness which produced such an impression when he was first seen in the character in the Denhof production. 

The Alberich of Mr William Michael was a fine companion study, and Mr William Anderson's Fafner was impressive.

'In Siegfried, Wotan is the sombre looker-on at the approach of the catastrophe which he perceives to be inevitable, and Mr Robert Parker invested the rôle with a fine dignity. 

Miss Edna Thornton as Erda sang with her customary effectiveness, and Miss Doris Lemon sang the difficult music of the Wood-Bird with great charm.

'Mr Julius Harrison conducted, and under his able direction orchestra and voices were held in an admirable balance, in which the words all came through. 

Mr Oliver Bernard's setting of the opera was artistic, providing an adequate suggestion of the effect which Wagner desired to convey, while avoiding the difficulties involved in any endeavour to interpret his directions in a too literal spirit.'


BNOC's 1924 Scottish tour

The BNOC tour of Scotland in 1924 lasted five weeks - two in Edinburgh (King's) then three in Glasgow (Theatre Royal).

Amazingly, four operas by British composers were toured, as well as four French, though only one by Verdi.  As usual, Wagner and Puccini seem to enjoy undying popularity.  One Russian piece also puts in an appearance.

A total of 19 works were performed:

Mozart (Marriage of Figaro,  Magic Flute);   Wagner (Tannhäuser,  MastersingersSiegfried);  Verdi (Aïda);  Gounod (Faust);  Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Bizet (Carmen);  Rimsky-Korsakov (Golden Cockerel);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);   Puccini (BohèmeMadam ButterflyGianni Schicchi);  Debussy (Pelléas and Mélisande);  Mackenzie (Eve of St John);  Vaughan Williams (Hugh the Drover);  Holst (Perfect Fool);  Boughton (Alkestis).

The performance schedule is as follows:

Edinburgh,  w/c 27 October:  Mon 27 Marriage of Figaro;  Tue 28 Carmen;  Wed 29 mat Madam Butterfly;  Wed 29 eve Hugh the Drover:  Thu 30 Perfect Fool & Gianni Schicchi;  Fri 31 Siegfried;  Sat 01 mat  Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 01 eve Tales of Hoffmann.

Edinburgh, w/c 3 November:  Mon 03 Golden Cockerel;  Tue 04 Pelléas et Mélisande;  Wed 05 mat  Magic Flute;  Wed 05 eve Tannhäuser;  Thu 06 Mastersingers;  Fri 07 Alkestis;  Sat 08 mat  Hugh the Drover;  Sat 08 eve  Aïda.

Glasgow, w/c 10 November:  Mon 10 Carmen;  Tue 11 Mastersingers;  Wed 12 mat Alkestis;  Wed 12 eve  Tales of Hoffmann;  Thu 13 Magic Flute;  Fri 14  Golden Cockerel;  Sat 15 mat Aïda;  Sat 15 eve Marriage of Figaro.

Glasgow, w/c 17 November:  Mon 17 Tales of Hoffmann;  Tue 18 Bohème;  Wed 19 mat  Magic Flute;  Med 19 eve  Aïda;  Thu 20 Eve of St John & Perfect Fool;  Fri 21 Hugh the Drover;  Sat 22 mat Gianni Schicchi  Pagliacci;  Sat 22 eve Tannhäuser.

Glasgow, w/c 24 November:  Mon 24 Marriage of Figaro;  Tue 25  Faust;  Wed 26 mat Golden Cockerel;  Wed 26 eve Magic Flute;  Thu 27 Hugh the Drover;  Fri 28  Carmen;  Sat 29 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 29 eve Mastersingers.

Performance Cast

Mime a Nibelung, Siegfried's fosterer

Sydney Russell (Oct 31)

Siegfried son of Siegmund and Sieglinde

Walter Widdop (Oct 31)

Wanderer Wotan in disguise

Robert Parker (Oct 31)

Alberich a Nibelung

William Michael (Oct 31)

Fafner disguised as a dragon

William Anderson (Oct 31)


Doris Lemon (Oct 31)

Erda mother of the Norns and Valkyries

Edna Thornton (Oct 31)

Brünnhilde now a mortal

Beatrice Miranda (Oct 31)

Performance DatesSiegfried 1924

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

31 Oct, 18.00

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