Opera Scotland

Samson and Delilah 1927British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Samson et Dalila

For the Edinburgh performance on Saturday evening, 15 October, the Scotsman's review was understandably terse as the notice also had to cover the afternon performance of La Bohème. The Saint-Saëns work was extremely popular at this time and was also in the repertoire of Carl Rosa.

'Samson and Delilah, at night, was specially fortunate in its two principal characters - Miss Constance Willis and Mr Walter Hyde. Miss Willis is a versatile artist - in the presence of her fine Delilah on Saturday night it was amusing to recall her exceedingly realistic Doll Tearsheet in At the Boar's Head;  and Mr Walter Hyde brings distinction to every character in which he appears. 

On Saturday night he carried the part through on a note of fiery exultation which helped to give life to an opera which, with all its beauty, is a matter of tableaux rather than of dramatic action. 

In Miss Willis, too, there was an artist who realised Saint-Saëns's ideal of the fierce and seductive Pagan priestess, while preserving her reading of the part on the plane of poetry rather than of the melodrama into which Delilahs are sometimes apt to lapse.

'Mr William Anderson as Abimelech and Mr Bernard Ross as the High Priest were both good. 

The chorus did remarkably well in the important work for it which the opera contains, and the various scenes were fine pieces of colour and lighting. 

Mr Eugene Goossens conducted.


BNOC in Scotland 1927

The 1927 Scottish tour included six weeks, two each in Glasgow (Theatre Royal) and Edinburgh (King's), and a further week each in Aberdeen (His Majesty's) and Dundee (King's) - the first time that BNOC went north of the central belt.

Fifteen operas were performed:

Mozart (Marriage of Figaro,  Magic Flute);  Rossini (Barber of Seville);  Wagner (Tannhäuser,  Mastersingers,  Valkyrie,  Twilight of the Gods);   Verdi  (Aïda);   Bizet (Carmen);  Saint-Saëns (Samson and Delilah);  Massenet (Manon);   Leoncavallo  (Pagliacci);   Puccini  (Bohème,  Madam Butterfly,  Gianni Schicchi).

The schedule was as follows:

Glasgow, w/c 26 September:  Mon 26  Barber of Seville;  Tue 27  Magic Flute;  Wed 28 mat  Bohème;  Wed 28 eve  Gianni Schicchi & Pagliacci:  Thu 29  Valkyrie;  Fri 30  Marriage of Figaro  Sat 01 mat  Madam Butterfly;  Sat 01 eve  Aïda.

Glasgow, w/c 03 October:  Mon 03  Carmen;  Tue 04  Manon;  Wed 05 mat  Marriage of Figaro;  Wed 05 eve  Barber of Seville;  Thu 06  Mastersingers;  Fri 07  Samson and Delilah;  Sat 08 mat  Magic Flute;  Sat 08 eve  Tannhäuser.

Edinburgh, w/c 10 October: Mon 10  Barber of Seville; Tue 11  Mastersingers;  Wed 12 mat  Gianni Schicchi & Pagliacci;  Wed 12 eve  Magic Flute;  Thu 13  Manon;  Fri 14  Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 15 mat  Bohème;  Sat 15 eve  Samson and Delilah.

Edinburgh, w/c  17 October:  Mon 17  Barber of Seville;  Tue 18  Twilight of the Gods;  Wed 19 mat Madam Butterfly;  Wed 19 eve  Tannhäuser;  Thu 20  Carmen;  Fri 21  Manon;  Sat 22 mat  Magic Flute;  Sat 22 eve  Aïda.

Aberdeen, w/c 24 October:  Mon 24  Barber of Seville;  Tue 25  Twilight of the Gods;  Wed 26 mat  Magic Flute;  Wed 26 eve Manon;  Thu 27 Mastersingers;  Fri 28  Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 29 mat  Madam Butterfly;  Sat 29 eve Aïda.

Dundee, w/c 31 October: Mon 31  Mastersingers;  Tue 01 Nov  Barber of Seville;  Wed 02 mat  Marriage of Figaro;  Wed 02 eve  Madam Butterfly;  Thu 03  Manon;  Fri 04  Valkyrie;  Sat 05 mat  Bohème;  Sat 05 eve  Aïda.

Performance Cast


Walter Hyde (Oct 15 e)

Abimelech Satrap of Gaza

William Anderson (Oct 15 e)

High Priest of Dagon

Bernard Ross (Oct 15 e)

Dalila a Philistine priestess

Constance Willis (Oct 15 e)

Performance DatesSamson and Delilah 1927

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

7 Oct, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

15 Oct, 19.30

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