Opera Scotland

Zauberflöte 1928British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Magic Flute

It is interesting to note from newspaper comment that The Magic Flute is recognised as far more than just a pantomime.  It is now (at last?) seen as a serious work that provides a supreme challenge even to the best opera companies.  Perhaps it is odd that only two performances were given on the Scottish leg of the tour, and neither of those was in Aberdeen.

The complete cast is listed in the Scotsman review of Friday, 26 October.


The Edinburgh view

The Scotsman of Friday, 26 October (p9) said:

'To give a really adequate performance of The Magic Flute is no mean test of an opera company.  Perhaps no composer's music shows up imperfections of execution with such deadliness as that of Mozart,  and of none of Mozart's music is this more true than of that of The Magic Flute.  There is nothing to conceal shortcomings.  The design of the voice parts,  the absolute clearness of the orchestration,  the complete absence from the libretto of any element of excitement such as might even momentarily distract attention from the music;  all these circumstances render the most meticulous care in execution imperative.  The Magic Flute,  in fact,  calls for a finish in performance of the degree associated with a string quartet.

'Last night's rendering of the work was in every way a credit to the artists concerned.  Some of the impersonations were familiar.  Mr Tudor Davies has made a number of appearances here as Tamino,  and Mr William Anderson's Sarastro is well known.  Miss Noël Eadie, also,  as the Queen of Night,  was in a rôle in which she has already been heard here several times,  and another familiar impersonation was the Monostatos of Mr William Russell.  Of all these it may be said that they displayed the customary excellence.

'Miss Isabel Rhys Parker,  whom one is more accustomed to seeing as Papagena,  sang the music of Pamina with delightful effect,  and Mr William Michael's  Papageno was both genuinely musical and amusing.  Mr Bernard Ross was again an impressive Hierophant, and the Misses Doris Lemon,  Marjorie Parry,  and Justine Griffiths as the three ladies (Miss Lemon was also Papagena), the Misses Gwyneth Edwards,  Frances Frost,  and Ella Bailey as the three Boys, and Messrs Liddell Peddieson and Philip Bertram in the dual rôles of the Priests and the Men in Armour,  all displayed the finish born of familiarity with these minor but none the less important rôles.  The orchestra,  under Mr Leslie Heward's direction,  was thoroughly effective,  and the dignified simplicity of the mounting gave the finishing touch to a fine performance.  There was a large audience.


BNOC in Scotland 1928

This final Scottish tour by BNOC was only four weeks instead of the six enjoyed the previous year.  This is partly because the King's Theatre in Dundee, an excellent modern venue, visited for the first time in 1927,  was now a cinema and no longer available.  But Aberdeen (His Majesty's) was still a welcoming venue along with Edinburgh (King's) and Glasgow (Theatre Royal).

The fifteen operas performed were:

Mozart (Magic Flute);  Rossini (Barber of Seville);  Wagner (Tannhäuser,  Lohengrin;  Mastersingers);  Verdi (TrovatoreAïdaFalstaff);  Gounod (Faust);  Bizet (Carmen);  Massenet (Manon);  Puccini (Bohème,  Madam Butterfly);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana)


The tour schedule was as follows:

Aberdeen, w/c 15 October:  Mon 15  Lohengrin;  Tue 16  Carmen;  Wed 17 mat  Tannhäuser;  Wed 17 eve  Madam Butterfly;  Thu 18  Aïda;  Fri 19  Falstaff;  Sat 20 mat  Bohème;  Sat 20 eve  Cav & Pag.

Edinburgh, w/c 22 October:  Mon 22  Manon;  Tue 23  Lohengrin;  Wed 24 mat  Faust;  Wed 24 eve  Barber of Seville;  Thu 25  Magic Flute;  Fri 26  Falstaff;  Sat 27 mat  Carmen;  Sat 27 eve Madam Butterfly.

Glasgow, w/c 29 October:  Mon 29  Lohengrin;  Tue 30  Tannhäuser;  Wed 31 mat  Faust;  Wed 31 eve  Barber of Seville;  Thu 01 Nov  Falstaff;  Fri 02  Manon;  Sat 03 mat Carmen;  Sat 03 eve  Bohème.

Glasgow, w/c 05 November:  Mon 05  Falstaff;  Tue 06  Magic Flute;  Wed 07 mat  Trovatore;  Wed 07 eve  Lohengrin;  Thu 08  Aïda;  Fri 09  Mastersingers;  Sat 10 mat  Manon;  Sat 10 eve  Madam Butterfly.

Performance Cast

Tamino a Prince

Tudor Davies (Oct 25)

First Lady in attendance on the Queen

Doris Lemon (Oct 25)

Second Lady in attendance on the Queen

Marjorie Parry (Oct 25)

Third Lady in attendance on the Queen

Justine Griffiths (Oct 25)

Papageno a bird-catcher

William Michael (Oct 25)

Queen of Night

Noël Eadie (Oct 25)

Monostatos a servant in the Temple

Sydney Russell (Oct 25)

Pamina daughter of the Queen of Night

Isabel Rhys Parker (Oct 25)

First Boy

Gwyneth Edwards (Oct 25)

Second Boy

Frances Frost (Oct 25)

Third Boy

Ella Bailey (Oct 25)

Speaker at the Temple

Bernard Ross (Oct 25)

Sarastro High Priest of Isis and Osiris

William Anderson (Oct 25)

First Priest

Liddell Peddieson (Oct 25)

Second Priest

Philip Bertram (Oct 25)

Papagena disguised as an old woman

Doris Lemon (Oct 25)

First Armed Man

Liddell Peddieson (Oct 25)

Second Armed Man

Philip Bertram (Oct 25)

Performance DatesZauberflöte 1928

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

25 Oct, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

6 Nov, 19.30

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