Opera Scotland

Tannhäuser 1928British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Tannhäuser

There are only two performances of this normally highly popular Wagner piece - one in Aberdeen and one in Glasgow.


The Aberdeen View

The Press and Journal on Thursday, 18 October (p6) covered both the Wednesday matinee of Tannhäuser and the evening Madam Butterfly.  Necessarily, this meant less detail in the coverage - the four minor Minnesingers are not mentioned:

'Yesterday at His Majesty's Theatre Tannhäuser was played in the afternoon, and in the evening Madame Butterfly.  The two operas contrast as sharply in theme as they do in style - the one treats of a man's redemption,  the other of a woman's betrayal.  Needless to say that Puccini had the larger audience of the two,  and,  as usual,  the ladies were in an overwhelming majority.

'The fact that in Tannhäuser the 'Parisian version' was being used for the first time in Aberdeen had little influence at the box office.  When Wagner re-wrote the opening of Tannhäuser for the Paris Opera House he was in the fullness of his maturity,  with all his command of the language of passion.  No composer has ever approached Wagner in reflecting love of the sultrier kind,  and the riot of sound and movement yesterday was very exciting indeed.  The stage effects, too,  were well managed,  and never for a moment were things allowed to fall into an anticlimax.

'Another point in the Paris score was the welcome resuscitation of the fine hunting fanfares,  which are usually for economic reasons cut down to a single call,  and the intensely impressive introduction to the third act was played, and,  under Mr Heward's direction, exceedingly well played.

'The performance was generally competent, with one or two features of distinction.  The opening was admirable.  Miss Gladys Ancrum, a brilliant Wagner singer,  sang the difficult Venus music with a rich fullness of voice and the romantic eloquence of style which the part demands - and seldom gets.  Then Miss Marjorie Parry,  from her entrance as Elizabeth,  lifted the whole performance.   In addition to a great purity of tone and an exquisite finish in the music,  she imparted a rich and appealing humanity to a part that is often endowed with very little of it.  Mr Parry Jones as Tannhäuser was conspicuously good in the last act,  and Mr Anderson and Mr Michael were quite satisfactory as the Landgrave and Wolfram,   respectively.  The chorus singing seemed a trifle tired,  and the men's voices in particular lacked the brilliancy of intonation necessary to fine pitch.'


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


Gladys Ancrum (Oct 17 m)

Tannhäuser a knight and minnesinger

Parry Jones (Oct 17 m)

Wolfram von Eschenbach a knight and minnesinger

William Michael (Oct 17 m)

Hermann Landgrave of Thuringia

William Anderson (Oct 17 m)

Elisabeth niece of the Landgrave

Marjorie Parry (Oct 17 m)

Performance DatesTannhäuser 1928

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

17 Oct, 14.00

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

30 Oct, 19.00

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