Opera Scotland

Mastersingers of Nuremberg 1928British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Meistersinger von N├╝rnberg

Rather like Il Trovatore two days before, BNOC here gave a solitary performance during the four weeks spent in Scotland.  Whether that was too long a gap since the last performance is perhaps debatable.

A Glasgow Critic

The Glasgow Herald's music critic on Saturday, November 10 (p13) gave his view:

'Glasgow's autumn season of opera finished this evening. It is good to know officially that the British National Opera Company are pleased with the results of their fortnight here, and are in a position to report good houses throughout the first week and full houses throughout the second. 

The public on their side have reason to be pleased with the quality of the fare provided. The quality has varied somewhat, as it does even in permanent opera houses, both from night to night and during the perfromances; but the standard of production has been very high and included in the programme have been some performances that were among the best that we have had from the BNOC. 

In particular there has been shown a notable advance in the naturalness of stage demeanour and in the spontaneous quality of the team work.  The Company have always been good in these respects, and they are now giving to all their productions acting performances of the best quality.

'A feature on the musical side has been the rapid artistic advance of some of the younger members of the Company, and another feature is the orchestra,  which has been specially good throughout the fortnight. 

The success of the present visit ought to bring a renewed interest locally in the Beecham opera scheme, which is to have the artists of the BNOC as its artistic foundation; and the steady ripening in the quality of their work which comes from good guidance and continued association together provides one of the strong arguments in favour of the scheme.

'To hear and see The Mastersingers is always something of an event, and last night's performance was specially good. Mr Barbirolli conducted the opera when it was last done here,  and gave a reading of the score that for clarity, control,  and finish was among the best we have had. He conducted again last evening, and repeated his previous success.

A rendering of the overture that combined breadth with a fine flowing quality opened the evening in the happiest fashion, and the rest of the playing was maintained on that happy level. The mood in the orchestra was always right.

'So it was on the stage. Indeed the distinguishing feature of the performance was the excellent realisation of that human and midsummer atmosphere that makes The Mastersingers what it is - something unique among operas and altogether a wonderful creation. The sense of complete familiarity with the work and the resulting ease in stage play have not been more happily displayed during the fortnight than they were last evening, and the stage play included a detailed observance of all that was called for on the dramatic side. There were, indeed, several enlightening touches that seemed new. The stage groupings were well managed, and the minute or so before the beginning of the quintet, to give one example, showed this ease of movement and rightness of mood with special effect.

'The principals were, on the whole, those with whom we are familiar. Mr Robert Parker as Hans Sachs was excellent, and with Miss May Blyth as a delightful Eva made a particular success of the conversation in the second act. 

Mr William Michael repeated his clever performance as Beckmesser, showing, however, a little tendency to overdo the comedy in the final scene. Mr Tudor Davies, a little light of voice at the beginning, sang the Prize Song well.

Mr William Anderson was good as Pogner, and Mr Bernard Ross made much of the part of Kothner, helping to work up a very warm discussion in the opening act. Mr Heddle Nash was particularly good as David, illuminating his part with many touches that were exactly right, and singing well. Miss Constance Willis as a very natural Magdalena completed the cast of principals.

'The chorus, augmented in the final scene by members of the Glasgow Grand Opera Society, did well.

'To-day at 2 Manon. To-night at 7.30 Madame Butterfly, with Miss Noël Eadie in the title role.'  


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

Walther von Stolzing a young knight

Tudor Davies (Nov 09)

Eva daughter of Pogner

May Blyth (Nov 09)

Magdalene Eva's nurse

Constance Willis (Nov 09)

David apprentice to Sachs

Heddle Nash (Nov 09)

Hans Sachs a shoemaker

Robert Parker (Nov 09)

Veit Pogner a goldsmith

William Anderson (Nov 09)

Sixtus Beckmesser town clerk

William Michael (Nov 09)

Fritz Kothner a baker

Bernard Ross (Nov 09)

Performance DatesMastersingers of Nuremberg 1928

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

9 Nov, 18.30

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