Opera Scotland

Hugh the Drover 1926British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Hugh the Drover


An Edinburgh Review

The Scotsman of Monday, 25 October (p8) included a review of both Saturday's performances - Hugh the Drover in the afternoon and Tannhäuser in the evening:

'Prefaced by a repetition of Mozart's charming ballet Les Petits Riens, with the same cast as on last Wednesday afternoon, the British National Opera Company on Saturday gave Vaughan Williams's Hugh the Drover, at the matinee, andin the evening TannhäuserHugh the Drover, with the old English character of its music, and the perenially attractive tale of love laughing at worldy-ise old age and the unwelcome suitor, has many qualities which make for popular success.

'Mr Walter Widdop as Hugh sang and acted with ease and conviction, and Miss May Blyth as Mary was vocally and dramatically effective as the English village maiden of the period of the Napoleonic wars.  Mr Herbert Langley gave an appropriately rough and blustering portrayal of the butcher favoured as a suitor by Mary's father, and Mr Bernard Ross was good as the village constable.  Miss Constance Willis as Aunt Jane, Mr Sydney Russell as the turnkey, and Mr Philip Bertram as the bluff Sergeant were all equally effective, while the remaining characters and the chorus all contributed importantly to the general success.  Mr John Tobin conducted.


BNOC in Scotland 1926

The company spent three weeks in Glasgow and two in Edinburgh - 1927 would see them venturing further north. Wagner and Puccini led the field, with four operas each. 

There were a total of four works by three composers of the French school. Verdi was represented by one middle-period and two late masterpieces. Notably there were two recently composed British works - something BNOC would never achieve again.

The 20 operas performed in Scotland on this tour were:

Mozart (Marriage of Figaro);  Wagner (Tannhäuser Tristan and IsoldeMastersingers,  Parsifal);  Verdi (Rigoletto,  Aïda,  Otello);  Gounod (Faust,  Romeo and Juliet);  Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Bizet (Carmen);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Puccini (Bohème ToscaMadam Butterfly,  Gianni Schicchi);  Humperdinck (Hansel and Gretel);  Vaughan Williams (Hugh the Drover);  Bryson (Leper's Flute).

The performance schedule was as follows:

Glasgow, w/c 27 September:  Mon 27  Aïda;  Tue 28  Carmen;  Wed 29 m Faust;  Wed 29 e Madam Butterfly;  Thu 30  Parsifal;  Fri Oct 01  Tosca;  Sat 02 m  Hansel and Gretel;  Sat 02 e  Tales of Hoffmann.

Glasgow, w/c 04 October:  Mon 04 Romeo and Juliet; Tue 05 Otello; Wed 06 m  No Perf;  Wed 06 e Bohème;  Thu 07 Marriage of Figaro;  Fri 08 Mastersingers;  Sat 09 m Aïda;  Sat 09 e Rigoletto.

Glasgow, w/c 11 October:  Mon 11 Parsifal;  Tue 12  Gianni Schicchi & Pagliacci; Wed 13 m Romeo and Juliet;  Wed 13 e Hansel and Gretel;  Thu 14  Tristan and Isolde;  Fri 15 Leper's Flute;  Sat 16 m Madam Butterfly;  Sat 16 e Tannhäuser.

Edinburgh, w/c 18 October:  Mon 18 Romeo and Juliet;  Tue 19 Leper's Flute;  Wed 20 m Hansel and Gretel;  Wed 20 e  Otello;  Thu 21  Parsifal;  Fri 22  Aïda;  Sat 23 m Hugh the Drover;  Sat 23 e Tannhäuser.

Edinburgh, w/c 25 October:  Mon 25 Rigoletto;  Tue 26 Gianni Schicchi & Pagliacci;  Wed 27 m Madam Butterfly;  Wed 27 e Tosca;  Thu 28 Tristan and Isolde;  Fri 29 Hansel and Gretel;  Sat 30 m Parsifal;  Sat 30 e Bohème.

Performance Cast

Mary the Constable's daughter

May Blyth (Oct 23 m)

Aunt Jane the Constable's sister

Constance Willis (Oct 23 m)


Sydney Russell (Oct 23 m)


Bernard Ross (Oct 23 m)

John the Butcher

Herbert Langley (Oct 23 m)

Hugh the Drover

Walter Widdop (Oct 23 m)


Philip Bertram (Oct 23 m)

Production Cast


John Tobin (Oct 23 m)


George King

Performance DatesHugh the Drover 1926

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

23 Oct, 14.00

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