Opera Scotland

Aïda 1924British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Aïda

Walter Widdop had previously been singing the title role in Hugh the Drover, but here was replaced at the matinee (by Tudor Davies) in order to be available for a dramatic tenor role, for which he was, perhaps, better suited.


An Edinburgh Review

The Scotsman of Monday, 10 November (p6) carried a composite review of the two Saturday performances -  a full account of the evening Aïda, as well as a cursory mention of the matinee of Hugh the Drover:

'At the King's Theatre on Saturday the British National Opera Company concluded what has been, artistically, a most successful fortnight's stay in Edinburgh, with a repetition of Dr Vaughan William's Hugh the Drover in the afternoon, while Verdi's unfailingly popular Aïda was given at night........

'Aïda at night, for which the theatre was again crowded, presented a new Radamès, in Mr Walter Widdop, who is proving himself a valuable acquisition to the ranks of the British National Opera Company.  There have been artists who, with greater experience, have given more dramatic readings of the part.  If there was not the fiery intensity of some impersonations in that of Mr Widdop, he was always convincing, the smooth beauty of his tone was an unfailing pleasure, and he was the superior of many a Radamès in that every word could be distinguished.

'Miss Beatrice Miranda as Aïda and Miss Edna Thornton as Amneris were as fine as ever.  These are interpretations regarding the excellence of which nothing remains to be said.  Mr Norman Allin's Ramphis was another magnificent rendering, and Mr William Michael's Amonasro and Mr William Anderson's King were both deserving of the highest praise.  Miss Doris Lemon, as the unseen Priestess, sang with her customary charm, and Mr Frederic Rickitt did well in the music of the Messenger.

'Orchestra, chorus, and ballet were all good, and the various imposing ensemble movements were given with a fine volume of tone.  The stage band was dispensed with, which was not altogether a misfortune, for it is seldom quite in tune with the orchestra.  In this connection, it may be remarked that the trumpets, which are so important a feature in the scene of the return of the victorious Radamès, were rather more in accord with the orchestra than is ordinarily the case.  Mr Anthony Bernard conducted.

'At the close of the performance, Mr Frederic Austin, artistic director of the British National Opera Company, expressed the thanks of himself and his colleagues for the support given by the Edinburgh public during the fortnight, although the counter-attraction of political interests had at first interfered somewhat with the attendance.  On their return to Edinburgh next autumn, however, he hoped to find the public floating on a flood-tide of prosperity, with a corresponding effect upon the fortunes of the Company.'


BNOC's 1924 Scottish tour

The BNOC tour of Scotland in 1924 lasted five weeks - two in Edinburgh (King's) then three in Glasgow (Theatre Royal).

Amazingly, four operas by British composers were toured, as well as four French, though only one by Verdi.  As usual, Wagner and Puccini seem to enjoy undying popularity.  One Russian piece also puts in an appearance.

A total of 19 works were performed:

Mozart (Marriage of Figaro,  Magic Flute);   Wagner (Tannhäuser,  MastersingersSiegfried);  Verdi (Aïda);  Gounod (Faust);  Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Bizet (Carmen);  Rimsky-Korsakov (Golden Cockerel);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);   Puccini (BohèmeMadam ButterflyGianni Schicchi);  Debussy (Pelléas and Mélisande);  Mackenzie (Eve of St John);  Vaughan Williams (Hugh the Drover);  Holst (Perfect Fool);  Boughton (Alkestis).

The performance schedule is as follows:

Edinburgh,  w/c 27 October:  Mon 27 Marriage of Figaro;  Tue 28 Carmen;  Wed 29 mat Madam Butterfly;  Wed 29 eve Hugh the Drover:  Thu 30 Perfect Fool & Gianni Schicchi;  Fri 31 Siegfried;  Sat 01 mat  Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 01 eve Tales of Hoffmann.

Edinburgh, w/c 3 November:  Mon 03 Golden Cockerel;  Tue 04 Pelléas et Mélisande;  Wed 05 mat  Magic Flute;  Wed 05 eve Tannhäuser;  Thu 06 Mastersingers;  Fri 07 Alkestis;  Sat 08 mat  Hugh the Drover;  Sat 08 eve  Aïda.

Glasgow, w/c 10 November:  Mon 10 Carmen;  Tue 11 Mastersingers;  Wed 12 mat Alkestis;  Wed 12 eve  Tales of Hoffmann;  Thu 13 Magic Flute;  Fri 14  Golden Cockerel;  Sat 15 mat Aïda;  Sat 15 eve Marriage of Figaro.

Glasgow, w/c 17 November:  Mon 17 Tales of Hoffmann;  Tue 18 Bohème;  Wed 19 mat  Magic Flute;  Med 19 eve  Aïda;  Thu 20 Eve of St John & Perfect Fool;  Fri 21 Hugh the Drover;  Sat 22 mat Gianni Schicchi  Pagliacci;  Sat 22 eve Tannhäuser.

Glasgow, w/c 24 November:  Mon 24 Marriage of Figaro;  Tue 25  Faust;  Wed 26 mat Golden Cockerel;  Wed 26 eve Magic Flute;  Thu 27 Hugh the Drover;  Fri 28  Carmen;  Sat 29 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 29 eve Mastersingers.

Performance Cast

Ramfis High Priest

Norman Allin (Nov 8 e)

Radamès Captain of the Guard

Walter Widdop (Nov 8 e)

Amneris daughter of the King of Egypt

Edna Thornton (Nov 8 e)

Aïda an Ethiopian slave

Beatrice Miranda (Nov 8 e)

King of Egypt

William Anderson (Nov 8 e)


Frederic Rickitt (Nov 8 e)


Doris Lemon (Nov 8 e)

Amonasro King of Ethiopia and father of Aïda

William Michael (Nov 8 e)

Performance DatesAïda 1924

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

8 Nov, 19.00

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

15 Nov, 14.00 19 Nov, 19.00

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